No. 4 Stanford 85, Princeton 66

Niveen Rasheed and Lauren Polansky returned home to the Bay Area

for the first time with Princeton in hopes of pulling off an upset

at Maples Pavilion that no Stanford opponent has accomplished in

nearly five years.

Rasheed always wanted to play for Tara VanDerveer on The


She and her Tigers hung tough for a half, falling to a ranked

team for the third time in five games with an 85-66 loss Saturday

to the fourth-ranked Cardinal, who ran their school-record home

winning streak to 67 games.

”The great thing about recruiting is everybody finds what’s

right for them. Tara’s won a lot more games than I have so I’m

certainly not going to help her with her recruiting,” Princeton

coach Courtney Banghart said in reference to Rasheed and Polansky

landing 3,000 miles away in the Ivy League. ”This game meant a lot

to them being home.”

Nnemkadi 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 Stanford.

Her little sister, Chiney, added 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting

and nine rebounds as the Cardinal (7-1) pulled away 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 No. 6 Tennessee.

”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 Princeton (7-4), which has

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. The two-time defending Ivy League champion

is seeking a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

”I think they’re a tournament team. They played a tough

schedule,” VanDerveer said.

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 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.”

Rasheed, Princeton’s leading scorer 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 nonconference 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.

This game was the second meeting between the schools after

Stanford beat the Tigers 95-39 at Maples on Nov. 29, 2002.