Dec. 15, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Chiney Ogwumike knew she would be replacing a pretty good player this season in her older sister, Nnemkadi. She took it upon herself to work on things that would help fill the void. So far it's been smooth sailing.
Chiney Ogwumike scored a career-high 31 points to go with 13 rebounds, and No. 1 Stanford beat Pacific 78-43 on Saturday night.
"I just enjoy playing and doing everything I can to make us look good," said Ogwumike, the younger sister of the WNBA Rookie of the Year this season. "I remember Coach always telling her to play hard and be aggressive on both ends of the court so that's what I try to do."
Ogwumike had her sixth consecutive double-double and has reached double figures in scoring in every game.
"They did a good job of doubling me initially," Ogwumike said. "But it's good to have such great teammates. They kept looking for me, not necessarily on the first or second pass but on the third and fourth passes and I just needed to finish."
Mikaela Ruef, a redshirt junior, added career bests of 13 rebounds and five assists for the Cardinal (9-0), who won their 82nd consecutive home game - the longest active streak in the nation. Joslyn Tinkle had 10 points.
"I have a lot of fun being back out there," said Ruef, who missed last season following foot surgery. "It was no fun being on the bench and I was determined not to be on the bench anymore."
Gena Johnson scored 13 to lead the Tigers (7-2), who lost their second straight after opening the season with seven consecutive wins. Kendall Kenyon added a team-high nine rebounds.
"We knew it would take our best defensive effort just to slow Chiney down," Tigers coach Lynne Roberts said. "We didn't stick to the plan but most of that is because she's just that good."
Stanford, playing its first game in 13 days, matched the third-best start in school history and could improve on that when it travels to play No. 24 South Carolina and No. 13 Tennessee next week. The Cardinal host No. 2 Connecticut in two weeks.
"You can get out of the rhythm of playing a lot of games," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "This was an important game for us to come out and play well and use a lot of different people. We're enjoying our success but we're hungry and we want to get better."
Ogwumike scored Stanford's first eight points of the second half to give the Cardinal a comfortable margin.
The Tigers pulled to 21-18 when Claire Conricode hit a 3-pointer with 8:15 left in the first half. The Cardinal responded with a 21-6 run that put Pacific in a hole from which it never recovered.
Conricode hit another 3 at the buzzer to end the drought and bring the Tigers within 42-27 at halftime.
The Tigers had no answer for Ogwumike, who was 14 of 18 from the floor and dominant in the paint on both ends of the court. She pulled down seven offensive rebounds, which led to many easy baskets and allowed Stanford to outscore Pacific 21-2 in second-chance points.
"She's a great player," said Kenyon, a 6-foot-2 sophomore. "I need to be more physical in my game. I can take that out of it."
Ogwumike was on the bench for the final 9 minutes of the game. The Cardinal held a 46-29 advantage on the boards and limited the Tigers to 28 percent shooting.
The Cardinal have won 17 of the 20 meetings between the schools. This was the first time they played in seven years.
Stanford forward Taylor Greenfield fell on her chin midway through the second half after a collision near the basket. She was checked by a pair of trainers, who appeared to be working on her neck. Greenfield walked off the court and into the locker room under her own power.