New Mexico learns from loss to No. 6 Stanford

Two months ago, New Mexico freshman Kianna Keller was fighting

for playing time. Against No. 6 Stanford, she was fighting an

All-America.

Chiney Ogwumike scored 24 of her 32 points in the first half and

the Cardinal won their eighth straight, beating the Lobos 74-41 on

Monday night.

”Kianna will be a good player,” Lobos coach Yvonne Sanchez

said. ”This was a learning moment. She did some good things. She

blocked one of Chiney’s shots.”

It’s hard for anybody to guard last season’s first team

All-America, let alone a freshman making just her fourth career

start.

”She was the third post player off the bench at one time,”

Sanchez said. ”She’s had to start because of injuries. I’m willing

to let the young kids learn from this.”

Keller is in the lineup because of season-ending injuries to

three of the Lobos’ front line players, including sophomore Whitney

Johnson and junior Ebony Walker.

The Lobos tried everything to slow down Ogwumike, who has scored

over 2,000 points and has more than 1,000 rebounds in her stellar

career at Stanford.

”We tried to deny, we tried to front and we went into a zone,”

Sanchez said. ”She’s just that good.”

Ogwumike became the fifth member of Stanford’s 2,000-point,

1,000-rebound club with her fifth point of the game and moved into

sole possession of third place on the rebounding list with 1,227,

one more than her older sister Nnemkadi.

Mikaela Ruef had 10 rebounds and blocked three shots for the

Cardinal (9-1), who host No. 3 Tennessee on Saturday.

Bryce Owens scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, to lead the

Lobos (4-5), who fell to 2-11 against teams ranked in the top

10.

New Mexico, which ranks second in the Mountain West Conference

in scoring defense and first in rebounding margin, last beat a top

10 team eight years ago.

Ogwumike scored Stanford’s first 10 points and 23 of its first

25 before she was replaced by Erica McCall with 9:52 left in the

first half.

Ogwumike, who blocked four shots, was 10 of 15 from the field in

the first half as Stanford took a 40-21 lead. She left the game for

good with 10:30 remaining to play.

”Chiney is one of the best post players in the nation if not

the best,” Sanchez said. ”She has that curving hook shot that is

almost impossible to defend and she’s so strong with her

dribble.”

The Lobos, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, were

within 7-5 before the Cardinal went on a 20-2 run to open a

20-point lead midway through the first half.

New Mexico kept the game relatively close for the first 7

minutes of the second half by dominating the offensive boards

(20-12 overall) and getting second chance points.

Owens and Brooke Allemand hit 3-pointers to cut Stanford’s lead

to 16, the closest the Lobos would get the rest of the way.