A tough road ahead for Stanford women hoops


By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Jeanette Pohlen became the latest member of Stanford's 1,000-point club, Chiney Ogwumike recorded her first career double-double and the third-ranked Cardinal women's basketball team kept winning despite taking a two-week break for finals.

Stanford (6-0) downed visiting Fresno State, 77-40, on Sunday to open a stretch of games that would test the mettle of the fiercest competitor.

Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer won her 799th game, the 647th at Stanford. Her 800th win could come as early as Thursday when Stanford travels to No. 24 DePaul. Afterward is No. 8 Tennessee on the road and No. 4 Xavier and No. 1 Connecticut at home.

Freshman guard Toni Kokenis made her first career start as VanDerveer looks for help at the position.

"Her ability to beat people off the dribble is something we need," VanDerveer said. "She was up against pretty quick guards. Sometimes she got going a little too fast. She got better as the game went on and calmed down. We'll have to live with some of the mistakes."

Pohlen hopes to be part of the solution as she works with Kokenis and freshman guard Sara James.

"I think what really helps me a lot is trying to help them," she said. "That makes me focused because I have to make sure I know everything so I can tell them. They are eager to learn and they listen. It's helped me grow into that leadership role."

Chiney Ogwumike had season-highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds, and is now a mere 24 career double-doubles from matching her older sister, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who added 17 points.

"We had difficulty with the Ogwumike sisters because they are physical and can score in a lot of different ways," Fresno State coach Adrian Wiggins said. "They're big but they are also fast, skilled and smart. They're a coaches' nightmare."

Sarah Boothe also had a double-double with 10 points and matching her career-high with 11 rebounds. Boothe recorded her second career double-double and the first since Jan. 8, 2209 against Washington.

Pohlen added 15 points for the Cardinal (6-0), who won their 50th consecutive home game.

Kayla Pedersen took a charge and hit her head on the court midway through the first half and left the game. VanDerveer said it didn't appear to be serious and she sat out the rest of the game as a precautionary measure.

The Bulldogs, who brought a four-game winning streak to Maples Pavilion, dominated the first 4:40 of the contest, taking a 13-9 lead.

"It took us a while but once we got going we didn't let up," said Pohlen, who now has 1,012 career points. "We went on some pretty good runs."

From the moment Fresno State had its biggest lead of the game, Stanford seemed to wake up and race past the Bulldogs.

After making five of their first six shots, the Bulldogs were 1 of 16 the rest of the half. Stanford, meanwhile, was 10 of 16 after missing four of its first seven shots. That translated into a 42-17 halftime advantage.

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