January 6, 2012

Winning way to start the year

After beginning the inaugural Pac-12 season by sweeping the two LA teams on the road, the Stanford women’s basketball team began 2012 with an entertaining 93-70 victory over Oregon at home on Jan. 5.

Highlighting that entertainment were the seemingly impossible moves by senior forward Nneka Ogwumike. She scored 32 points, snared 15 rebounds and recorded two assists, three blocks, two steals, no turnovers and only two fouls in her team-high 33 minutes of playing time.

When they weren’t marveling at Nneka, the 3,434 fans could roar their approval for freshman forwards Bonnie Samuelson and Taylor Greenfield, who delivered six and five 3-pointers, respectively. Besides her 18 points, Bonnie had two rebounds, an assist, no turnovers and one foul in 22 minutes off the bench. Starter Taylor had a total of 17 points plus two rebounds, two assists, two steals and no turnovers or fouls in 22 minutes.

The team had a total of 14 3’s, thanks to Bonnie and Taylor plus one each from senior guard Lindy La Rocque, sophomore guard Toni Kokenis and junior forward Joslyn Tinkle.

Sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike nearly missed a double-double with 9 points and 12 rebounds to go with one assist, two blocks and two steals but had three turnovers and two fouls in 23 minutes.

Her point total of 9 was matched by Joslyn, who also had three rebounds, one assist, one foul and no steals, blocks or turnovers in 20 minutes. The only other player to score for the Cardinal was redshirt junior center Sarah Boothe, who had 2 points plus one rebound, one assist, one foul and no turnovers, steals or blocks in four minutes.

As a team, Stanford outrebounded the Ducks by only 47-40, which is less than the Cardinal’s usual standard. Stanford also had 14 fouls compared with Oregon’s seven. Hence Oregon made 14 of its points on free throws while Stanford managed only 3.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer went with the same starting lineup that she has used recently -- Nneka, Chiney, Taylor, Toni and Lindy. And even though the starters played more than one might expect in this game, all 12 available players saw action.

Besides the relatively low advantage in rebounding, another concern is that the two starting guards combined for only 6 points while those coming off the bench had none. Toni has usually been one of the top scorers along with Nneka and Chiney.

On the other hand, Toni led the team with eight assists with only one turnover and added a block and a steal, while Lindy had three assists and one turnover. Freshman guard Amber Orrange had five assists, three rebounds and one turnover off the bench. As a team, the Cardinal had 24 assists to Oregon’s eight, and only seven turnovers to Oregon’s 11. It also led 6-1 in blocks and 7-3 in steals

Moreover, the team extended its home winning streak to 70 and its conference winning streak to 60. Nneka is only three rebounds and 33 points away from joining the Cardinal’s prestigious 1,000/2,000 club. It won’t take her long to get there.

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