PULLMAN, Wash. – The Cougars were at the gates late and No. 3/3 Stanford was looking for a savior to drive upset-minded Washington State. Who else to turn to but national player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike, who matched her career high with 36 points while grabbing 17 rebounds as the Cardinal held off the Cougars, 77-69, Friday night in Pullman.
Ogwumike had answers each time the Cougars came close as Stanford improved to 22-1 overall and 11-0 in Pac-12 play while upping its all-time mark against the Cougars to 56-0. Washington State (12-11, 6-5 Pac-12) took a one-point lead at 55-54 with 9:05 to play, but Ogwumike immediately drew a foul and made a pair of free throws to start a 7-0 run. But the Cougars fought back again, tying the game at 61-61 with 5:34 remaining, however Ogwumike went to work inside and scored right away to re-establish the Cardinal lead. From there Stanford was able to score five straight and hold off the Cougars the rest of the way.
“Chiney is so awesome, she’s incredible. She’s a competitor and just puts her team on her back,” said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer.
Washington State got as close as four at 72-68 after a Lia Galdeira jumper and Tia Presley free throw with 1:41 to play, but their shooting touch deserted them, as the Cougars went 0-for-5 from the field and just 1-for-6 from the line the rest of the way. For the night, Galdeira led the Cougars with 21 points while Presley scored 20, making the pair the first teammates to each score 20 points in a single game against the Cardinal since Keisha Hampton and Felicia Chester achieved the feat for DePaul on Dec. 16, 2010.
Ogwumike, Taylor Greenfield and Amber Orrange combined to go 5-for-6 from the line over the final 45 seconds to seal the win.
Greenfield enjoyed a strong night, scoring 11 points while posting career highs of nine rebounds and five assists, while Orrange scored 11 points with six rebounds and three assists. Freshman Karlie Samuelson scored nine points as both she and Greenfield went 3-for-4 from behind the arc, accounting for all six of Stanford’s triples on the night.
After a slow start, it appeared as if Stanford was well on its way to having little trouble against the Cougars as a Greenfield triple made it 20-10 with 9:25 to go in the opening half. The lead remained at 10 with 4:57 left in the half but the Cardinal suddenly went cold. Washington State slowly crept closer, eventually getting to within two points on Presley’s layup 1:28 before the break. Ogwumike would hit a 14-footer just before the halftime buzzer to end Stanford’s drought of 4:57 and give the Cardinal a 28-24 lead.
Washington State would stay close with Stanford for much of the second half, until a 3-pointer from Samuelson and four straight points from Ogwumike got the Cardinal in front by nine at 50-41. But Galdeira would score eight points over Washington State’s 14-4 run that would culminate with Dawnyelle Awa’s triple that gave the Cougars their only lead of the night at 55-54.“They spread people out and put it on the floor really well. They have great quickness with their guards,” VanDerveer said, giving credit to the Cougars. “I would not take one thing away from what [Washington State] did tonight. They worked really hard, they were scrappy and had a great game.”