No. 4 Stanford women survive, beat Oregon St 67-60By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Jan 7, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. (AP)—Tara VanDerveer called her team casual, with an early defensive performance that lacked intensity. Yet again, the Hall of Fame coach praised Stanford’s star Ogwumike sisters for carrying the load.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 33 points and 16 rebounds to go over both 2,000 points and 1,000 boards for her career, and No. 4 Stanford rallied from a rare halftime deficit to beat Oregon State 67-60 on Saturday and preserve a 71-game home winning streak.
“I think this is a wakeup call for our team,” VanDerveer said. “Our team needs to get the memo that teams are going to be aggressive. People want a banner like we have a couple of them.”
Chiney Ogwumike added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the cold-shooting Cardinal (13-1, 4-0 Pac-12), scoring 10 of her points during a 12-4 spurt to open the second half of one of their hardest-fought conference games in recent memory.
Ali Gibson scored 16 points for scrappy Oregon State (10-5, 1-3), which hung tough on both ends of the floor the entire way and gave Stanford one of its biggest challenges since a 68-58 loss at No. 2 Connecticut on Nov. 21. It hardly mattered the Beavers own an 0-26 record on the Cardinal’s home floor and have now dropped 24 straight in the series Stanford leads 48-6 overall.
Earlysia Marchbanks tied the game with 11:39 left and Mollee Schwegler’s jumper the next time down put the Beavers ahead with 10:51 remaining. Lindy La Rocque answered with a 3-pointer for Stanford with 9:57 to go and Toni Kokenis made a driving layin at 9:38 for a 51-46 lead, then Stanford widened the gap on the way to its 10th straight victory since the loss at UConn.
At halftime, Oregon State certainly appeared poised for one of the biggest upsets of the season. The Beavers aggressively drove to the basket for easy points and made 15 of 23 first-half shots for 65.2 percent—their best for a half all season—to the struggling Cardinal’s 36.4 (12 for 33). Oregon State hadn’t shot better than 36.8 overall its previous three games.
One male fan in the Stanford section yelled, “What team is this?” during a timeout with 15:59 left and the game tied at 37. There were also cries to “Defend Maples!”
Nneka Ogwumike shot 11 for 29 and became the seventh 2,000-point scorer for Stanford and fifth player in Cardinal history with 1,000 rebounds, joining Kayla Pedersen, (1,266), Jayne Appel (1,263), Nicole Powell (1,143) and Val Whiting (1,134).
Ogwumike became the fourth player in school history to reach 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds—and the first to accomplish both marks in the same game. Appel, Powell and Whiting also have 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
“That’s a very great accomplishment and I wouldn’t be able to do that without my team,” Ogwumike said.
The Ogwumike sisters scored 24 of their team’s first 30 points in the second half and their combined total of 53 points was seven shy of Oregon State’s final number. Four other Stanford players combine for the remaining 14 points.
“I can’t say I was really excited about how we played but I was excited about how Nneka and Chiney battled,” said VanDerveer, whose 11-time reigning Pac-10 champion Cardinal are favored to capture the inaugural Pac-12 crown.
Gibson, Oregon State’s freshman leading scorer and a product of nearby Stockton who averaged 13.3 points coming in, made 6 of 8 first-half field goals to help the Beavers build a 35-31 halftime lead. It marking only the third time all season Stanford trailed at the break—at UConn and home against Gonzaga on Nov. 13.
“At halftime, we were feeling it, `We can actually do this, we can pull it off,”’ Gibson said. “To the 6- or 7-minute mark we were feeling good about it.”
Nneka Ogwumike posted her fifth 30-point performance of the season and second in three days. She had 32 points and 14 rebounds in a 93-70 win against Oregon on Thursday, though VanDerveer said afterward, “I wouldn’t say that’s her `A’ game either.”
She changed her tune Saturday, noting: “I revisited that, Thursday looked like an A to me. I was being a little bit picky.”
On Saturday, Nneka Ogwumike scored Stanford’s first eight points on 3-for-8 shooting—taking all but two of the Cardinal’s initial 10 shots. But Oregon State managed only five shots in the opening 8 minutes against Stanford’s stingy man defense.
After the Beavers took an 8-6 lead on Gibson’s 3-pointer at the 16:17 mark of the first half, Stanford answered with a 10-0 run to go ahead but the scrappy Beavers hung tough for a 35-31 halftime lead.
Stanford, which has reached the last four Final Fours, won its 61st straight against conference opponents. The Cardinal’s home winning streak ranks second-longest streak in NCAA Division I women’s history.
It didn’t seem like a good sign when Oregon State point guard Sage Indendi set up for the opening tip against Nneka Ogwumike and didn’t even make an attempt to jump for the ball.
Yet Stanford hardly looked in top form again. The Cardinal set a single-game school record with 42 3-point attempts against Oregon but made only 14 of them.
Kokenis and La Rocque combined to go 2 for 17 from the field in that game— Stanford went 38 for 81 for 46.9 percent—and VanDerveer said afterward she would choose to go with players who can knock down their shots, and called on her team to put in the extra time.
The Beavers, who won only two conference games last season and fell 73-56 at California on Thursday, lost for the fourth time in five games after starting 9-1 under second-year coach Scott Rueck.
“What a great game. Stanford is who they are,” Rueck said. “They finished this game the way champions finish games.”