STANFORD, Calif. (AP)—Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s final home game ended just like every other game the Stanford star has played in at Maples Pavilion over the past four years—with a win.
Now her focus is on getting the second-ranked Cardinal deep into the postseason again.
Ogwumike had 19 points and 11 rebounds for her 47th career double-double as Stanford beat Seattle 76-52 Wednesday night for its 79th straight home victory.
“To not lose on this court is really, really special,” Ogwumike said. “It’s not something that anybody can say every day. It’s bittersweet but I’m also really motivated for these next games that we have. It’s kind of a new beginning for us.”
Ogwumike, whose arrival in Stanford came shortly after the school’s unbeaten streak started at Maples Pavilion, was almost flawless in her last appearance at home.
The senior went 8 of 11 from the floor and scored on a three-point play to give the Cardinal its largest lead of the night at 70-41 before checking out with five minutes remaining. The double-double was Ogwumike’s 15th this season.
“Nneka’s just been a tremendous leader for our team all year long and she did it tonight,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “Tonight’s not an easy situation. Seattle comes in with nothing to lose and they played very hard and very well.”
The Cardinal (27-1) never trailed but had to overcome a sluggish start when the Redhawks repeatedly beat them to loose balls and were within three points late in the first half.
Chiney Ogwumike added 18 points, including 10 in the second half, while freshman point guard Amber Orrange had 10 points and a season-high nine assists for Stanford.
“The Ogwumike’s … they’re the real deal,” Seattle coach Joan Bonvicini said. “They’re fun to watch. Not necessarily fun to play against but they play the right way.”
Talisa Rhea had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Seattle (17-10), which shot just 25 percent in the second half in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
The win extended Stanford’s overall streak to 24 games heading into Sunday’s Pac-12 finale at California. The Cardinal have already secured their 12th straight conference championship.
Orrange, who started the season coming off the bench before VanDerveer inserted the freshman into the starting lineup in mid-January, has been just as big for Stanford down the stretch as the Ogwumike sisters, all three of whom grew up in Texas. She took only six shots but kept the Cardinal’s offense running and added five defensive rebounds.
“I’m very excited about how well Amber’s playing,” VanDerveer said. “She came out and really got going. She’s really fortunate she has her Houston-area buddies to pass to. How lucky is that?”
Rhea provided the biggest lift for Seattle, which went into the night on a five-game winning streak but couldn’t capitalize on its fast start and faded in the second half.
The Redhawks, who are in their final year of transitioning to Division I, didn’t seem bothered by playing in Maples Pavilion where the second-ranked Cardinal haven’t lost since 2007. Seattle made seven of its first 10 shots, survived a 14-2 run by Stanford and trailed by just six with 3 1/2 minutes to play in the first half.
More surprisingly, Seattle outhustled the home team and scored forced Stanford into eight turnovers before halftime.
Elle Kerfoot and Sylvia Shephard made consecutive 3-pointers and Ashley Ward scored on a fastbreak layup to pull the Redhawks to 35-29 before the Cardinal scored the final eight points of the half.
Orrange keyed the charge with a 15-foot jumper and a layup that gave Stanford a 43-29 halftime lead.
The Ogwumike sisters took over in the second half. Nnemkadi Ogwumike had five points and Chiney Ogwumike scored six straight as part of a 14-5 to push the Cardinal lead to 59-36.
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