Orrange leads Stanford women past West VirginiaBy HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports Writer Monday, Mar 19, 2012
NORFOLK, Va. (AP)—Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer glanced at the stat sheet and gushed as she examined Amber Orrange’s solid all-around game.
“She played like a senior, forget freshman,” the Hall of Famer said.
Orrange had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead the top-seeded Cardinal to a 72-55 victory over West Virginia in the second round of the women’s NCAA tournament on Monday night.
“She was doing stuff, just under control. What, five assists? How many turnovers did she have? No turnovers, against that?” VanDerveer said, referencing West Virginia’s physical defense. “She was a player. She wasn’t a freshman. Nothing was holding her back today.”
Orrange was aggressive from the outset, scoring eight of the Cardinal’s first 12 points, and had 12 by halftime. She set career highs for points and rebounds, but said she was merely taking what she was given.
Oh, and she wanted to show the Mountaineers that she could handle their physical play, too.
“We knew coming in that they wanted to be physical, but we also wanted to make the first punch before they could hit us first, and I think we did that,” Orrange said.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 16 points and Chiney Ogwumike finished with 13 for the top-seeded Cardinal (33-1), who easily stretched their school-record winning streak to 30.
Stanford put together a 17-0 run to take a 33-12 lead, and the advantage never dipped below 16 again. Orrange responded with consecutive baskets when Nnemkadi Ogwumike went to the bench with two fouls in the middle of the game-changing run.
“I call her my little knife,” Nnemkadi Ogwumike said, laughing at herself while praising Orrange. “She slices and dices.”
Ayana Dunning led the Mountaineers (24-10) with 14 points and Asya Buassie had 11, but West Virginia shot just 31 percent.
“When they started scoring, our girls started pressing on offense,” Mountaineers coach Mike Carey said. “We started taking some shots we shouldn’t take.”
The Cardinal were leading 16-12 when Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s two free throws sparked the 17-0 blitz. West Virginia went more than six minutes without scoring and trailed 33-14 after Dunning finally broke the drought with a 15-foot jumper 5:01 before halftime.
The only bright spot for the Mountaineers during the big run occurred when Nnemkadi Ogwumike, a national player of the year contender, picked up her second foul and went to the bench. But Orrange made a jumper and a driving layup on the next two possessions for the Cardinal, who led 38-21 at halftime.
The Mountaineers’ plan to slow down the Ogwumike sisters might have been effective, guard Christal Caldwell said, had Orrange not caught them off guard.
“It made her have to be a lot more aggressive,” Caldwell said.
Ogwumike went back to the bench after drawing her third foul with 16:08 to play and the Cardinal ahead 44-26. Ogwumike’s absence slowed Stanford’s offense, but West Virginia still struggled to score. The Mountaineers missed 10 of their first 12 shots after halftime, including several open looks, and finished 4 for 18 on 3-pointers.
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, continued a trend under Carey in which they are a perfect 6-0 in first-round NCAA tournament games, but 0-6 in the second round.
In each of the last two seasons, they have been knocked out by a team featuring one of the top players in the country. Last year, it was Baylor and Brittney Griner.