Sports

Samuelson records career high and No. 5 Stanford avoids upset

 

Sophomore Karlie Samuelson has shown a proclivity for scoring. Freshman Kaylee Johnson is showing the same kind of interest in rebounding. Together, they helped the fifth-ranked Stanford women's basketball team overcome the absence of leading scorer Lili Thompson.

Samuelson scored a career-high 23 points, Johnson grabbed 22 rebounds, two off the school record, and the Cardinal avoided another upset in beating host New Mexico, 70-65, in a nonconference game Monday night.

Sophomore Kailee Johnson, no relation to Kaylee, or Karlie for that matter, added seven rebounds. The two Johnson's combined to grab two fewer than New Mexico did as a team.

An illness benched Thompson for the night, who should be ready to go when Stanford (3-1) travels to the Rainbow Wahine Shootout in Hawaii for a game against North Carolina on Friday.

The Cardinal also has games against host Hawaii and Prairie View A&M before taking two weeks off.

There must be something about the Mountain Time Zone that agrees with Samuelson. She scored 19 points in a contest at Colorado last year, kick-starting a seven-game stretch in which she reached double figures in scoring six times, averaging 12.3 points a game and shooting 62 percent (56 percent from long range).

"I thought she played really great," VanDerveer said. "She's usually kind of our sixth player. I love her energy off the bench. You can depend on her. She started us off really well. She's a great shooter but she's a great competitor."

Samuelson was 8 of 16 from the field, 6 of 12 from 3-point land, against the winless Lobos, who nevertheless gave Stanford everything it could handle.

Amber Orrange, who finished with 18 points, hit a 30-foot jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 35 going into halftime.

"Playing these close games is really challenging for us because we have to sub in a lot," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "And just figure out different line ups. I just think the team is growing, playing these tight games, and not panicking."

Stanford led by as many as 12 points during the second half but New Mexico came all the way back and took a 65-64 lead with 46 seconds remaining. The Lobos missed two free throws and two 3-pointers the rest of the way.

Stanford, which was shooting 48 percent from the foul line at the time, was 6 of 6 in free throws the final 30 seconds for the margin of victory.

Kaylee Johnson, who has 48 rebounds over her past three games, an average of 16, joined Bonnie Samuelson and Orrange in making free throws to secure the victory.

Johnson was just as effective on the offensive boards as she was on the defensive side, grabbing 11 on each end.

She matched Mikaela Ruef for the third-best performance by a single rebounder.

Chiney Ogwumike had 24 in a 2013 game against Oregon and Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 23 in a 2010 contest against the Ducks.

In case it happens again, Chiney is the only Cardinal to record 20 or more rebounds in a game more than once. She did four times. Others include Nicole Powell, now an assistant coach at Oregon, Kayla Pedersen, Jayne Appel and pre-VanDerveer standouts Kathy Murphy and Maggie Nelson.

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