Friday, January 31, 2014

Battle of the Bay Part 1

So, R prefers to see a close game and C likes the blow-outs, especially when Stanford wins. This time, we both got what we wanted. The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team jumped out to a 30-point lead with 13 minutes left in the game against the Cal Bears (C high-fiving other fans). Cal cut it to five with 18 seconds left (R visibly sweating). Can you say schizophrenic? (Good, cause we can barely spell it).

This game marked the midway point in the Pac-12, and for the first 23 minutes, it was going like all of Stanford’s Pac-12 games so far this year. They were enjoying a wide lead getting bigger as the minutes went by in the second half. Except, Cal went off script in the final seven minutes.

Stanford built up a big lead at the end of the first, 43-25, thanks to Karlie (KSam) Samuelson’s three at the buzzer, and unstoppable inside play by Chiney Ogwumike. Freshie Erica MCCall even got in on the act, doing her best Chiney impression inside, scoring in almost identical fashion off the low blocks. Stanford out rebounded Cal and Cal didn’t even attempt a free throw in the first.
Chiney Ogwumike
Chiney Ogwumike goes for a lay-up against Cal's Brittany Boyd (Photo: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Reps from the WNBA were here to watch Stanford’s All-everything Chiney Ogwumike to see if the stats don’t lie. Chiney is the only player in the country to rank in the top ten in field-goal percentage, scoring, rebounding, and double-doubles. What they learned is she can play defense. Well, so can the rest of the team, for a while. After all, this is a Tara VanDerveer production.

Stanford held Cal’s leading scorer Reshanda Gray scoreless. No, not for the half, for the whole game! Stanford’s Mikaela Ruef guarded her for most of the game and limited her to just five rebounds. And Chiney is the best “help defense” player we have seen, so it is usually not just one player guarding the other team’s best, think of it more like one and a half, with Chiney ready to step in.

Granted, Gray was in foul trouble and sat a lot the first half. Funny, we just looked up the box score and Gray only played 14 minutes, yet had two fouls. Why did Cal coach Lindsey Gottlieb keep her on the bench? She is your leading scorer, let her foul out. But we digress.

So Stanford is enjoying a huge lead. Taylor Greenfield hits two consecutive 3-pointers, to put them ahead by 30, 59-29 with 13 minutes left in the game, and all is right with the world, when “it” happened. That one play that changes everything, swings momentum, changes fortunes. Of course, the play we are talking about is the hard foul Cal's Brittany Boyd gave Stanford's Erica McCall. Our friends watching at home said the replay didn’t look that bad, and that Stanford was holding Brittany first. Heck, there was a lot of holding; Chiney got held on every rebound (see photo). The Twittersphere had the understated quote of the night saying, “refs are staying out of this one.”

But in real time, on Boyd’s foul, she gave a hard forearm to Erica, and when the whistle blew, she kept going after Erica until she angrily tackled her to the ground, and that is what C and R have a problem with. It was an out of control outburst, especially after the whistle. The refs huddled but did not make it flagrant.

Maybe it was the stoppage of play that threw off Stanford’s rhythm. Maybe it was coach Tara VanDerveer taking out Chiney with a comfortable 23-point lead after the foul. (Remember what we said about Chiney’s help defense?). We think others are a little used to having her around that they can let their players go by to avoid fouling because Chiney has their back. Well, she can’t while on the bench.

Chiney subbed out when the Stanford lead was 23. She subbed in a minute later and it was a 17-point lead.

Or it could be what one of the Cal blogs called, “playground mode.” Brittany Boyd would grab a rebound and put her head down and charge to the basket until she made it or was fouled, rarely passing. And Stanford let her. No one stopped ball. Brittany would end up with 25 points, 16 of them coming after the hard foul. C and R hate that kind of basketball, but it can be streaky and can get you points as Boyd proved. Stanford, whether with Chiney on the floor or not, cannot let a player take over the game like that.

But Stanford got some key stops in the final two minutes and Chiney scored Stanford’s final two baskets to hang on 70-64.

