Sports

Ogwumike's double-double helps keep Stanford atop Pac-12

 

Chiney Ogwumike continues to dazzle and it seems her teammates are working hard to help ease the pressure off her, even without the long-range threat.

Ogwumike scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, her 13th double-double of the season, and three others reached double figures in scoring as the fourth-ranked Stanford women's basketball team downed host No. 14 Arizona State, 80-56, Monday in Tempe, Ariz.

"I think we like playing on the road," Ogwumike said. "We like adversity. It's an opportunity for us to dig deep and play. I think our No. 1 strength in Stanford women's basketball is our team chemistry, so I think being in an adverse situation really tests our team chemistry, and we always rise from that."

Taylor Greenfield contributed 14 points and a pair of momentum-building assists that helped wake up the Cardinal after a slow start. Freshmen Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson each added 11 points.

Samuelson reached double-digits for the third consecutive contest, while Thompson went back-to-back for the second time this year. Ogwumike also blocked three shots.

Stanford (6-0, 17-1) has an interesting three-game homestand coming up, beginning Friday with UCLA's visit to Maples Pavilion at 8 p.m. Second-place USC comes to town for a 6 p.m. game next Monday.

No. 19 California also arrives during the homestand, the first of back-to-back games between the two Bay Area rivals.

Ogwumike recorded her seventh 30-plus game of her past nine, and ninth of the season, a school record. She has 2,261 points, third all-time and 230 behind older sister, Nnemkadi, for second.

"She's a great player," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She's a great competitor. She's extremely intelligent. She plays really hard. She's a fabulous leader of our team, and I can be hard on her. I don't sugar-coat things for her. She's not sensitive. She wants to know what she needs to do better."

At her current rate, the younger Ogwumike would over take her sister by the middle of the February. Stanford is guaranteed at least 14 more games, with the possibility of eight after that.

Every time Ogwumike grabs a rebound, she is extending her own Pac-12 all-time record. She's setting the pace with 1,337.

"She's just really smart," Arizona State freshman Sophie Brunner said of Ogwumike. "You take one thing away, she goes to the next. You take that away; she goes to the next thing. She's just really physical. It was a good test but she's the real deal."

Stanford scored at least 80 points for the seventh straight game and for the 12th time on the season. The Cardinal also held its 10th opponent to fewer than 60 points.

Arizona State gave Stanford everything it could handle, holding onto a lead well over five minutes into the contest.

Mikaela Ruef, who led the team with five assists, hit consecutive layups to spark an 11-0 run for the Cardinal.

Stanford held the Sun Devils scoreless for nearly five points during the rally. Arizona State missed eight straight shots.

The Sun Devils managed to close within 28-24 with just over two minutes left in the first half before the Cardinal outscored Arizona State, 7-4, the rest of the half and then scored the first nine points of the second half.

Stanford led at halftime, 35-28.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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