By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Andrew Zimmerman sports a gruesome, backwoods, high-country type beard these days. Stanford men's basketball coach Johnny Dawkins is allowing him to keep it for the time being.
"He's the only one I will allow to wear a beard," Dawkins said after watching his team beat visiting Central Arkansas, 91-52, in the season opener on Friday night. "He has that Grizzly Adams look and that's indicative of the way he plays. You won't see show up on the stats sheet, but he works hard."
Zimmerman and fellow seniors Josh Owens, Jarrett Mann and Jack Trotter represent where Stanford started when Dawkins first took over and where they are now. It's a completely new look.
Even with the seniors Stanford remains a young team. Sophomores Aaron Bright and Dwight Powell and freshman Chasson Randle are expected to start the bulk of the Cardinal games this season. Powell was out with an ankle sprain he suffered in practice on Wednesday, and Mann took his place in the starting lineup.
Bright doesn't see himself as a shooter. When the opportunity presents itself, though, he won't hesitate to let it fly.
Bright scored 16 points, one of five players to reach double figures, and he did so with a 4-of-5 performance from 3-point range.
"The shots were dropping but I don't see that as my role," Bright said. "I may have been the leading scorer tonight but somebody else will lead the way next time. It just happened that the opportunity presented itself."
Randle scored 15 points in his first official collegiate action and looked comfortable in his role as the co-point guard.
"I'm not satisfied but I'm pleased," Randle said. "Defensively I could have been better; I could have stayed focused a little bit better."
Randle and Bright were both recruited as point guards and must now learn how to share the role. It seems to be working.
"I think it's working out great," Bright said. "I hope we can keep it going and keep picking up W's."
Randle said his experience in Spain with the rest of the team helped him to develop a relationship.
"I've been playing with these guys for a while now," Randle said. "The Spain trip really helped."
Sophomore Anthony Brown and Owens each added 13 points and Gabe Harris had 12 for the Cardinal, who won their 22nd of the last 24 season openers.
"Jeremy Green led our team in scoring most of the time last year," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We knew coming in we would have to score by committee. We changed our offense a little bit and guys are getting comfortable in it."
Green left school early and declared for the NBA draft. He was not selected and has yet to be signed.
Dawkins said he doesn't see Powell missing too much time and he could be available as early as Monday when the Cardinal plays visiting Fresno State in the NIT Tipoff at 8 p.m.
Stanford took an early lead and never let up against the Bears, who were limited to just under 21 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
"I was pleased with our effort," Dawkins said. "We defended well, especially in the first half. That was as good as we've defended since I've been here."
The Cardinal shot just over 54 percent for the game and outrebounded Central Arkansas by a 49-24 margin.
Chiney Ogwumike scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the second half, leading fifth-ranked Stanford to a 70-59 victory over host No. 24 Texas in the season opener for both teams.
Chiney's older sister, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, a preseason All-American forward, was held out of the game with an unspecified upper body injury, leaving Chiney to carry the load on the same court where the Houston-area natives won a pair of state Texas state high school championships.
Nnemkadi was on the bench to cheer for her team but was not in uniform. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, would not detail the injury but said her star player could return to the court in time for Stanford's next game Sunday at 2 p.m. against visiting Gonzaga.
"I think it would have been nice to play with her on this court ... We have a great history here," Chiney Ogwumike said. "It was a great mental check for me. Our motto is do whatever it takes."
Chiney Ogwumike also recorded 14 rebounds, 10 off the offensive glass, to record the double-double.
Joslyn Tinkle and freshman Amber Orrange each contributed 14 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Toni Kokenis added 10 points and a team-high four assists.
Texas trimmed the lead to 53-48 before Kokenis made her second 3-pointer of the second half, Chiney Ogwumike had a putback and Orrange finished a block and steal from Cassie Peoples to coast in for an easy layup that put Stanford up 61-50 with just under 8 minutes to play.
"I think this was an excellent test for our team," VanDerveer said. "They gave us a great battle."
Stanford led at halftime, 35-30. The Cardinal limited Texas to 1-of-11 from the 3-point line and 34 percent from the field overall.