No. 4 Stanford 85, Princeton 66
Tara VanDerveer never worries about the production of star
sisters Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike. She needs more from the rest
of Stanford’s roster – and right now.
Tennessee comes to town Tuesday and the Cardinal’s school-record
67-game winning streak seems vulnerable.
Nneka Ogwumike showed what a perimeter threat she has become in
a matter of months, knocking down long jumpers all game on the way
to 22 points and 12 rebounds for No. 4 Stanford in a hard-fought
85-66 victory over Princeton on Saturday.
Her little sister, Chiney, added 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting
and nine rebounds as the Cardinal (7-1) extended their
school-record home winning streak at Maples Pavilion to 67 games
with a big second half. Stanford returned from its annual two-week
break for final exams and received a tough test in a tuneup for
Tuesday night’s sold-out showdown with the sixth-ranked Lady
”Nneka and Chiney sure balled today. They got after it,”
VanDerveer said. ”For our team coming off of finals, we really
needed this game. I thought their pace was great, I thought they
were scrappy. If Nneka and Chiney were on their team, we would have
gotten blasted. We need more people to step up.”
Lauren Edwards scored 16 points for scrappy Princeton (7-4),
which played a ranked opponent for the third time in its last five
games but has still never beaten a Top-25 opponent.
The Tigers were aggressive on both ends of the floor despite
being overmatched, losing for the fourth time in five games
following a 6-0 start. They are the two-time defending Ivy League
champion with their sights set on a third straight trip to the NCAA
”I think they’re a tournament team. They played a tough
schedule,” VanDerveer said.
Coach Courtney Banghart certainly hopes this tough stretch will
help come March.
Nneka Ogwumike, fifth in the nation coming in with a 24.0
scoring average, hit long jumpers on each of her first four baskets
– something she worked on tirelessly during the summer to become a
more versatile scorer. She hit two 17-footers, an 18-footer and a
15-footer during the early sequence and another 15-footer late in
the game, helping Stanford to its fourth straight win since a 68-58
loss at Connecticut on Nov. 21.
”That’s one thing I emphasized this summer with Chiney, and we
still do. We come out early and work on our shots,” Nneka Ogwumike
said. ”It’s all about having confidence in your shot. It’s
definitely a new part of my dimension.”
Princeton leading scorer Niveen Rasheed, who grew up in nearby
Danville, also added 16 points but was held to 6-for-20 shooting –
just below her 17.4 scoring average. The Tigers have started three
or four Californians in each game, including two from the Bay Area.
They made it a game in the first half, trailing 39-32 at the break
with a 22-21 rebounding edge.
”We came out here to win like everybody else comes, not very
many come out with a victory,” Banghart said.
Both Banghart and VanDerveer were unhappy with the officiating
and too many fouls being called rather than letting the teams play
a physical game – like the ones they’ll get in the tournament.
VanDerveer deals with this same dilemma every year during her
rigorous non-conference schedule.
”I think it’s just how they call things on the West Coast,
which is different than the East Coast,” she said.
The Tigers took the ball aggressively to the basket, knocked
down shots under pressure and crashed the boards for an early
rebounding advantage over the much taller Cardinal. They knew a
thing or two about this opponent.
Princeton assistant Milena Flores played for 26th-year Stanford
coach VanDerveer and helped the Cardinal to the 1997 Final Four.
She ranks third in program history for career assists.
VanDerveer substituted regularly throughout the first half to
keep players fresh. She stuck with the Ogwumikes until the waning
minutes before both came out with 2:36 to play.
Freshman Taylor Greenfield scored five points during Stanford’s
13-4 spurt to open the second half as the Cardinal pulled away.
Princeton center Devona Allgood also picked up her fourth foul with
17:19 left, which hurt the Tigers’ inside presence against the
Ogwumike sisters. Allgood was whistled for her fifth foul with 9:07
remaining and took a seat for good.
”We knew coming to this gym we’d have to give our 100 percent
effort and if we didn’t they would get all the loose balls and the
momentum,” Rasheed said.
Lindy La Rocque returned to Stanford’s starting lineup after
coming off the bench the previous three games for the Cardinal
because of a right foot problem that limited her minutes. She made
three 3-pointers but Stanford shot just 6 for 22 from long range.
Toni Kokenis added 11 points with two 3s for Stanford, which
recovered for a 46-42 rebounding lead.
This game was the second meeting between the schools after
Stanford beat the Tigers 95-39 at Maples on Nov. 29, 2002
The Cardinal know they will have to be sharp for 40 minutes
”It’s hustle,” Chiney Ogwumike said. ”We shouldn’t allow
other teams to run out on us. That’s our goal. Sometimes it happens
and we have to adjust. We all know we can do better.”