No. 6/4t Stanford got points from 11 of the 13 players that saw action Saturday as the Cardinal’s balance overwhelmed Gonzaga in a 73-45 win at Maples Pavilion.
Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal (8-1) with 19 points while freshman forward Kailee Johnson recorded season highs with 11 points and eight rebounds. Amber Orrange was also in double figures with 10 points, while on the boards Stanford held a 46-36 advantage as Ogwumike and freshman Erica McCall each grabbed seven rebounds.
“Our team showed a little rustiness but we got right after it. We had a lot of different people contributing, and some great energy coming off the bench,” said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer, who won her 902nd career game. She was honored following the game for becoming the fifth women’s basketball coach to reach 900 career wins back on Nov. 27 in Puerto Vallarta.
With a balanced half of its scoresheet, the Cardinal focused on throwing the Gonzaga half of things into disarray. The Cardinal defense held the Zags to 34.4-percent shooting (21-for-61) from the field and zero 3-pointers made out of 14 attempts. It was the first time the Cardinal held a team without a triple since Jan. 18 of last season, when UCLA was held without a 3-point field goal.
Stanford pulled away early Saturday, going on a 12-0 run out of the first media timeout of the game to turn a slim 9-8 lead into a comfortable 21-8 advantage with 11:22 to play in the half. Ogwumike scored eight of the Cardinal’s first 13 points and Johnson added the last five points of the pivotal 12-0 run.
“It’s been a big transition from high school but my teammates and my coaches have really helped me,” Johnson said about her growth this season. “My older teammates have been super helpful, especially for me and Erica [McCall].”
“Kailee had a great game. She got on the [offensive] boards, she hit her outside shot and was running the floor for us. She’s a young player and I thought she really stepped up big for us,” VanDerveer said about the rookie forward.
Sunny Greinacher tried to get the Zags back into the contest, scoring six points over the next five minutes to pull her team to within eight at 25-17, but the Cardinal responded with an 8-2 run fueled by five points from Amber Orrange to take a 33-19 halftime lead.
Greinacher would be the only Gonzaga player to reach double figures Saturday, scoring 18 points to go with six rebounds. Kiara Kudron scored nine points on 4-for-4 shooting off the bench, while Gonzaga’s leading scorer entering the contest, Haiden Palmer, was held to just five points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Ogwumike sparked the Cardinal in the second half with a three-point play that put Stanford in front 41-25 with 16:32 to go, its largest lead in the contest. The Cardinal would then go on a 23-10 run that featured points from Orrange, McCall, Ogwumike, Johnson and Taylor Greenfield, who made her first appearance of the season after missing the first eight games with a foot injury, to stretch the lead to 28 at 63-35 with 7:32 to play.“It’s great to have different contributions,” VanDerveer stated. “I use the analogy of an orchestra with our team. [Chiney] is our concert master right here, Amber is on the drums, keeping a beat for us, but everyone is going to have a solo on different nights. Erica McCall played really well for us [today] so we really did have a lot of contributions, which I’m excited about.”