After wrapping up its 22nd Pacific-12 regular season title, Stanford took care of No. 8-seeded Washington State, 79-60, in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament Friday in Seattle.
Conference Player and Defensive Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal (29-2, No. 4 in the nation) with 23 points and a tournament-record 21 rebounds, with 15 coming on the defensive end, while blocking four.
“The usual double-double from Chiney that we’ve come to depend on – both rebounding and scoring,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
It was the first 20-20 game in the history of the tournament, as Ogwumike passed the 20 boards USC’s Ebony Hoffman grabbed against the Cougars in 2003. The 15 defensive tied Cal’s Gennifer Brandon from last year- also with WSU on the opposition.
“So many people got into it today,” Ogwumike said, downplaying her own stats. “Sara James diving on the floor, Mikaela Ruef on the floor, Amber (Orrange) with her defensive presence. Taylor (Greenfield) had great baskets. It’s March, and it’s lose or go home.”
James, who averages five points per game, went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc for 17 points, and senior forward Joslyn Tinkle added 10 points.
Freshman guard Lia Galdeira, who said she plans to hit the weight room over the offseason, paced the Cougars (11-20) with 16 points, surpassing her average of 14.8.
After missing Thursday’s opening round game with appendicitis, head Cougars coach June Daugherty was sitting behind the bench, as her assistant and husband, Mike, ran the show, although she did come onto the floor to talk to the team in the closing minutes.
“We might be the youngest team in the country,” June Daugherty said. “We never told our team that until now, with six freshmen and two sophomores. What I loved about this group is, they continued to fight no matter the score, no matter the ranking. We’re looking forward to another three years with this group.”
The Cardinal came out of the gate with a 10-point lead that German WSU guard Ireti Amojo cut to 16-9 with a three. Stanford’s Bonnie Samuelson, however, followed her with back-to-back threes to open up a 22-9 lead with just under nine minutes left in the first. Freshman Dawnyelle Awa brought the Cougars back within 10 with three minutes until halftime, and Mariah Cooks scored to chip into single digits, 31-23, with 1:40 remaining. That was as close as WSU would get, as Amber Orrange found the bottom of the basket and Ogwumike stole the ball and layed it in at the buzzer for a 35-23 edge.
Stanford increased its advantage to 45-25 minutes into the second period, and the margin hovered around 20 until the conclusion.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools in the event, which began in 2002 and has been won by Stanford every year except two – Arizona State the inaugural year and UCLA in 2006.
While we could go on and on about the Cardinal’s accolades, Washington State made its lone NCAA tourney appearance in 1991 and its win over Arizona State Thursday was its third in the conference tourney after two last season.
Cougars senior Carly Noyes said the two wins from last year definitely gave them confidence going into this season’s tournament.