SAN JOSE -- Devanei Hampton ran off the court to a cheering crowd, turned, smiled and waved excitedly before disappearing down the arena tunnel.
This was her day, all right. She almost single-handedly put No. 10 Cal in its first Pac-10 tournament championship.
Hampton swore she'd be ready on the heels of a sub-par performance, and the star center showed up with 19 points and 16 rebounds to lift the second-seeded Golden Bears past Arizona State 65-61 on Sunday and into tonight's conference tournament championship game.
The Golden Bears will face top-seeded and sixth-ranked Stanford, which walloped UCLA 78-45 on Sunday night.
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Cal lost both meetings with the rival Cardinal during the regular season -- 72-52 and 60-58 -- to finish as runner-up.
"She was so ready to play," said coach Joanne Boyle, who watched Hampton go 1 for 10 at the free throw line a day earlier. "She came off a tough game (Saturday). You see how people play her, with three or four people on her. She was a different player at the free throw line, which helped our confidence, too."
Just when it looked like another down game on offense for Hampton, she scored six points during an 8-0 spurt to start the second half. Last year's Pac-10 Player of the Year pulled down 13 rebounds -- seven on the offensive end -- in the first half after grabbing just seven in 34 minutes against Oregon on Saturday.
But Hampton also bounced back with a strong second half on offense after shooting 2 for 14 in the first 20 minutes. Natasha Vital scored 14 points and Davis High graduate Ashley Walker had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Cal (26-5), which had to hold off a late rally to advance to today's title game.
"My post buddy said, 'Just be confident and go up there,' " Hampton said, referring to Walker. "It's just a mental thing."
Third-seeded Arizona State (21-10) had the momentum heading into halftime but missed its first four shots out of the break and then went 4½ minutes without scoring while the Bears rolled. Dymond Simon led her team with 22 points, Briann January scored 15 before fouling out, and Jill Noe had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Sun Devils, who had their five-game winning streak snapped, were trying to reach the tournament title game for the second consecutive year. They won the inaugural 2002 conference tournament, and the event will move to Los Angeles next March after six years in San Jose and one in Eugene, Ore.
The Sun Devils are still likely to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, which would be the program's fourth consecutive berth and sixth in eight years. ASU dropped all three meetings with Cal this season.
Candice Wiggins scored 13 points to lead Stanford (29-3) to its seventh consecutive Pac-10 tournament title game -- every one since its inception.
"This is the last year the Pac-10 tournament is in the Bay Area, at least for now," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "What a great way to go out for Cal and Stanford."
Jayne Appel had 14 points and seven rebounds, and JJ Hones had 12 points and six assists in Stanford's 17th consecutive victory.
Wiggins shot 6 for 21, including 0 for 6 on 3-pointers, but did her part on the defensive end with six steals and seven rebounds.
"UCLA likes to key in on me, but I'm happy to know that when I'm not shooting well my teammates can step up and score," Wiggins said.