Uploaded: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 3:57 PM
Stanford women's basketball needs more than just Chiney
Relying too much on Ogwumike not necessarily good for the long run
|By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Sorry Chiney, you're just involved in Stanford's offense way too much. It's time for your teammates to contribute a little more.
That's what Cardinal women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer suggested about All-American Chiney Ogwumike as No. 6 Stanford (5-1 in the Pac-12, 16-2 overall) prepares for home games against Utah (1-5, 10-7) Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 20 Colorado (4-2, 15-2) at 4 p.m. Sunday.
"In some ways we're trying to not get her more shots," VanDerveer said. "We want people to look for her when she's open and get her the ball more, but we are so Chiney-centric already that we're really looking for other people to help us. We don't want to just be all about Chiney."
Ogwumike was named as a midseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award, it was announced Tuesday. She ranks seventh in the country in scoring (21.4 ppg), rebounding (11.6 rpg) and field-goal percentage (58.3 percent). She's the only player among the national top 10 in all three categories.
Her scoring average also tops the Pac-12 while she sits second in both rebounding and field-goal percentage and third with an 85.7 free-throw percentage.
Ogwumike was a big factor in Stanford's 75-66 victory over visiting USC on Sunday. She scored 29 points, 23 in the second half, and grabbed 16 rebounds. The Cardinal beat UCLA, 75-49, on Friday night.
"We do want to look for her more when she's open," VanDerveer said. "But we're not going to run more things for her."
Meanwhile, it's another big weekend for Stanford as the Utes and Buffaloes each present unique problems.
"They're a lot better than their Pac-12 record indicates," VanDerveer said about Utah. "They're very physical, they have big Canadian kids, (Michelle) Plouffe and (Taryn) Wicijowski, and they have an excellent point guard with (Iwalani) Rodrigues."
With co-leader No. 7 California (5-1, 15-2) playing the same schedule, the Cardinal cannot afford to slip if it has designs on a 13th consecutive conference title.
Colorado has been one of the big surprises in the conference, thanks in large part to freshman Arielle Roberson, whose older brother plays for the Buffaloes men's team.
Colorado over took Stanford as the conference's best defensive team and is fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring. Utah is third in scoring defense.
"They are extremely aggressive," VanDerveer said of the Buffaloes. "They are a very quick, very athletic team, and they have an excellent freshman with Roberson."
Roberson leads the team with a 13.6 scoring average. Chucky Jeffrey scores at a 13.5 clip and is fifth in the Pac-12 with 8.4 rebounds a game.
"Both teams are really good," VanDerveer said. "Obviously they've played each other and Colorado beat Utah twice. They're different in that Colorado is maybe more athletic, quicker, whereas Utah is bigger. Both teams are very physical."
Meanwhile Stanford continues to get healthier. Joslyn Tinkle and Toni Kokenis missed practice earlier this week due to nagging injuries. Tinkle has a sore ankle and Kokenis has a brace to protect her right thumb. Redshirt freshman Alex Green is getting closer after missing last year with a torn Achilles' tendon.
The Cardinal has been without its top recruit Aly Beebe all season. Beebe, the nation's No. 13-ranked recruit, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in May.
"I showed our team the Pac-12 statistics when we're working on being more aggressive," VanDerveer said. "We're 12th in the Pac-12 in steals, we're 11th I think in o-boards. We're living a lot on what Chiney does and we need some people to carry more of a load."
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