Ogwumike leads No. 4 Stanford over UCLA
STANFORD, Calif. (AP)
After a slow start, Chiney Ogwumike got herself adjusted and returned to her normal production. That led to a victory that was far from easy.
UCLA was still within six points of the Cardinal with under nine minutes left to play in the game before seemingly withering over the final seven minutes.
Ogwumike, second in the nation in field goal percentage, missed five of her first six shots against an aggressive Bruins defense that shifted between zone and man defense to find ways to slow down the All-American.
''They're physical, within the context of the game and how it was officiated,'' Ogwumike said. ''It took me a while to adjust to their physicality. In the interim, my teammates stepped up while I was struggling.''
Lili Thompson added 15 points for the Cardinal (18-1, 7-0 in the Pac-12), who won their 17th straight since losing at top-ranked Connecticut in November. Erica McCall added 11 points and Sara James had 10.
''Coach has always been talking about needing more people to step up,'' McCall said. ''I think it all started to click.''
Ogwumike made nine of her final 12 shots to help the Cardinal put some distance between themselves and the Bruins.
''We came out in the second half and really got it going,'' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ''We attacked better and we rebounded better.''
Atonye Nyingifa scored 18 points to lead the Bruins (10-10, 4-4 Pac-12), who had won three of their previous four games. Nirra Fields scored 13 points.
''It was a mixed bag for us,'' UCLA coach Cori Close said. ''They are a lot of things to be proud of. We played with good energy for a long time. I've never been so thrilled to hold someone to 21 points.''
The game was tied at 39 early in the second half when James hit consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a Cardinal run that eventually led to a 66-51 advantage heading into the final five minutes.
''That hurt us,'' Close said. ''We had just talked about defending the 3-point shot. When James hit those 3's, I think we letdown a little bit and it led to a critical five-minute drought for us.''
UCLA harassed Stanford into 16 turnovers and stayed within striking distance much of the game, thanks to a 14-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Bruins, who dressed eight healthy players for the contest, finally seemed to run out of steam.
''We knew we were better than how we were playing,'' Ogwumike said. ''Amber (Orrange) really changed her mindset and came out in the second half aggressively and did a good job defensively, which I think led to our offense.''
Stanford led at halftime, 36-35.
The Cardinal extended their winning streak over UCLA to 17 games and have won 15 straight at Stanford.
The Bruins' previous three losses were each by two points.
Nyingifa played in her 127th game, moving her into a tie for third in UCLA history.