A Stanford women's basketball player recorded a double-double during an important Pac-12 Conference victory over host UCLA on Sunday -- and it was not Chiney Ogwumike.
Ogwumike still made all the difference for the fourth-ranked Cardinal, scoring 26 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking four shots in a 68-57 victory over the 15th-ranked Bruins, who tumbled into fourth place in the rugged Pac-12, a half-game behind Washington, which plays Monday night.
The game ended a string of nine consecutive double-doubles for the National Player of the Year candidate. Never fear, though, Mikaela Ruef stepped up to record her second career double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds, for the Cardinal. She earned her first one last week in Stanford's win over Oregon.
"I don't think anyone has done more for their team (in the country) than Chiney," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Looking at her numbers she is having a spectacular year. I think the other thing is when you look at who other players are playing with, she has one senior on her team and doesn't have any other All-Americans on her team. She really is putting this team on her back and comes out every night and is so consistent."
That's hard to argue if you're not from Baylor. Ogwumike averages a double-double on the season, posting 20 of them, and leads the conference in both categories.
"I think there is a greater sense of urgency in February than there was in January," Ogwumike said. "These teams are tournament teams. I'm really excited that UCLA had a great game against us because it teaches us how to be able to win against an aggressive team that's physical and has a lot of weapons."
In 10 games against ranked teams this season, Ogwumike is averaging 21.3 points, on 53.5 percent shooting, and 11.3 rebounds.
Joslyn Tinkle, who has suddenly come alive on both ends of the court, added 10 points and nine rebounds, one board away from her third straight double-double.
It's the time of the season for the Cardinal to be hitting its stride and Ogwumike has apparently lit a fire with her senior teammates.
Stanford hosts Oregon State for an 8 p.m. conference contest Friday to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Oregon comes to town to play a 4 p.m. game Sunday.
Ogwumike, who draws the attention of everybody's game plan, still makes plays out of nowhere simply because she can anticipate so well and seems drawn to the offensive rebound.
"Overall I think we did a pretty job on her," UCLA senior forward Alyssia Brewer said. "I know she had 26 points but all of her shots were tough shots. I gotta give her credit for being able to make those shots and she does come prepared."
Brewer is the not the first player, nor coach for that matter, to say something like that. Ogwumike is just that good and a reason Stanford has won all 15 games played away from Maples Pavilion.
Stanford's offense took a few naps over the course of the game, shooting just 39.7 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc.
That didn't seem to matter, as the Cardinal found other ways to limit UCLA. Stanford held the Bruins 13 points below their season average and outrebounded them, 38-31, for its 15th straight win over the Bruins.
Stanford, which leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense, has held opponents under 70 points for 44 straight games.
The Cardinal didn't pull away until late. It held a 30-25 lead at halftime and were up five with 15 minutes remaining.
That's when Stanford opened its repetoire and went on a 16-5 run, highlighted by Bonnie Samuelson's 3-pointer that gave the Cardinal their first double-digit lead of the game at 43-32.
"We just got out in transition," VanDerveer said. "I think our team is excited about running and they were able to get out and make some easier baskets where it wasn't all just half court, wrestling baskets."
UCLA freshman Kari Korver left the game and was taken to the hospital after suffering a bloody facial laceration after colliding with Ogwumike in the second half. She will need stitches and will be out indefinitely.