No. 4 Stanford 69, Southern Cal 52

Chiney Ogwumike’s long reach and presence in the paint is a big

reason Stanford is making strides on the defensive end, which in

turn is leading to more fast-break baskets.

Ogwumike had 21 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high six

blocked shots and No. 4 Stanford extended its school-record home

winning streak at Maples Pavilion to 75 with a 69-52 win over

Southern California on Thursday night.

”I was in the right place at the right time, honestly. If it’s

something that gets people going, I might as well do it,” Ogwumike

said. ”If you’re able to make a play, coach says be aggressive,

and why not have fun and be aggressive?”

Older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 22 points and eight

rebounds for the Cardinal (21-1, 12-0 Pac-12), who moved closer to

a 12th straight regular-season conference crown with their 18th

consecutive win overall since the team’s lone loss Nov. 21 at

third-ranked Connecticut.

Stanford won its 10th straight against USC and 20th in 21 games,

and ran its unbeaten stretch against conference opponents to 69 in

a row dating to Jan. 22, 2009.

Ashley Corral and Briana Gilbreath each scored 11 points to lead

cold-shooting USC (12-11, 6-6), which hung tough early but couldn’t

keep up with the talented sister tandem or Stanford’s depth.

Nneka Ogwumike’s three-point play at the 13:37 mark of the first

half moved her past Jayne Appel (2,125) and into third place on

Stanford’s career scoring list behind Candice Wiggins (2,629) and

Kate Starbird (2,215). Ogwumike has 2,143 points and soon should

move into second place for Stanford, which reached the past four

Final Fours but hasn’t won it all since capturing the 1992 NCAA

title.

Toni Kokenis provided 15 points, five assists and five rebounds

while making good decisions running the offense for Stanford. The

Cardinal followed up a 50.7-percent shooting performance in last

Saturday’s 91-51 victory at Arizona with a 48.9-percent showing –

60 percent in the second half.

”People are working really hard defensively – they concentrate

on it, they focus on doing the right thing and they take a lot of

pride in their defense,” coach Tara VanDerveer said. ”You don’t

have to send a memo to Chiney and Nneka and Toni.”

After Stefanie Gilbreath’s 3-pointer 4:13 into the game put USC

ahead 7-6, Stanford answered with a 15-2 run to take control.

Michael Cooper’s Trojans – coming off a tough 67-61 home loss to

Washington on Sunday – got five straight points from Corral to

start the second half and pull USC within 33-27 but Stanford went

back to work with a 9-2 burst.

Chiney Ogwumike made things tough for USC on both ends. She shot

7 for 9 and constantly got a hand up on defense.

”Those Ogwumikes look big and they look like an extra player

out there with their wingspan in the zone,” Cooper said.

This was a much more lopsided meeting after Stanford won the

first game between the schools 61-53 last month in the teams’

Pac-12 opener, a matchup that was close most of the way before the

Cardinal ended the game with a 15-5 run.

This time, Stanford committed only 11 turnovers, converted 23 of

33 free throws – VanDerveer wants better shooting at the line – and

kept USC leading scorer Cassie Harberts in check with eight points

on 3-of-8 shooting. Briana Gilbreath and Christina Marinacci

grabbed seven rebounds apiece for USC, which shot 29.3 percent

(17-58).

”Something we thought about before we stepped on the court was

don’t give up no matter what,” Gilbreath said. ”There are some

good things we can take from this game.”

It took Stanford several minutes to find a groove after

beginning the game 2 for 7. The Cardinal were 2 for 10 from 3-point

range in the opening 20 minutes and got outrebounded 20-19, yet

still led 33-22 at the break.

”I thought it was our defense. We worked hard defensively. We

got out running,” VanDerveer said.

USC got a scare 35.9 seconds before halftime when Corral, the

team’s third-leading scorer averaging 11.8 points, drove to the

basket and was fouled and fell into a cameraman with her right eye

into his knee. Corral quickly jumped up and proceeded to make both

her free throws before falling down again just before the buzzer

sounded.

”I’m a senior and I don’t have time for (medical) tests,”

Corral said, insisting she was fine afterward.

Former major leaguer and current Colorado Rockies first base

coach Glenallen Hill sat along one baseline with his daughter.