SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The temperature was just above freezing Friday in Salt Lake City but Stanford’s hot-shooting stretch showed no signs of cooling off as the fourth-ranked Cardinal shot 57.4 percent in an 87-61 win over Utah.
The Cardinal made its first four attempts from the field and seven of its first nine, with Chiney Ogwumike and Mikaela Ruef each contributing six points to Stanford’s 17-8 game-opening run.
Ogwumike finished with 30 points and nine rebounds, going 13-for-17 from the field while Ruef grabbed a career high-tying 14 rebounds with eight points. Together, the senior pair went 17-for-26 from the field, and on the defensive end teamed up to hold Utah’s leading scorer on the year, Michelle Plouffe, to just five first-half points.
“Our team just plays really hard and does a really good job of executing,” Ruef said. “We were really keyed in on defense, and when we do that to a team, I think that frustrates them. Michelle Plouffe is a really good player, and we put Chiney on her. Chiney did a really good job taking away what she likes to do.”
Stanford shot 65.5 percent from the field in the first half, piling up 49 points and taking a 20-point advantage into halftime. The Cardinal, which had made 51 3-pointers over the past six games heading into Friday, went 6-for-9 from behind the arc in the opening half and 8-for-14 overall. In the first half, Stanford had 15 assists on 19 field goals, and for the game was paced by Amber Orrange’s six assists to go with her 14 points.
The three-ball was responsible for breaking the game open in the Cardinal’s favor midway through the first half, as Lili Thompson, Bonnie Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson and Amber Orrange hit four in succession to pace a 14-0 run that put Stanford in front 35-13 with 8:09 to go.
“Our 3-point shooting was awesome. We started finding the right combinations of people and they played hard,” said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer.
“Mikaela rebounded really well and we got different contributions,” she continued. “We have 15 very good players and they keep each other accountable. We have great leadership with our seniors, they play hard.”
The play of Ogwumike and Ruef helped bottle up Plouffe, forcing the All-Pac-12 performer into early foul trouble. With Plouffe picking up three first-half fouls, Emily Potter picked up the scoring for the Utes, finishing the night with a team-high 16 points. Plouffe would finish with 14 points while Danielle Rodriguez had 11.The Utes only got as close as 18 in the second half, trailing 59-41 with 14:12 to play. The Cardinal would snuff out any comeback hopes with nine straight points capped by Sara James’ second 3-pointer of the night to get the lead up to 27 at 68-41.