Sports


Ogwumike, Kokenis with career nights in Stanford's 97-80 win over Tennessee

Nnemkadi Ogwumike, as she seems to do in big games, came up big for the Stanford women's basketball team. Toni Kokenis did a pretty good job too.

Ogwumike scored a career-high 42 points and added 17 rebounds as the fourth-ranked Cardinal successfully defended its home court against sixth-ranked Tennessee, beating the Lady Vols, 97-80, Tuesday night.

"This was one of the most incredible individual performances I've ever seen on this court," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Nneka has come such a long way. This year, there's no stopping her. I said to her she was a woman with girls out there. She dominated in a way I've never seen. You can say it was a zone."

Kokenis added a career-high 26 points, including 5-of-10 from 3-point land, for Stanford, which won its 68th consecutive home contest. Chiney Ogwumike added 14 points as Stanford shot just under 54 percent from the field.

"We talked so many times with the young players about how important Maples is to us," Nneka Ogwumike said. "They defended this place like it was no other place."

Freshman Taylor Greenfield and Kokenis each hit a 3-pointer with just under six minutes remaining to play in the contest as Stanford opened a 16-point advantage at 83-67.

Tennessee took a 16-7 lead in the first seven minutes of the contest but Stanford (8-1) responded by outscoring the Lady Vols, 41-25, over the final 13 minutes of the first half to take control.

Lindy La Rocque hit a 3-pointer midway through the first half to tie the game at 20 and freshman Bonnie Samuelson nailed a long-range shot two minutes later to put the Cardinal ahead for good.

Neka Ogwumike scored more than 30 points for the third time this season. Her previous best was a 38-point outburst against Oklahoma in last season's NCAA tournament.

Ogwumike has reached double figures in scoring in all eight games she has played. She sat out the season opener at Texas with an injury.

She also scored 34 points against Xavier, 33 points against Gonzaga and at least 20 points against UC Davis, Princeton, Fresno State and Connecticut, all of which played in last year's NCAA tournament.

The performance marked Stanford's first 40-point scorer since Jayne Appel went off for a school-record 46 in a win against Iowa State in the NCAA tournament regional finals at Berkeley in March of 2009.

Stanford All-American Candice Wiggins produced a 44-point game. Ogwumike could have tied Wiggins, but a final layin attempt missed before she left the game.

Nicole Powell's career high in scoring was 37 points, but she produced one of her several career triple doubles at Maples.

Not bad company for Ogwumike, who inserted herself into the National Player of the Year picture with her effort against one of the most storied programs in history.

With Ogwumike scoring from all over the court, and younger sister Chiney also a threat inside, Kokenis took advantage with one of her best shooting performances ever.

VanDerveer has been preaching to her team all year that they can't rely solely on the Ogwumike sisters. Kokenis got the message.

Kokenis may become a footnote to history in the wake of Ogwumike's effort, but the sophomore guard may have just stamped herself as a legitimate scoring option.

The sellout crowd of 7,329 waved red "We Back Pat" rally towels in support of Hall of Fame Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt, who revealed in August she has early onset Alzheimer's.

Summitt walked onto the court a few minutes before tipoff to a rousing standing ovation.

Stanford football coach David Shaw and some of his players attended the game and men's basketball coach Johnny Dawkins sat courtside. Olympic luge medalist Brian Martin, a Gunn High grad, participated in a halftime hoop shoot.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stanford Fan
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm


What a wonderful time to be a Stanford sports fan! And our women's basketball program is not only awesome on the court, but has become one of the classiest programs ever. Great job, Tara VanDerveer!!! You have a LOT to be proud of.


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