Box Score:
Chiney scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her 16th double-double of the season.
Ruefie scored eight points and grabbed 12 rebounds and had excellent defense, as we mentioned.
KSam the Freshie came off the bench to score 14 points, going 2-3 from the 3-point line, including that one at the buzzer to end the first. But she looked nervous in stretches and only scored 2 points in the second.
Taylor Greenfield added 10 points, to mkae three players in double figures.
Freshie Erica (Baby Chiney) McCall had eight points with four rebounds.
Freshie guard Lili Thompson limped off a few minutes before halftime after appearing to bang her right knee on another player but she came back in the second with a bandaged appendage. She finished with eight assists and a 3-pointer.

Well, we won't have to debate this game for long, as with this quirky Pac-12 scheduling, Stanford travels to Cal to play them Sunday. Of course it is Superbowl Sunday and Twittersphere again said, “why do the powers that be hate women’s sports so much to schedule a great match up like this on Superbowl Sunday where it will be lost amidst the football roar (or something like that, it’s hard to get on a soap box in in 140 characters or less).

Which team will respond differently and how? Stay tuned for part 2.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Stanford Beats USC, Remains Undefeated in Pac-12 Play

So the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team was involved in ESPN’s “Big Monday” to showcase women’s college basketball. They played Pac-12 foe USC in the second half of a double header.  Finally some national coverage for Stanford and for their Player of the Year Candidate, Chiney Ogwumike.

Um, C and R are not really sure what happened in the first half. A Stanford PR person came around to our section to ask for volunteers to shoot the half court shot for prizes. Now, C will knock people down just to catch a hurled T-Shirt of victory ball. So who do you think instantly volunteered? C of course.

After a brief discussion with R on how I should shoot it (throw it baseball style, turn around backwards and fling it over my head?), I made my way down to the sidelines as instructed at the 12-minute mark with Stanford holding a brief lead 19-16 lead, and met the other guy who was shooting with me. The only problem was we weren’t shooting until the eight-minute mark. I couldn’t really see want was going on the court, plus I was concentrating on making sure my pants didn’t fall down. I lost four whole minutes where Stanford was slowly expanding their lead. Or something.

Then at the eight minute timeout, they called my name and I threw the basketball baseball style and was a little over zealous and hit the backboard and the ball actually went in the basket then scooped out to fall to the side, which was a good thing because I forgot to call bank. R told me they showed my incredulous reaction on the miss three times on the Jumbotron.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, Stanford used a 14-0 run to get to 37-20 lead with 4 and a half minutes left and to end up with a 46-28 lead at halftime. What happened, I don’t know, I was emotionally spent. After checking my texts and messages from all my friends who saw me act like a fool, I watched Chiney go to work in the second.

Chiney Ogwumike Chiney Ogwumike shoots against USC (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Well, that is easy to explain, it was all Chiney, all day. Heck, it looked like she kept scoring on the same play. Throw it to Chiney on the right hand side of the basket and let her bank it in (and she doesn’t call it, either). USC could not stop her and she scored 30 and grabbed 12 boards before Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer was happy that the East Coast got to see Chiney and took her out. Final score 86-59, Stanford.

This time, though, five Stanford players scored in double figures to help her. Stanford Mikaela Ruef gave some perspective after the game.

"I think what happened last year was that we depended on Chiney too much," said Ruef, one of five Cardinal players to score in double figures. "If other people are scoring, they can't double off me or the guards and that means we can find Chiney even more." And more they did.

With Chiney’s 30 points and 12 rebounds, she got her 15th double-double for the season. She has scored at least 30 points for the 10th time this season, adding to her Stanford record.

Ruef added her own double-double, third of the season for her, with 11 points and 10 rebounds with a side of an unexpected 3-pointer. Guards Amber Orrrrange and Lili Thompson scored 12 points apiece, with Lili making two 3-pointers. Karlie Samuelson (KSam) had 10 points and shot 2-4 from three-point land, and got an assist from BSam, her sister Bonnie. Although Stanford as a team was 7-20 from behind the arc, a little off for them.

