No. 5 Stanford women cruise past Washington, 83-60
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Chiney Ogwumike gave the politically correct answer when asked if No. 5 Stanford's big win against Washington was about payback for a loss earlier in the season.
''It was more like motivation to play really hard and to play well because we knew we were capable of something better than what we showed last time,'' Ogwumike said after finishing with 32 points and 11 rebounds in the Cardinal's 83-60 win over the Huskies on Thursday night.
The Huskies handed Stanford its only Pac-12 loss this season, an 87-82 defeat on Feb. 9 at Seattle that snapped Washington's 14-game losing streak to the Cardinal.
''We just had added motivation, which is nice,'' Ogwumike added. ''Payback, I don't like to use that word. I like to approach each game the same. I think we were just a little more fired up.''
Teammate Mikaela Ruef wasn't quite so diplomatic.
''I'm not as politically correct as Chiney,'' Ruef said, laughing. ''I wanted to kill `em. Nobody likes losing. I was super motivated. I think our team was motivated. I wanted payback. I'll say it.''
Bonnie Samuelson added 14 points for Stanford (27-2, 16-1 Pac-12), while Lili Thompson had 11 and Amber Orrange 10. Ruef grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and helped clamp down defensively on the Huskies.
Ogwumike fell four points shy of tying her career high, reached twice this season. The senior forward increased her career scoring total to 2,543, leaving her 87 shy of breaking former Stanford star Candice Wiggins' Pac-12 record. Ogwumike also had her 21st double-double of the season.
Kelsey Plum led Washington (16-12, 9-8) with 21 points. Talia Walton added 12 and Jazmine Davis 10.
The Huskies' winning formula at home against Stanford was to pack the inside, contain Ogwumike and dare her teammates to try and beat them from outside. Ogwumike scored 23 points, but Stanford went 9 for 41 on 3s in the loss.
This time, Washington had no answer for Ogwumike, and Stanford shot 32 for 68 from the field, including 9 for 24 on 3s
''I thought Stanford was phenomenal from the tip,'' Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. ''They were very focused. Took it right at us. It took us a while to settle in, and they took full advantage of it. The shots they missed in Seattle they made tonight, and I think that's the difference in the game. I thought our kids played equally hard, we were equally as prepared. I just thought they shot the ball better tonight.''
Stanford, which clinched the Pac-12 regular-season title last week, also played much better defense this time, limiting Washington to 37.3-percent shooting from the field. The Huskies shot just 12 free throws, making four.
''I think that our staff and team really focused on what we needed to do defensively in a different way,'' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ''We just helped a lot better and we had a better defensive scheme. We understood what we needed to do better.''
Ogwumike scored 21 points in the first half, lifting Stanford to a 45-32 lead at the break. She made 9 of 13 shots, most of them from point-blank range, having her way against Washington's zone defense, and hit 3 of 4 from the line.
Walton led Washington with 12 first-half points, making all four of her 3-point shots.
Stanford led 32-26 with 8:21 left in the first half after Davis made two free throws. But the Cardinal went on an 11-0 run, holding Washington scoreless for 6:19 and building a 43-26 lead.
Ogwumike started the run, scoring three straight baskets in less than a minute. Thompson nailed a 3-point shot, increasing Stanford's lead to 41-29, and Ruef connected from 18 feet to cap the spurt.
The Huskies finally ended their drought with 2:02 left in the half when Mercedes Wetmore made a 3-point shot. Walton followed with a 3, cutting Stanford's lead to 13 points.
''At our place, our offense is what won the game,'' Neighbors said. ''We had kind of a unique defensive scheme and it happened to work because they missed a bunch of shots. but what won us the game was our offense was really good. I think (Stanford's) focus on the defensive end was obvious. It never let up throughout the game.''
Stanford opened the second half on a 16-4 run, increasing its lead to 61-36. Ogwumike scored seven points during the spurt, while Samuelson made two 3s, and Thompson one.