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March 12, 2009
LOS ANGELES(AP) Washington picked a great time to continue its second-longest winning streak of the season.
Washington (25-7), winners of six in a row, will play 23rd-ranked Arizona State (23-8) in Friday's semifinals at Staples Center. The Huskies swept the regular season series, winning the second game by three points in overtime.
``Another tough opponent,'' Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. ``Arizona State just plays us to the wire. We're going to have to do a great job of turning the page. This group has been fantastic in keeping the focus.''
Washington's focus is on earning a high seed in the NCAA tournament, where it hasn't played since 2006 when its streak of three consecutive appearances ended.
The Huskies won the Pac-10 regular season title outright for the first time since 1953, and are going for their first league tournament championship since 2005.
Anthony Goods scored 26 points after getting 23 in a win against Oregon State on Wednesday night for the Cardinal, who were sent packing a year after losing to UCLA in the title game.
``It's just frustrating to fall short,'' he said.
Washington, the tournament's top seed for the first time, has won nine of its last 10. The Huskies completed a three-game sweep of the Cardinal (18-13) by winning the teams' first meeting in the tournament since 2005.
Landry Fields had 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and freshman Jeremy Green added 13 points for Stanford, which fell to 11-11 all-time in the tournament. Those two, along with Goods, combined for 55 of Stanford's points, while starter Lawrence Hill finished with four points on 2-of-14 shooting.
``We had some great looks that didn't go down. Some of our better shooters couldn't find it,'' said first-year Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, who'll wait to see if his team will play on in the NIT.
The Cardinal kept it close throughout the first half, when the game was tied eight times.
Tied at 27-all, the Huskies outscored the Cardinal 11-8 to end the half ahead 38-35. Elston Turner hit three consecutive 3-pointers and Justin Holiday dunked in the spurt. The Cardinal got two 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater by Kenny Brown, who finished with 11.
``Those were huge,'' Romar said about Turner's 3-pointers. ``He gave us a little breathing room.''
Thomas, who missed all six of his shots in the first half, suddenly found his shooting touch.
The freshman ran off seven points in a row and hit another basket, and Brockman added five points, during Washington's 16-11 run that opened the second half and put the Huskies ahead for good, 54-46.
``We came out in the second half and did a better job,'' Thomas said.
Thomas finished with 14 points and a career-high nine rebounds. The 5-foot-8 guard scooped up Stanford's long rebounds.
``They popped out to me,'' he said. ``It's not like I was Jon.''
The Cardinal cut their deficit to five points four times down the stretch, twice on baskets by Goods and twice by Green. But Washington always answered, and scored 12 in a row to pull away.
Stanford was just 8-of-28 from long-range.
``It just came down to shot selection,'' Goods said. ``We resorted to the 3 a little too early and it took its toll on us.''