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
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
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
”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
”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.