No. 2 Stanford 68, Colorado 46
It’s not often Tara VanDerveer heads to the home locker room at
halftime with Stanford sitting on a slim lead. This time of year,
she’s fine with a little tournament test.
”At halftime I said, `This is great for us to play against
this,”’ VanDerveer said. ”They have some very athletic
No match for the Cardinal’s crop.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 23 points and 11 rebounds, sister Chiney
Ogwumike added 18 points and seven rebounds and second-ranked
Stanford survived a slow start to roll past Pac-12 newcomer
Colorado 68-46 on Thursday night.
Amber Orrange also scored seven points, including a three-point
play to highlight a 19-2 run to open the second half that propelled
the Cardinal (25-1, 16-0) to their 22nd straight win and 77th in a
row at Maples Pavilion – the longest active home-winning streak in
the nation. Stanford hasn’t lost anywhere since a 68-58 setback at
Connecticut on Nov. 21.
”I think it was just kind of our mentality and our
aggressiveness,” Nnemkadi Ogwumike said. ”We realized what we
needed to do against their pressure. We started attacking the
basket and I think we started running the floor.”
Once Stanford started rolling, Colorado couldn’t keep up.
Chucky Jeffery had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Ashley Wilson
scored nine points for the Buffaloes (16-10, 5-10), who were down
only eight at the half. Colorado, which started the season 12-0 for
only the third time in school history, has lost three straight and
six of the last seven games.
For a change, Stanford’s start didn’t overwhelm its
On the Cardinal’s second possession of the game, Nnemkadi
Ogwumike drove hard to the basket and delivered an elbow to Jen
Reese’s left eye while protecting the ball. Reese, who was called
for a blocking foul, tumbled hard to the floor and stayed there for
several minutes, emerging with light tears streaming under her
bruised left eye.
The Buffaloes showed they could take a punch.
They hardly let the Cardinal coast the way they do so often at
Maples Pavilion, hustling for loose balls and contesting every
shot, even if it meant fouling back harder. The Buffaloes built a
12-11 lead, but had three players – Brittany Wilson, Rachel Hargis
and Meagan Malcolm-Peck – with three fouls in the first 15 minutes,
relegating each to the bench.
”We wanted to make sure we didn’t back down,” Colorado coach
Linda Lappe said. ”We weren’t intimidated.”
Stanford closed an ugly, physical first half ahead 26-18 behind
Ogwumike’s strong inside presence despite shooting only 31.6
percent and committing 15 turnovers – seven by point guard Toni
Kokenis alone. Colorado didn’t do much better, shooting 32 percent
with 11 turnovers, but the sloppy play kept it close.
If only for a half.
The Cardinal came out sprinting and showing the typical tenacity
of Hall of Fame VanDerveer’s teams following the break. The
Ogwumike sisters each had a pair of high-driving layups and
Orrange’s three-point play over Julie Seabrook with 16:29 remaining
started highlighted the huge spurt that put Stanford ahead
Stanford already has clinched the inaugural Pac-12 title, its
12th straight conference crown and 21st overall, but VanDerveer
surely knows her teams can’t afford any early lapses if the program
wants to return to its fifth straight Final Four – much less break
the trend of those tearful plane rides home.
VanDerveer can earn her 700th victory at Stanford on Saturday
against Utah. She would become the seventh Division I coach to
reach the milestone at one school.
Not that anyone on The Farm is ready to rejoice – much.
Stanford also was presented the first Pac-12 regular-season
trophy following the game, which the team clinched with a victory
at Oregon last week. Chiney, who had a little foul trouble early in
the game, was already sporting a fresh-minted championship
”I think we work really hard, and sometimes you have to stop
and enjoy what you’ve done so far,” Chiney said. ”As a team,
little things matter to us.”
Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP