After Saturday’s win over nationally-ranked Gonzaga, Tara VanDerveer compared her team to an orchestra, calling senior forward Chiney Ogwumike the team’s concert master.
Monday night against New Mexico, Ogwumike conducted a milestone performance, scoring 32 points in Stanford’s 75-41 victory and in the process becoming the program’s eighth player to reach 2,000 career points. She also became just the fifth Cardinal player to accumulate both 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, joining older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2008-12), Jayne Appel (2006-10), Nicole Powell (2000-04) and Val Whiting (1989-93).
“Chiney did such a great job tonight. She went over 2,000 points, and she’s just such an anchor for us, calling for the ball, rebounding, scoring. She just had a great game for us,” said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer.
Ogwumike scored her 2,000th point just 1:39 into the contest, hitting a free throw to finish a three-point play and give Stanford a 5-2 lead. She would score 23 of the Cardinal’s first 25 points before coming to the bench to a nice ovation with 9:52 remaining in the half and Stanford ahead 25-7. In all, Ogwumike would play a season-low 23 minutes while also grabbing seven rebounds to bring her career haul to 1,227 and pass Nneka (1,226 rebounds) for third on Stanford’s all-time rebounding list.
Freshman Erica McCall, nicknamed “Bird” by her teammates, scored the remaining two points of Stanford’s opening 25, then added four more after replacing Ogwumike to push Stanford’s advantage to 29-8. Those six points would pair up with a season high-matching eight rebounds for the Bakersfield native, as McCall was one of nine Cardinal players to score Monday.
“I’m just really focusing on working the Stanford system, knowing the plays, how we play screens, and I think that’s what all the freshman are doing right now,” said McCall. “[Chiney]’s my mentor, so I’m definitely looking at everything she does as far as the way she gets open, the way she posts up, the way she plays defense. I’m really just trying to mimic the way she plays and how hard she works.”
Only junior point guard Amber Orrange played 30 minutes in the contest, hitting the mark right on the nose. Mikaela Ruef reached double digits in rebounds for the sixth time this season by grabbing 10 rebounds to go with three blocks and three assists. Taylor Greenfield scored eight points in her second game back from a foot injury and fellow junior Bonnie Samuelson scored also added eight points.
“We played a lot of people. We’re just trying to figure out our rotation,” VanDerveer said. “We had a lot of different people contribute. Bird came in and did a good job for us, Taylor Greenfield helped us, Alex Green did a really nice job and Mikaela got it done on the boards.”
Stanford led 40-21 at the break behind 24 points from Ogwumike. New Mexico hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions around the 13-minute mark, the second from Bryce Owens, who was the only Lobo in double figures Monday with 12 points. But Greenfield hit a triple in reply each time to keep the Cardinal ahead by 19 and thwart the Lobos from creating any momentum. After New Mexico burned a timeout following Greenfield’s second triple, Alex Green, who scored six points with three assists off the bench, hit a driving layup while being fouled and completed the three-point play to spark a 15-5 run that ballooned the Cardinal lead to 29 at 67-38.
Following a New Mexico free throw that made it 67-39, Samuelson, Kailee Johnson and Jasmine Camp would combine for eight straight points to round out the Cardinal scoring.