WSU Seeks Revenge Against Stanford

LOS ANGELES — WSU held off Oregon Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the PAC 10 tournament. The Cougars now face Stanford – a team that beat them twice in the regular season – for the right to play in the PAC 10 championship game on Saturday.

Washington State jumped out to a big lead Thursday against Oregon then watched that lead evaporate to just four points late in the game before they held on for the win. WSU’s guards were the key to victory, as Derrick Lowe and Taylor Rochestie scored a combined 34 points in the win.

Oregon’s own guard play kept it close, however. Chipping away at what was at one time a 20-point deficit, 5’6″ sophomore guard Tajuan Porter scored the final ten points of a 14 – 4 Ducks run midway through the second half to cut WSU’s lead to single digits.

Both teams shot the ball well, but it was likely the Cougars 5-for-7 shooting performance from three-point range in the first half that proved too much for Oregon to overcome.

The Cougars move on to face Stanford, who pulled away from Arizona in the second half Thursday to advance to the semifinals. Stanford had dropped two straight heading into their PAC 10 conference tournament opener.

The Cardinal, led by twin towers Brook and Robin Lopez, defeated WSU both times the teams faced each other in the regular season. Stanford won a hard fought double-overtime battle in Pullman on February 2nd and beat the Cougars a little more decisively in California on March 2nd.

That win was Stanford’s last until they defeated Arizona on Thursday.

The top four seeds all advanced to the conference tournament semifinals, with Stanford a two seed and Washington State the three seed. Top seeded UCLA also advanced by easily handling Cal and fourth seed USC pulled out a four point victory over Arizona State, including some help from a questionable call late in the game that would have pulled ASU even in the closing seconds.

With the top seeds advancing, a trio of PAC 10 teams will have to sweat it out to Selection Sunday to see whether they’ll be invited to play in the NCAA tournament. A win for Arizona, Arizona State or Oregon would have helped their cause but now all three find themselves on the bubble and will have to wait and see whether the selection committee favors their resume over several other teams in the country with similar credentials.

The NCAA Tournament Selection Show takes place starting at 3 p.m. on Sunday and can be heard on KXLY 920 AM. Meanwhile, the Cougars attempt at revenge against Stanford can also be heard on 920, with pregame coverage starting at 8 p.m. Friday night.

The game tips off at 8:30.