Ogwumike and No. 6 Stanford women beat New Mexico

RICK EYMER (Associated Press)
The Associated PressDecember 17, 2013
Ogwumike and No. 6 Stanford women beat New Mexico
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Stanford forward Erica McCall, center, is defended by New Mexico guard Sara Halasz, top left, guard Antiesha Brown (15) and forward Josie Greenwood as she looks to shoot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stanford, Calif., Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Chiney Ogwumike made the most of her playing time. She played just over half the game and was in reach of matching her career high in points.

Ogwumike scored 24 of her 32 points in the first half and No. 6 Stanford won its eighth straight, beating New Mexico 74-41 on Monday night.

''In this game I just felt it was better to rest her,'' said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, who recorded career win No. 903. ''I wanted to give others a chance to play some minutes.''

That was OK with Ogwumike, who had seven rebounds and continued her climb up the Cardinal's all-time lists in scoring and rebounding.

She became the fifth member of Stanford's 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound club with her fifth point of the game and moved into sole possession of third place on the rebounding list with 1,227, one more than her older sister Nnemkadi.

''It's just about us as a team reading the defense,'' Ogwumike said. ''If we know what they're doing, that's what counts.''

Mikaela Ruef had 10 rebounds and blocked three shots for the Cardinal (9-1), who host No. 3 Tennessee on Saturday.

Bryce Owens scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, to lead the Lobos (4-5), who fell to 2-11 against teams ranked in the top 10.

New Mexico, which ranks second in the Mountain West Conference in scoring defense and first in rebounding margin, last beat a top 10 team eight years ago.

Ogwumike scored Stanford's first 10 points and 23 of its first 25 before she was replaced by Erica McCall with 9:52 left in the first half.

''She's my mentor,'' McCall said. ''I look at everything she does and try to mimic the way she rebounds and plays defense.''

New Mexico's 6-foot-4 freshman post player Kianna Keller made her fourth start of the season and did everything she could to slow down Ogwumike.

''We tried to deny, we tried to front and we went into a zone,'' Lobos coach Yvonne Sanchez said. ''She's just that good.''

Keller is in the lineup because of season-ending injuries to three of the Lobos' front line players, including sophomore Whitney Johnson and junior Ebony Walker.

Ogwumike, who blocked four shots, was 10 of 15 from the field in the first half as Stanford took a 40-21 lead. She left the game for good with 10:30 remaining to play.

''Chiney is one of the best post players in the nation if not the best,'' Sanchez said. ''She has that curving hook shot that is almost impossible to defend and she's so strong with her dribble.''

The Lobos, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, were within 7-5 before the Cardinal went on a 20-2 run to open a 20-point lead midway through the first half.

New Mexico kept the game relatively close for the first 7 minutes of the second half by dominating the offensive boards (20-12) and getting second chance points.

Owens and Brooke Allemand hit 3-pointers to cut Stanford's lead to 16, the closest the Lobos would get the rest of the way.

Looking ahead to Tennessee, Stanford owns consecutive wins over the Lady Vols and will be looking for a third straight for the first time in a series that dates to the early 1990s.