January 20, 2012

Cougars get snowed under

The Washington State Cougars escaped being snowed in by the storms pounding the Pacific Northwest, but they couldn’t escape being snowed under by the Stanford women’s basketball team. The Cardinal prevailed 75-41 on the slightly rainy (the first rain in weeks) evening of Jan. 19 at Maples Pavilion.

This game featured the home debut of the revised starting lineup that head coach Tara VanDerveer had initiated on the team’s first-ever Pac-12 visit to the Mountain Time schools, Utah and Colorado, the prior week..

The combination of senior forward Nneka Ogwumike, junior forward Joslyn Tinkle, sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike, sophomore guard Toni Kokenis and freshman guard Amber Orrange helped to bring two victories home, so the five got the nod again against WSU. Still, Stanford the team started slowly, trailing for much of the first half until finally grabbing the lead with about 5 ½ minutes to go and never looking back.

The first half ended 31-20 after Joslyn stole the ball and got it to Toni for a successful layup with just 1 second to go.

Part of the dominance can be explained by defense, which didn’t allow any WSU player to score more than 7 points. For the game, Stanford had 12 steals to WSU’s four and 19 assists to WSU’s eight.

All 12 available players got into the game, and all contributed in some way. Nneka led all scorers with 22 points as well as 10 rebounds and three steals in 29 minutes. Chiney was close behind with 19 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and one block in 24 minutes. Joslyn chipped in with 9 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and three steals in 24 minutes.

With official attendance at 3,186, the game was marked by the first appearance of the Stanford cheerleaders. Also adding spark to the evening were the band, the Tree and the Dollies.

The Dollies also were part of a halftime competition among three Stanford dance groups to determine which would perform at the final home game Feb. 29. The crowd gave its loudest cheers to the Stanford Steppers, a group of men and women who stamp and clap. Also competing was a women’s group, Catch A Fiyah.

One timeout during the first half was highlighted by the introduction of the wrestling team, whose players tossed T-shirts to the fans.

The fans got a chance to do more catching at the end of the game as the victory balls went flying for the 72nd consecutive time at Maples.

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