Shout out to Twitter Buddy Hoopfeed, and not just because we hope she will mention us on twitter, but because she writes about women’s basketball out of love and came all the way from Dallas to see Chiney in person, although we are concerned that she was staying with people from Cal.

Speaking of which, next game is Cal at home on Thursday, then Cal away on Superbowl Sunday.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stanford Beats UCLA

Well, we finally got a close one. UCLA almost beat #4 Stanford, and funny how the Twitterverse was rooting for the upset to make things interesting in the Pac-12. Heck, Cal had already lost that night to USC, giving them two strikes in the Pac-12 loss column. The Stanford Women’s basketball team’s 72-55 win over UCLA was their closest margin of victory in the Pac-12 so far this season. It also gives them a so far perfect 7-0 start in conference play.

This one was close due to UCLA’s physicality. The weird thing was the refs called it super tight in the first half. They whistled every little hand check, and UCLA was getting most of the fouls going against them. Then the refs took the second half off. Nothing, and I mean nothin’ was getting called. Bodies went flying, players knocked to the ground and lots o’ contact being called jump balls (Poor Karlie Samuelson was the recipient of a particular severe take down).
Chiney Ogwumike Chiney Ogwumike reaches for a rebound against UCLA (Marcio Jose Sanchez - AP Photo)

UCLA’s physicalness limited Stanford’s All-Everything Chiney Ogwumike. For the game, Chiney posted her 14th double-double of the season with 21 points and 15 rebounds. That would be a great night for 99% of the women’s college basketball players out there. But Chiney is in that top 1%. She was averaging 27 points per game and was second in the nation in field goal percentage. She had uncharacteristic misfires, missing five of her first six shots and going 10-18 from the field. (Of course she was pushed and hit a lot when she shot and did not get the usual foul calls to go to the line). But you can’t keep an Ogwumike down for long, and she made nine of her final 12 shots to help Stanford put some distance between themselves and UCLA.

UCLA coach Cori Close said she’d "never been so thrilled to hold someone to 21 points." Now that’s a quote!

Speaking of coaches, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said her team will have to play much better when they meet USC in ESPN’s Big Monday match up. Stanford committed 16 turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds for VanDerveer's liking.  "I was upset with how casual people were with the ball," VanDerveer said.

Shout out to Taylor Greenfield who held UCLA’s scorer Atonye Nyingifa in check.. Although Nyingifa would lead her team in scoring with 18 points, she did not score in the final 10 minutes of the game with Taylor on her. That’s a shut down.

Here’s where Stanford’s Hall of Fame coach earns her big bucks (well we hope she gets big bucks). Your best defender is Chiney Ogwumike. With her long arms to cut off passing lanes and leaping ability to block shots, she can shut down just about anyone. So whom does Tara VanDerveer have Chiney guard? The worst player on the floor.  While Stanford was in a man to man formation, with Taylor Greenfield fronting Nyingifa, Chiney was playing zone, standing under the basket, an arms length away from Nyingifa,to keep from any back door passing happening. Heck, Chiney was ignoring her player. The few times her player did get the ball far out on the wing, Chiney didn’t even move, and let her shoot a long jumper. Guess what, she missed a lot. So Tara has her two best defenders taking care of UCLA’s best shooter and their worst player shooting long jumpers that have a low chance of going in. Brilliant!

This game was also strange in that usually when Chiney is well defended inside, Stanford bombs the three. This time Stanford was only 5-11, and although my phone calculator says that is 45%, five made threes are behind Stanford’s average. And the true bombers, The Samuelson sisters, KSam and BSam, plus Taylor Greenfield did not make one of them.  Freshie guard Lili Thompson had two of them and Sara James had three of them, going 3 for 3 from behind the line.

Of course, Sara’s threes came at an opportune time. With the game tied at 39 early in the second half, she hit consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a Cardinal run that eventually led to a 66-51 advantage heading into the final five minutes.

C and R wanted to point out another Stanford contributor, Freshie Erica McCAll. Erica had a great game, and the difference was hustle. She looked really hungry and went after the ball despite UCLA’s tall bodies and arms. She scored a season-high 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and matched her season best with eight rebounds.

