PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – No. 6/5 Stanford shot a season-best 61.7 percent from the field and five players scored in double digits to pace the Cardinal to an 86-69 victory over No. 16/22 Purdue at the Hardwood Tournament For Hope in Puerto Vallarta.
Senior Chiney Ogwumike led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds, Sara James and Amber Orrange scored 12 points apiece, Lili Thompson scored 11 and Mikaela Ruef added 10. Freshman forward Erica McCall very nearly joined the group scoring a season-high nine points to go with eight rebounds, another season-best for the Bakersfield native.
“That was our best balanced performance of the year. It was great to see a lot of different people contributing,” said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer, who won her 899th career game. “We had all five starters in double figures and Bird (Erica McCall) right there. We shot a great percentage, did much better from the free-throw line, and we had a lot of different people step up, which I was excited about.”
The Cardinal overcame early foul trouble which sent Ogwumike to the bench early in the first half. Ogwumike played just nine minutes of the half, but came back strong in the second, scoring 17 points to help the Cardinal pull away.
In her stead, it was the leadership of Ruef, Orrange and James as well as the aggressive play of the trio of freshmen that carried the Cardinal to a 40-35 halftime lead.
“This was a big momentum game because a lot of people made big contributions, like Sara James and The Bird [Erica McCall],” Ogwumike said. “So I think that we can build off the things we had today and get better from it. Our aggressiveness, especially in the second half, overcoming the foul trouble helped us separate and win.”
Ogwumike hit a jumper to put the Cardinal up 21-12 with 10:25 to go in the first half, but picked up her second foul 59 seconds later and would sit through halftime. Orrange, McCall, James, Thompson and Ruef would all score over the next five minutes to keep the Boilermakers at bay until Bridget Perry scored five straight points to pull the Boilermakers to within three at 38-35 2:09 before the break. The Cardinal would pull back a pair a Kailee Johnson’s jumper rattled in with 25 seconds to go.
Purdue, however, would reel off the first five points of the second half to pull even at 40-40. Courtney Moses scored the first bucket and KK Houser, who would lead the Boilermakers with 20 points in the contest, hit a triple to tie it up with 17:54 to go.
Thompson would lift the Cardinal right away, hitting a triple of her own the next trip down, sparking a 7-0 run capped by buckets from Ogwumike and Orrange.
The Cardinal lead got all the way to 12 at 66-54 with 8:33 to play but Purdue would cut it to seven at 66-59 on five straight points capped by Courtney Moses’ 3-pointer with 7:22 remaining. The Cardinal, though, responded with a 13-5 run that stretched the lead to 15 at 79-64 over the next 4:23.The Boilermakers could not recover from the final Cardinal run. The Stanford defense gave Purdue fits inside, forcing the Boilermakers to the outside where they went 4-for-23 from behind the arc and shot just 36.5 percent for the contest. The Cardinal also blocked six shots and matched its season high with nine steals.