February 28, 2014

‘Beat us twice? No way,’ Cardinal say

That’s right. There was no way the Stanford women’s basketball team would allow the Washington Huskies a second chance to defeat the No. 5 team in the country and the No. 1 team in the Pac-12.

The Huskies had pulled off an 87-82 victory in hosting the Cardinal three weeks ago in Seattle. However, Stanford turned the tables with an 83-60 win Feb. 27 at home, where 2014 had already been added to the Pac-12 list on the championship banner

Washington was a bit short-handed with only nine players in uniform, while all 15 Stanford players were available for action. The starting lineup featured senior forward Chiney Ogwumike, redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef, junior forward Bonnie Samuelson, freshman guard Lili Thompson and junior guard Amber Orrange.

Starters contribute 71 points

By the end of the game, they had tallied 71 points, led by Chiney with 32 to go with 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal in 32 minutes. Bonnie was next with 14 points, one rebound and one assist in 23 minutes.

Lili chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes. Also finishing in double figures was Amber, who had 10 points plus five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 31 minutes. Mikaela made her biggest contribution under the boards with a game-high 14 of the team’s 50 rebounds. She also had 4 points, five assists and one steal in 28 minutes.

The team shot 47.1 percent for the game and made nine of 24, or 37.5 percent, of its 3-point shots. Bonnie led the way from behind the arc with four, while Lili had three. Amber and freshman guard Karlie Samuelson each had one.

Free-throw shooting was less than stellar with 10 of 17, or 58.8 percent.

Stanford started out strong, jumped to a 13-2 lead at the 15:52 point of the first half and never looked back. The first half ended 45-32.

Bonnie’s 3’s start second half

Bonnie got the second half off to a good start with two consecutive 3’s, plus one by Lili in the first 2 minutes. The lead swelled to as much as 30 points with under 7 minutes to go in the second half. Shortly after that, the starters were done for the night, leaving the rest of the game to their teammates.

Although the women’s basketball team was the night’s central focus, some other members of the Stanford family received accolades. During one timeout in the first half, the wrestling team took a bow. Sporting the university’s best-ever 17 wins, the team will host the Pac-12 tournament starting March 2.

Next up was women’s gymnastic coach Kristen Smyth, who had just earned her 200th win at Stanford. While she, her son and daughter were cheered at center court, several members of her team were in the bleachers, where they lined up and lifted their shirts to spell out “200 wins” one red letter at a time on their bare midriffs.

Nneka cheers from sidelines

When the roving camera focused on Chiney’s older sister, Nneka, ’12, in the family section, the crowd again erupted in cheers. Nneka was there with their parents and two younger sisters. After the game, Nneka interviewed Chiney for the Pac-12 Network, but before it was over, Chiney turned the tables and interviewed Nneka, who was seeing Chiney play in person for the first time this season after returning from playing in China.

In honor of Black History Month, three women from Stanford’s Sigma Gamma Rho sorority performed during halftime, followed by a group of youngsters from Destiny Arts Center of Oakland.

The Stanford Women’s Community Center was featured with a video and two representatives during the second half.

Senior Night is March 1, when Stanford plays Washington State to wrap up the regular season. Fans are hopeful that this won’t be the last time to see Chiney, Mikaela, guard Sara James and medically retired guard Toni Kokenis at Maples because Stanford hosts an NCAA regional tournament March 30 and April 1.

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