No. 5 Stanford 76, Gonzaga 61
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had more fun playing in front of her home crowd than yelling from the bench with her family in attendance.
Ogwumike made a spectacular debut Sunday, finishing with 33 points and 18 rebounds in leading No. 5 Stanford past Gonzaga 76-61.
A preseason All-American, Ogwumike sat out Friday night's win at Texas with an upper body injury. She had a double-double by halftime.
''I did what I could to involve myself in the game against Texas,'' said the Houston-area native. ''Not being able to play was kind of hard, especially with family there.''
Chiney Ogwumike added 19 points for the Cardinal (2-0), who extended their home winning streak to 64, now entering its fifth season. Toni Kokenis added 14 points.
Haiden Palmer scored 13 points to lead the Bulldogs (1-1), who led the nation in points last year while reaching the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Taelor Karr and Kelly Bowen each added 10 points.
''They're just a great team,'' Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. ''We did a good job for a portion of the game but their big bodies kind of wore us down.''
Kokenis' 3-pointer with 13:04 remaining to play highlighted a 20-9 start to the second half, putting Stanford in charge.
''We're not playing as fast as we want offensively,'' Kokenis said. ''That starts with defense and getting the ball out.''
The Cardinal eventually built a 20-point lead with four minutes left before emptying the bench.
''The first half is not the way we wanted it,'' Ogwumike said. ''We missed a lot of shots and weren't getting the rebounds and then we weren't getting back on defense. We did a good job of adjusting.''
The Bulldogs outscored Stanford 18-7 over the last 6:05 of the first half to take a 32-31 lead into the half.
Ogwumike made 14 of 19 shots and helped Stanford to a 49-31 advantage in rebounds.
''Neka is one heck of a player,'' Graves said. ''You see what greatness is. Some of those shots it would not have mattered if we had five people on her. It's incredible how she can play.''
The Cardinal held a 24-14 lead, with Nnemkadi, the elder Ogwumike, scoring 11, with 6:05 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs made six of their next 11 shots and limited Stanford to four shot attempts the rest of the half.
Stanford was 19-of-31 from the field in the second half and finished with a 50 percent shooting percentage.
''When you have Neka and Chiney, you go inside,'' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ''When Neka makes up her mind, who can stop her?''
Gonzaga lost five seniors, including two starters, from last year's team, which lost to Stanford 63-50 in the Regional final. They have been replaced, in part, by Division I transfers Palmer, who spent her freshman year at Oregon State, and
Karr, who was at Kansas State the last two years.