January 7, 2014
Chiney gets lots of help from her friends
Once again senior forward Chiney Ogwumike led the way as the Stanford women’s basketball team defeated visiting Oregon State 89-67 on Jan. 5.
In a performance that helped her earn her fifth Pac-12 Player of the Week honor this season, Chiney scored 31 points and recorded 13 rebounds, a team-high and career-high six assists, two blocks and three steals in 33 minutes.
Because OSU has a 6’6” center, Chiney sometimes moved out from her customary position under the basket and made several mid-range jumpers, some of them just inches from the 3-point line.
A basket that came with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half pushed Chiney’s career point total to fourth on Stanford’s all-time list, bypassing Jayne Appel, ’10, who had 2,125. Chiney now has a total of 2,143.
Lili makes big contributions
However, it wasn’t all the Chiney show. Another stellar performance came from freshman guard Lili Thompson, who poured in a career-high 19 points and matched her career high of five rebounds and five assists. Thanks to her hustle and pesky defense, she also had two steals.
Playing a team-high 37 minutes, she made three of four of her 3-point shots, included a 3 that opened Stanford’s scoring. Her performance led to a post-game TV interview by commentator and Stanford basketball alum Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, ’10.
Also in double figures was junior forward Taylor Greenfield, who came off the bench for 23 minutes to score 13 points, making two of her three 3-point shots. Redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef added 10 points and had six rebounds in her 35 minutes.
All told, the team made seven, or 70 percent, of its 10 3-point attempts. Besides Lili and Taylor, those hitting 3’s were senior guard Sara James and junior forward Bonnie Samuelson with one each.
The score was 50-30 at the half, but the scrappy Beavers made adjustments and stayed within striking distance. They scored 37 points to Stanford’s 39 in the second half, but their efforts – even with 10 3-pointers for the game – weren’t enough to overcome the first half deficit.
Stanford dominated in several statistical lines, including assists – 22-6; turnovers, 6-16; and steals, 9-3. OSU had four blocks to Stanford’s two, both by Chiney.
No official attendance figures were released, but I estimate the crowd at about 3,000. The 49er wild card playoff game in frigid Green Bay, Wis., no doubt cut into the attendance. Some fans kept track of that game, which ended in a 49er victory about an hour after the women’s game was over.
The dogs have their day
Fans who opted for live basketball over televised football were treated not only to another Stanford win but also to the annual Dog Lovers Day. This event was highlighted by the annual exhibition by dogs of several breeds and sizes from Ace Dog Sports.
Humorous dog videos were shown during breaks in the action, probably drawing attention from the Dollies, Tree and band. Although it was difficult to choose, my favorite video featured a skateboarding bulldog.
During the post-game Behind the Bench session, associate head coach Amy Tucker brought out freshman guards Briana Roberson and Karlie Samuelson to greet the fans. Because they were hesitant to introduce and talk about themselves, Amy let them skip that part and go right to questions from the audience.
“It’s great,” Karlie said about playing with elder sister Bonnie again. “I’ve forgotten what it was like playing with Bonnie. She’s my mentor.”
Because an injury had kept Briana on the bench during several games, she could hear and learn from what the coaches and players were saying. “When I get out there, I’ve tried to execute what we preach,” she said.
Bri’s parents, brother and an aunt were at the game, as was the Samuelsons’ mother. There’s one more Samuelson sister at home. “We’re hoping that she comes here, but she hasn’t decided,” Karlie said to an inquiring fan.
Tara heaps praise on team
Next to address the fans was head coach Tara VanDerveer. “This is a great weekend for us to come out of the gate,” she said, referring to the lopsided wins over Oregon and Oregon State to open Pac-12 competition. In addition, “we really took care of the ball."
“We got a lot of positives this weekend,” she said, praising players like Lili, who “had a great game today. … Lili is a baller.”
She had more praise for several other players, including Mikaela, Taylor and redshirt sophomore guard Alex Green. As for Chiney, she’s “the best player hands down in the country. … She can do it all.”
Tara also was pleased with the weekend’s scouting done by assistant coaches Kate Paye and Tempie Brown. “We study tendencies of players” in scouting, then try to keep them from doing what they do best.
“We’ve got a really, really good team” and players who support one another, Tara said.
“We’ve got really, really, really competitive practices. We’re having a great season.”
Next up for the team are two consecutive road trips to Utah on Jan. 10 and Colorado on Jan. 12, followed by the Arizona schools Jan. 17 and 20.