Nov. 25, 2012
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STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Stanford already had the impressive national ranking and remarkable home winning streak - and, now, the No. 1 spot in the poll puts even more attention and pressure on the program.
Chiney Ogwumike had 16 points and 11 rebounds and the top-ranked Cardinal beat Long Beach State 77-41 on Sunday in their first game holding the top place in women's basketball in nearly eight years.
Joslyn Tinkle added 18 points and seven rebounds and Amber Orrange scored Stanford's first seven points of the game and finished with 13 for the Cardinal (6-0), who extended the nation's best home winning streak to 81 games at Maples Pavilion.
"I don't think it changed much for us. If anything it motivated us more," Tinkle said. "It took a lot out of us. We were at fault, we were sluggish at times. From here on out, no one's going to hand us the game, hand us the win. We're doing all we can, clawing to hold that title. Our target's growing bigger, and bigger and we want to keep it there."
Orrange also had nine assists - two shy of her career best - and grabbed seven rebounds, regularly looking to find Ogwumike in the paint. Ogwumike powered to the basket on the block to draw quick fouls on the 49ers post players.
Alex Sanchez scored 14 points but was her team's lone player in double figures as cold-shooting Long Beach State (3-4) lost its sixth in a row to the Cardinal in the series. Sanchez, who came in averaging a team-leading 14.4 points per game, shot 5 for 12.
Ogwumike crashed the offensive glass for five offensive boards as the Cardinal held a 43-32 rebounding advantage. Taylor Greenfield came off the bench for 11 points with three 3-pointers.
Stanford made 6 of its first 8 3s, two each by Tinkle and Bonnie Samuelson - and both of Samuelson's 3s came during a 21-2 run that broke the game open midway through the first half and put the Cardinal ahead 36-11. They wound up 10 for 24 from long range.
"Those are the kind of contributions we had in the Baylor game," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said of her team's upset win last weekend against the defending champion Lady Bears. "To hit perimeter shots is great. We know we have a great inside game. Joslyn likes to score. She's never met a basket she doesn't like."
The 49ers rallied from 22 points down in the second half of a 77-69 win against Utah Valley on Friday night, but were overmatched from the opening tip against the aggressive, up-tempo Cardinal.
Long Beach State faced a ranked opponent for the first time since a 51-46 upset of Southern California on Nov. 23, 2005.
"This is a great opportunity to come into Stanford, play at Maples against the No. 1 team in the nation. There's not a lot of drop off from their starters to their bench," coach Jody Wynn said. "It's not a secret. The kids understand. They follow television and Twitter. They know Stanford's win streak here. I can't hide that from them. Playing the No. 1 team in the nation is an honor."
Stanford's defense held Long Beach State to 18 total field goals in the first meeting between the schools in 19 years - since a 122-49 victory on Dec. 8, 1993, that set the Cardinal's single-game scoring record that still stands.
The Cardinal took over the top spot in The Associated Press poll Monday from Baylor after ending the Lady Bears' 42-game winning streak in the Rainbow Wahine Classic on Nov. 16 in Honolulu.
Stanford narrowly edged Connecticut for the No. 1 spot in this past week's poll, and the Huskies will visit Maples on Dec. 29.
"We need to prove it every day," VanDerveer said. "We can't be complacent."
If Stanford's unbeaten run at home remains intact, UConn will be determined to end that streak after the Cardinal snapped UConn's record 90-game winning streak with a 71-59 home victory in December 2010.
The Cardinal, ranked No. 1 for the first time since the final poll of the 2005 season, shot 54.3 percent in the first half while holding Long Beach State to 24.3 percent (8 for 33) on the way to a 49-20 lead.
The 49ers finished the day a dismal 18 for 66 (27.3 percent). They still lead the all-time series 8-7, including 7-6 in in the NCAA era.
Stanford plays next at UC Davis on Friday, then at Gonzaga on Dec. 2 before its annual two-week break for final exams.