Sports

Stanford women end first half of conference play unbeaten

Chiney Ogwumike was being nice but just under the surface the even-keeled All-American seemed to have sent a message to her own team.

Ogwumike scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds and the fourth-ranked Cardinal beat visiting California, 70-64, in a Pac-12 women's basketball contest that was closer than it should have been.

Freshman Karlie Samuelson added 14 points for Stanford (9-0, 20-1), which won its 19th straight and completed the first half of the conference season with a two-game lead over second-place USC.

The second half of the Pac-12 opens with a rematch with the Bears (6-3, 14-6) on Sunday in Berkeley at 1 p.m. , a game that will be televised on ESPN2.

"We have to play 40 minutes of Stanford basketball," Ogwumike said. "We can't let down like we did. We play them again on Sunday and we will be motivated."

Stanford's Taylor Greenfield added 10 points and Mikaela Ruef matched Ogwumike with 12 rebounds.

Greenfield hit a 3-pointer with 13:35 remaining to play in the game, giving Stanford a 59-29 advantage. That's when the Cardinal seemed to fall asleep.

The Bears went into playground ball mode, with Brittany Boyd the instigator, and all but erased the 30-point deficit.

While Cal was running wild, taking gambles that paid off, Stanford stood there and let it happen.

"We're going to get their best effort," Ogwumike said. "We play them the most. They know how we like to play and it's a rivalry. It was a great defensive effort by both teams, by us in the first half and by them in the second half."

After building its 30-point edge, Stanford missed six consecutive field goal attempt and turned the ball over during a six-minute period as Cal sliced into its deficit like Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas dove into her hot dogs at last year's Nathan's Famous eating contest.

Stanford committed 11 fouls during a 10-minute stretch of Cal's comeback, just the kind of thing that drives coaches into early retirement and a sure sign of a defense standing around.

"Defense is always a collaborative effort," Ogwumike said. "I'm proud of our team for sticking with it."

Stanford has won 54 of its last 61 games against the Bears, though Cal beat the Cardinal in Maples Pavilion in their last meeting.

Ogwumike has 2,335 points, third on Stanford's all-time list, 156 shy of matching her older sister, Nnemkadi Ogwumike for second place. Her rebounding mark of 1,376 extends her school and Pac-12 record.

Stanford scored 27 points in the second half, its fewest of any half since being held to 26 in the first half of the Connecticut game.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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