Ogwumike Shines in Final Game, Cardinal Beat Cougars to Finish Undefeated at Home

By: Joe Lami

Chiney Ogwumike enjoyed her final regular season game at Maples Pavilion.  As she led her team to victory over the Washington State Cougars by the final score of 84-64.  Ogwumike finished her Cardinal career with a new career high 37 points, 21 of them came in the first half.  Ogwumike also added 13 rebounds to achieve her 22nd double-double of the season.  She also achieved her 30th double figure scoring game of the year and later achieved her 13th 30-point game of the season.  She stated after the game “I really don’t care about points and statistics, all I care is that I do enough for us to win, even if I only score two points.”   She later added on her feelings of Saturday’s game “It just felt like another game.  I just care that we won, and that we are playing better basketball going into the post season.  We are growing as a team and that’s what matters.”

The Cardinal started the first half strong, getting the first five points of the game and forcing Washington State to call an early timeout.  Stanford led the entire first half, but did have struggles shooting from beyond the arc.  Stanford went 3 for 13 from three-point range in the first half with Bonnie Samuelson knocking two of them down.  Brianna Roberson drained the other.

Roberson, a freshman, had her most impressive half of her young Cardinal career.  She finished the first half with eight points, a new career high.  Roberson also added a rebound and an assist in the seven minutes that she played.  She finished the game with eight points, as she didn’t see much playing time in the second half.

The Cardinal shot the lights out from the free throw line, as they finished the first half going 14 of 15, for a 93%.

Stanford came out of the second half strong, as they went on a 10-0 run to start things up in the first 4:47.  The Cardinal defense came to play in the second half only allowing 23 points, forcing the Cougars to shoot a dreaded 28%.

Even though the Cardinal held Washington State to 64 points, three different Cougars got into double figures.  They were led by Lia Galdeira, who finished with 16 points.  Both Tia Presley and Sage Romberg finished the game with ten points each.

Amber Orrange went under the radar once again, but had one of her best performances of the year.  The Junior Point Guard finished just two points shy of her career high, scoring 20 points.  She also finished the game with eight rebounds.  “This was one of Amber’s best nights she’s ever had for us” stated head coach, Tara VanDerveer.  VanDerveer also pulled Orrange aside and congratulated her on a great performance.  The key to Orrange’s night “I was being a lot more aggressive.”

The Cardinal finish the year undefeated at home going into the Pac-12 tournament next week.  They will be ranked the first seed and will get a first round bye, and will play their first game on Friday, March 7.

Stanford Remains Unbeaten at Home

By Joe Lami

Stanford (24-2,13-1) returned to action just two days after one of their most impressive performances of the season, defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 61-35.  On Sunday, the sixth ranked Cardinal played host to the struggling Arizona Wildcats (5-20, 1-13).  Stanford defeated Arizona 74-48.

Arizona was coming into the contest with just five wins on the season, with a record of 5-19.  Only one of those wins has come in Pac-12 play.  The Wildcats started the game strong as they got the first bucket of the afternoon.  They would be able to keep up with the Cardinal for the first 5:30 of the game.  The game was tied at 11-11 before the Cardinal would take over.  Stanford would go on a ten minute 24-4 run before Arizona would hit their next field goal.  Arizona was only able to mustard up another field goal and two free throws to end the half.  Stanford was on top at the half by the score of 48-19.

Stanford would cruise to victory in the second half.  Arizona outscored the Cardinal in the second half 29-26.  However, Stanford played their reserves for most of the second half.  Chiney Ogwumike, who plays as much time as possible, only saw 22 minutes in the win, being her season low on minutes played this season.  The starter who saw the most minutes played was Amber Orrange, and she capped out at 24 minutes.

Bonnie Samuelson led the Cardinal in scoring with 17 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc.  Ogwumike finished with 15 points.  Lili Thompson and Orrange both had nine points in the game.  Orrange also had an astonishing nine assists.

Only six Wildcats played for Arizona.  Candice Warthen, Kama Griffitts and Keyahndra Cannon all played 40 minutes.  LaBrittney Jones led the team in scoring with 11 points.  She was the only Wildcat to get into double digits in scoring.

The Cardinal will finish off the road portion of their schedule next weekend as they travel to Los Angeles to take on USC on Friday and UCLA on Sunday.

Stanford Shuts Down Sun Devils

By: Joe Lami

The Stanford Cardinal (23-2,12-1) returned to Maples Pavilion on Friday night, just five days after their disappointing loss in Seattle, to Washington on Sunday.  The Cardinal made up for it with a dominating performance over the Arizona State Sun Devils (20-5,9-4) with a 61-34 victory.

The Cardinal held the Sun Devils to one of the lowest scoring totals in Pac-12 history, with Arizona escaping that mark by one point.  The Cardinal’s impressive defense started early, as they held Arizona State to without a field goal until eight minutes into the first half.  This gave Stanford 14-3 lead, following a field goal and a free throw. “They had great defensive energy early, we never got into the flow of the game” said ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne.

The dominance continued as Stanford went into halftime leading the Sun Devils 32-12.  This is the 2nd time in Pac-12 history that Stanford has held an opponent to the least amount of points scored in a first half.  Arizona State shot 17% from the field in the first half, and it didn’t get much better from the charity strike, as they went two of seven from the line.

The second half wasn’t much better for the Sun Devils, as they continued to struggle shooting 30% from the field for a total game percentage of 24%.  The Sun Devils also finished the game shooting 8% from beyond the arc, as they only hit one shot in the 12 shots attempted.  It was an overall great defensive performance for the Cardinal, especially coming off of only their second loss of the season.  “We haven’t been this excited to play defense in a long time, and I’m excited that we are again” said star Chiney Ogwumike.

The Stanford defense kept the Sun Devil players from getting into double digits, as both Promise Amukamara and Sophie Brunner led Arizona State in scoring with nine points.  The leading scorer for the Sun Devils in the first meeting between these two top 15 opponents, Quinn Dornstauder, was held to only six points.

The offense was no slouch either for the Cardinal, as they had an impressive game on that side of the ball as well.  Stanford finished the game shooting 54% from the field.  Ogwumike led all scorers with 20 points in only 27 minutes of playing time, as she sat on the bench for the final 13 minutes of the game.  The player of the year candidate also finished with 13 rebounds, all of which came in the first half.  Amber Orrange had another amazing performance, as she finished the game with 14 points, five steals, three rebounds and three assists. “Amber took it upon herself to be the engine of the train” praised head coach, Tara VanDerveer, on Orrange’s performance.

The minutes were passed around equally for one of the first times this season, as 14 different players got into the game.  Out of those 14 players that saw time, ten of them got onto the scoring sheet.

With Friday’s game being one of the best performances of the season, there was still some criticism that came out of it.  One of which was the fact that Stanford had 17 turnovers.  “We have to play better, we have to take care of the ball better” commented VanDerveer.  Another problem that has been reoccurring all season is that Stanford has been giving up way too many offensive rebounds.  That trend would continue on Friday, as Arizona State had 12 offensive boards.   Of the 12 offensive rebounds, Arizona State was able to have eight second-chance points off of them.

Both teams struggled from beyond the arc, Arizona State more so than Stanford.  The Sun Devils shots one of 12 from three.   Stanford finished scoreless, but only had four attempts.  The three-pointer was not in the game plan mentioned VanDerveer after the game.

Stanford bounced back great, as they up their record to 23-2, 12-1.  Thus almost clinching the Pac-12 regular season title.  As long as they don’t fall off of the wagon, they will get the title.  Stanford looks to make it once step closer towards the regular season title, as they host the Wildcats of Arizona.