Four Cardinal players scoried in double figures. Besides Chiney and Erica, Lili Thompson had 15 points and Sara James had 11, and were the only two to make 3-pointers. Point guard Amber Orrange passed out eight of Stanford's 20 assists against just one turnover.

Next up for Stanford is ESPN’s Big Monday, a game against USC. As we said, USC upset Cal this weekend, so hopefully it will be a good game. As long as it is not too close. And Stanford wins. And Chiney scores 30. To impress the voters for Player of the Year. On the big stage. On National TV. Because no one sees Pac-12 play.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Stanford Easily Handles Arizona State

So C and R thought, “Finally, this is going to be a competitive game in the Pac-12.” Stanford was playing Arizona State, who is in the top 25. ASU just beat Cal 68-59 last game. Stanford will have to work for this Pac- 12 win. Spoiler alert, same old results (not that C and R are complaining, mind you).

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat ASU 80-56. Last game Stanford shot the three ball and occasionally threw it to the best inside player in the country in Chiney Ogwumike. This time they just threw to Chiney.
Karlie Samuelson Mikaela Ruef, left, and Chiney Ogwumike are tall trees for Stanford. (Photo by: Michael Schennum/azcentral sports)

Chiney scored 30 to post her ninth 30-point game of the season, and grabbed 16 boards, and she did it in only 30 minutes (a point a minute, now that’s production). She spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls. She would make up for lost time scoring18 in the second half. And yes, you are right, that was another double-double, make that 13 for the year for #13. 

Chiney had some help, of course. Fellow senior Mikaela Ruef scored nine points with 11 rebounds and five assists. Freshies Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson had 11 apiece and Taylor Greenfield added 14. Wow, four Stanford players in double figures, even with Chiney’s monster game, now that is some good news.

Funny after bombing all those threes last game, where Stanford matched the school record with 15 made 3-pointers Saturday at Arizona, they only attempted six this game and made three. One from KSam, one from BSam, the swinging Samuelson sisters Karlie and Bonnie, and one from Greenfield.

Finally, Stanford is back at Maples, facing UCLA and USC this weekend. Again, on paper, it looks like a good match up, and both teams should give Stanford a game. That’s what they said about all the other Pac-12 games so far this year.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stanford Assaults Arizona

This Stanford’s Women’s basketball game was fun to watch on TV.  While the state of California has a drought alert, it was raining 3's in the desert, to quote Twitter. The State of Stanford routed Pac-12 foe Arizona 96-52 and set new season highs with 96 points scored and a 46-point margin of victory.
Karlie Samuelson Karlie Samuelson shoots threes so quickly, finally a photo of her. (Photo: John Miller, Associated Press)

So what do you do when you have the best inside player and Player of the Year candidate in senior Chiney Ogwumike? Well, if you are Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, you pass the ball on the perimeter and have the first open player shoot a three. Stanford would make a season-high 15 3-pointers, in 32 attempts. Oh, don’t get Tara wrong, just when Arizona’s defense would try to come out more on the hot Stanford shooters, Stanford would throw it inside to Chiney. And Chiney don’t miss. She was 12-for-13 from the field for her best single-game field-goal percentage of the season (92.3 percent). TVD is not in the basketball Hall of Fame for nothin’.

Speaking of Chiney, besides going 12-for-13 from the field, she posted her 12th double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds. TVD took her out to give others a chance (all 15 players got to play in this game, only the second time that has happened this season) but her 24 points a game is actually below her scoring average, and if Stanford wants to get Chiney any POY consideration from those East Coasters, they need to keep that average up!

Sisterhood is strong at Stanford. The Samuelson sisters were outstanding, as Karlie and older sister Bonnie combined for 25 points. Freshmen KSam (Karlie) was lights out, going 4-8 from behind the line and finished with 16 points. BSam (Bonnie) scored nine and hit three triples of her own. Together they went 7-for-14 from 3-point land and 9-for-16 from the field.

