Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 18 points and 13 rebounds to help No. 4 Stanford pull away from Utah for a 62-43 victory on Thursday night, its school-record 62nd straight win against a Pac-12 opponent.
“One of the biggest things with our team is we stay poised,” said Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Stanford. “We don’t panic. We just keep doing what we’re doing. They were playing us very well in the beginning. It was a bruiser type of game, with lot of physicalness, and we did a good job of pulling away.”
Chiney Ogwumike added 11 points and 14 rebounds and Toni Kokenis had 13 points for the Cardinal (14-1, 5-0).
Iwalani Rodrigues scored 16 points to lead the Utes (8-7, 1-3). Taryn Wicijowski had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The matchup pitted Utah’s top scoring defense in the Pac-12—limiting opponents to just 51.4 points per game—against Stanford’s top scoring offense in the league—81.4 points per game on a league-best 46.7 percent from the field.
The advantage belonged to the Cardinal on both ends of the floor. Stanford used two big runs to break open a close game before halftime and kept the Utes in check on offense.
Stanford held Utah to just 28 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range. The Cardinal took advantage on the other end, connecting on 43 percent of their field goals.
“We didn’t shoot the ball maybe as well as we’re capable of, but we have excellent shooters on our team and I liked how our team battled, and rebounded,” Stanford coach Trish VanDerveer said. “It’s a great team effort. This is a really good group that is unselfish and try to help each other.”
With the game tied 10-10, Nnemkadi Ogwumike gathered in the ball off a missed shot and made a jumper to spark a 19-5 run. She bookended the run with another jumper. It gave the Cardinal a commanding 29-15 lead with 2:12 left in the half.
“They were slowing it down, so we tried to push it more,” VanDerveer said. “Then we picked them up (pressed) and thought our team really responded. A lot of people really helped us.”
Stanford started strong to open the second half. Back-to-back baskets by Nnemkadi Ogwumike capped a 8-0 spurt that extended the Cardinal lead to 39-20.
Utah’s Janita Badon scored on a layup to make it 41-29 with 13:48 remaining but couldn’t get closer. Kokenis responded with a layup on the other end and it touched off a 13-2. Chiney Ogwumike finished off the spurt with a three-point play that gave Stanford a 54-31 lead with 8 minutes left in the game.
“This is the standard,” Utah coach Anthony Leverets said. “This is the bar. This is why you play. This is what you want to be around here. It’s what everybody wants to be but this is what our hope is as we grow. That we get to be that, and it takes time.”