No. 3 Stanford 80, Xavier 64
Up by only a point at halftime, No. 3 Stanford went to its best
option to blow open the game
The Cardinal got the ball inside to Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who
dominated under the basket and scored a season-high 34 points
Friday, leading the way to an 80-64 victory over Xavier.
The Cardinal (4-1) shook off a 10-point loss at No. 2
Connecticut on Monday and a slow first half against Xavier (1-3),
which did a good job clamping down on the perimeter. The Musketeers
couldn’t handle Ogwumike once she got going.
”I think maybe it was too much Nneka,” coach Tara VanDerveer
Stanford had a tough time shooting at UConn, making 37 percent
from the field. The Cardinal was 1 of 10 from behind the arc in the
first half against Xavier, which had a couple of brief leads and
kept it close by containing Ogwumike.
The senior forward didn’t sense any hangover from the UConn
”It almost seems people are more focused because of what
happened,” she said. ”What we learned is it shouldn’t take us
playing the way we were on Monday to focus. It gives the young
players perspective on what it’s going to be like if we want to get
to where Stanford is used to being. I think the focus was totally
The focus at the start of the second half was Ogwumike, who made
bank shots, hit a fadeaway jumper and had putbacks during a 19-5
run that put the Cardinal in control. She scored 11 of Stanford’s
15 points in the half and finished with a game-high 13
”Nneka is a phenomenal basketball player,” first-year Xavier
coach Amy Waugh said. ”She’s an All-American who just plays so
hard on every possession. We tried to limit her around the basket
as much as we can, dare her to shoot some jump shots. She’s just
very relentless and continued to go at us.”
Lynette Holmes led Xavier with 18 points.
The schools have played in each of the last three seasons, with
Stanford winning all three. The series started with a memorable
moment for both programs – Jeanette Pohlen’s layup at the buzzer
giving Stanford a 55-53 win in the NCAA tournament regional finals
Last season, the Musketeers visited Stanford with top player
Amber Harris recovering from a concussion. Harris opened the game
on the bench, and Stanford ran away to a 37-point win.
Xavier lost five of its top six players off last season’s Top 10
team and is retooling under Waugh. The Musketeers were coming off
back-to-back losses at Mississippi State and Louisville, and were
determined to give a better showing against the Cardinal.
Xavier kept close for a half by driving into the heart of
Stanford’s defense and drawing fouls. The Musketeers made all 11
free throws in the first half, with Holmes going 7 for 7.
When Ogwumike asserted herself, Xavier was in trouble.
”They were very physical,” VanDerveer said. ”They were very
prepared for us. I don’t think we played particularly well in the
first half, but that’s a credit to them. We struggled from the
perimeter against them in the Elite Eight, too. Nneka really got