Lest you think Arizona should have keyed on those two with the hot hand, seven different Stanford players hit from outside (Taylor Greenfield, Sara James, Kailee Johnson, Amber Orrange, Bonnie Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson, Lili Thompson), the most in a single game this season. With all those quick passes to set up those threes, Stanford matched its season high with 28 assists, led by eight from guard Amber Orrange. Freshman guard Lili Thompson scored 12 points and matched her season high with six assists.

It also seemed like one of the fastest played games of the season, and here’s why: there were hardly any foul calls. Stanford attempted season-low three free throws, and had a season-low one made (wow, gotta get that free throw shooting percentage up, no matter how many times you go to the line). Arizona’s seven fouls were the lowest by a Cardinal opponent this season. Well, when you are hitting threes, no one is driving and drawing fouls. And with Chiney scoring practically a lay up even with contact every time she touched the ball, it seemed like the refs just let it go to keep the game moving.

Well, with the Cal loss to Arizona State, Stanford is definitely in the drivers seat for the Pac-12 crown. However, Stanford plays Arizona State Monday so we will see if they are for real or not.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stanford Survives Colorado

Was it the altitude? Was it Colorado’s ‘tude? Whatever it was, it was a physical game with lots ‘o fouls, and Stanford had to work for this Pac-12 win.

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat Colorado in mile-high Denver 87-77, but hats off to Colorado, they never gave up. Stanford had a lead of 18 in the first half and got it to 19 with 13 minutes left to play, but Colorado would battle back to cut it to seven. It didn’t help that Stanford’s two best players, Chiney Ogwumike and Amber Orrrrange, had foul troubles and had to sit more minutes then usual. Amber would foul out with a minute left in the game.
Sara James
Sara James Battles for the Ball (Photo-Cliff Grassmick)

Once again, big shout out to Pac-12 Networks for showing the game. C and R caught it between football games, or maybe it was a continuation of one, as players were getting hit and crashing to the floor. Stanford was whistled for 25 fouls, and Colorado 24. Oddly, mild mannered freshmen Karlie Samuelson was called for a double technical when tangling with Colorado’s Arielle Roberson and it was the mildest foul of the game.

Speaking of Freshman Karlie Samuelson, who we have the nick named KSam (but has caught on with nobody) she set season highs in points (19), 3-pointers made (5) and field goals made (5). Her previous high in scoring was eight points. And did she hit some threes, going 5-8 from behind the line including hitting one at the buzzer to end the first and send the Buffs to the locker room with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Speaking of threes, Stanford as a team was 8-15 from behind the line at the half and 10-21 for the game. Colorado, by comparison was Colorado 1-5 at the half and 4-13 for the game. Taylor Greenfield, Sara James, Lili Thompson, Amber and yes, for the second straight game, Chiney, each had one made 3-pointer. Post player Chiney made her third of her career, the second of the season. She just forgot to call “bank” when it went in.

Speaking of Chiney, she 34 points. That makes her sixth 30-point game in the past seven games and eighth of the year for those of you keeping g score at home. The current Pac-12 rebounding record holder grabbed 16 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. Wow, no wonder she is in consideration for Player of the Year.

No other Stanford player got in double figures, but freshmen Lili Thompson scored nine, with her one made three. For the second game in a row, she took a punishing blow. This time a big body crumpled her leg under her. She went out but returned.

Three point specialist Bonnie Samuelson, sister to KSam so logic dictates she be BSam, did not score  a three, but mixed it up inside and had a tough put back for the first time….ever. We usually don’t see her inside.

Hopefully Stanford can get back to Cali and recover from the altitude and the cold. They next play the Arizonas at home.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Stanford, Ogwumike Beat Utah

Rushed home from work to see the Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat Utah 87-61  in Pac-12 Play. Not that there was any doubt, mind you. And C and R appreciate that the Pac-12 networks are showing these games, but we hate the earlier start to try and fit in two women’s basketball games a night.

And not to sound like whiners (well, we are whiners a little bit) but seeing it on TV just doesn’t compare to seeing Stanford play live. And we are sure the Cali girls of Stanford hated traveling to Utah, as the temperature was zero degrees. Twitter showed several photos of coaches and players bundled up against the cold. So without further ado, here are the highlights.

Lili Thompson
Chiney Ogwumike drives to the basket. (Kim Raff -AP Photo)

All-everything Chiney Ogwumike kept her scoring average up and campaign for Player of the year average up by scoring 30 points. This was her seventh 30-point game of the season and fifth over the past six games. The post player even made a three, her first of the year and 2nd of her career! The only thing she did wrong “only” getting nine rebounds, so we can’t say she got a double-double. Chiney also played great defense on Utah’s Michelle Plouffe, who would finish with 14 points. 

Mikaela Ruef grabbed a career high-tying 14 rebounds and contributed eight points. Guard Amber Orrrrange scored 14 points with six assists and made two 3-pointers. Everybody else had about one 3-pointer. In a run midway through the first half, Lili Thompson, Bonnie Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson and Amber Orrange hit four 3-pointers in a row during a 14-0 run that put Stanford ahead 35-13 with eight minutes left. Sara James also had two 3-pointers in the game. Stanford as a team was 8-14 from the three-point line.

Scary moment of the game when freshie guard Lili Thompson took her usual one charge per game. She was knocked backwards hard and stayed down. Lili is tough, so you know if she stays down, something is wrong. Twitter told us it was her jaw and her return was questionable. She did come back in the second half. Hope she recovers fully. Colorado is on Sunday.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Stanford Flattens Oregon State

So two years ago, Stanford’s inside player Nneka Ogwumike decided in her senior season that she needed a mid range game to make her more versatile for the WNBA. She developed a nice shooting touch, and although she wouldn’t beat you with a three, if you stopped her from going inside, she could pull up for a nice jumper. She got herself drafted #1 and won the WNBA rookie of the year.

Flash forward to today and little sis Chiney Ogwumike is following in her footsteps. She is a danger inside, and if you leave her one on one in there, even against your best defender, she usually will score (UConn seeming to be the only exception). So Chiney has been working on her outside game for when she runs up against the UConn’s of the world, but it has been a little slower in developing then Nneka’s was. Mostly, it is the arch that is missing. Her outside shots beeline it for the basket.

Now, usually when the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team beats you, it’s because Chiney Ogwumike beat you inside. And that was certainly true today against Oregon State. Chiney scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Except today was different in that Chiney Ogwumike also beat OSU outside. Her shots still beelined towards the basket, But they went in. and when Chiney can hit for the outside, everything is going Stanford’s way. Stanford as a team went on a 29-4 run in the first eight and half minutes, and Chiney scored 17 of those points, and they never looked back.
Lili Thompson
Stanford's Lili Thompson (Ben Margot / AP Photo)

Oh, OSU had a few runs of their own, and shot the three ball in a timely matter just to keep pace, but that 20-point cushion could not be bridged. The final score was 89-67 Stanford. 

Four Stanford players scored in double figures. Freshmen starting guard Lili Thompson scored a season-high 19 points, made three out of four 3-point attempts, stole the ball twice and matched season bests with five rebounds and five assists. She also threw her body around on the court and was intimidating to OSU. Mikaela Ruef finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Taylor Greenfield had 13 points and made two 3-pointers. Bonnie the Bomber made a three with an assist from her younger sister Karlee (yes, sisterhood runs deep at Stanford). Speaking of threes, Stanford was 7-10 on 3-point attempts, and correct C and R if they are wrong, but that is a whopping 70% accuracy.

Said Oregon State’s coach, "Stanford set the tone tonight. They came out and punched us in the face basically for the first 10 minutes of this game." And punch they did, as for the second game in a row, an opposing player had to get medical treatment for a bloody nose. No more “Nice Girls from Stanford”, Pac-12.

Chiney Ogwumike posted her sixth 30-point game and 10th double-double of the season. She also passed out a career-high six assists. She passed Jayne Appel (2,125) for fourth place on Stanford's career scoring list. By season's end, Ogwumike also could overtake Kate Starbird (2,215), older sister Nneka Ogwumike (2,491) and possibly even Candice Wiggins’ conference record of 2,629 points (although coach Tara VanDerveer might not want that to happen, adoring Candice, LOL).

Next up Stanford travels to Utah and Colorado for more Pac-12 action.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stanford Crushes Ducks, Ogwumike Gets Record

They say defense wins championships. Well, the best offense in the nation went against an under-appreciated defense and the defense won. Well, couple the Stanford Women’ basketball Team’s defense with Pac-12 foe Oregon’s LACK of it and you get a 96-66 Stanford win.

Oregon came into Maples leading the country with 105.3 points. They were also the only women’s team averaging over 100 points. Then they met Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike. Chiney suffocated Oregon’s Chrishae Rowe, who was averaging 24.5 points a game (about the same amount Chiney averages, 25.8). Rowe was held to just five points in the first half and 11 for the game, five of those with the Stanford starters including Chiney on the bench.

Chiney Ogwumike with the block
Chiney Ogwumike blocks a layup-attempt from Oregon's Lexi Petersen.
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Chiney received plenty of help on defense from her teammates. Stanford held run-and-gun Oregon to a season low 66 points, 39 below its nation-leading season average of 105 per game. Oregon’s 41 percent  of made 3-pointers plunged downward when Stanford held them to 23 percent (6-of-26).

When C and R saw the two teams line up for tip off, we thought Stanford was going to have their way rebounding and inside, as the Card looked taller. Imagine our surprise when Stanford Head Coach Tara Vanderveer dialed up a first half game plan of threes. Stanford used quick perimeter passing to counter Oregon’s zone and when the first Stanford player behind the line was a little bit open, they launched. And launched they did, hitting 12-24 behind the arc. Stanford also stopped Oregon from launching their own threes. Oregon missed their first nine 3-point tries and wound up 6 for 26 on 3-point tries for the game.

Stanford’s Bonnie Samuelson matched a career high with six 3-pointers and scored a career-best 21 points in just 17 minutes. Younger sister Karlie Samuelson (1), Taylor Greenfield (2), Jasmine Camp (1) and Lili Thompson (2) all hit triples as Stanford matched its season high with 12 makes from behind the arc. BTW, the bench scored 47 points, something that has been lacking all season.

The half ended Stanford up 51 to 33, (the official scorers table would change it to 34, something we didn’t know they could do). So Oregon came out of the break and employed a typical coaching move when the other team is making threes. They went to a man to man defense. And what happens, Stanford fans, when you leave Chiney one on one inside? It’s Chiney all day. Chiney had a quiet first half for her, only scoring 14 points and going 10 minutes without a basket, and then suddenly in the second she is stepping around her one defender. She ended up with 33 points and 14 boards for her ninth double-double of the year, before Tara took her out with five and a half minutes remaining.

Speaking of Chiney, she also set the Pac-12 and Stanford rebounding record in this game. She needed just ten to set it. Heck she could do that in her sleep. Hats off to Oregon, who boxed her well, and held her to just six rebounds in the first. C and R were counting on their fingers to see when she would get #10 for the record. She grabbed what we thought was the tenth rebound only to have an Oregon player tie her up for a jump ball. The announcer said it was her 10th and we cheered. Turned out it wasn’t, so the NEXT one was the record. Either way, she grabbed 14 boards to seal the deal.

Chiney passed former Stanford player Kayla Pedersen’ mark of 1,266 for the Pac-12 record. Earlier in the game she passed another Stanford great, Jayne Appel. Last game, she passed her sister, Nneka Ogwumike, who now stands fourth on that list. So Stanford holds the top four spots of the conference rebounding record. Chiney is at 1,271 and counting, with a whole season of Pac-12 left to play. This record might stay for a long, long time.

One thing Oregon did do well was push the ball in transition. One player grabs the rebound and goes the length of the floor as fast as possible without passing. If you don’t stop ball, they go all the way to the glass. And Stanford let too many of those go by. Goes to show you, always room for improvement.

Looking forward to the rest of the Pac-12 season.

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