No. 6 Stanford women beat No. 14 UCLA 75-49
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
By RICK EYMER
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Chiney Ogwumike was concerned about the possibility of losing three consecutive home games. She didn't need more motivation.
Ogwumike had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 6 Stanford past No. 14 UCLA 75-49 on Friday night in a much-needed victory that throws the Pac-12 race wide open.
The Cardinal had their 82-game home winning streak snapped by then-No. 2 Connecticut last month and California stopped Stanford's 81-game home win streak against conference opponents last Sunday.
"It was very difficult," Ogwumike said. "We love to play at Maples. After those two losses we thought we needed to play harder for each other and for the people who support us. We really didn't want to lose three straight at home."
Joslyn Tinkle added 16 points and Amber Orrange had 15 for the Cardinal (15-2, 4-1), who have won four of their last five.
Alyssia Brewer scored 14 points to lead the Bruins (14-3, 4-1), who had won six in a row. Thea Lemberger added 12 points and Atonye Nyingifa had 11.
"They outhustled us," Brewer said. "We came in feeling good but then we let them break us down."
Ogwumike made sure Stanford avoided its first three-game home losing streak in 26 years, energizing her team with her constant hustle all over the court.
"Sara James was the X-factor," Ogwumike said. "She motivated people by her play, diving for loose balls."
James made her second start of the season as Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer looked for a spark.
"We want to expand our rotation," VanDerveer said. "We want to be aggressive and that's what Sara gives us. We want to hold ourselves accountable by doing the right thing."
The Bruins were within 15-13 midway through the first half when Mikaela Ruef hit a shot that sparked a 10-0 run and gave Stanford a double-digit lead it never relinquished.
The Cardinal shot 50 percent for the game and held the Pac-12's top-scoring team to a season low in points and in shooting percentage (31.4).
"I thought we competed," VanDerveer said. "We were aggressive, tight on people and Amber broke them down off the dribble."
Stanford held a 36-24 lead at halftime.
The Cardinal opened the second half on a 13-2 run to put the game away and force a four-way tie for the conference lead heading into Sunday's game with co-leader Southern California.
"Stanford played with an edge and a sense of purpose," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "They were the aggressors the entire time. This was not the best day for the Bruins."
UCLA visits conference co-leader California on Sunday.
It has been an unusual week for the Cardinal, who were routed by UConn 61-35 on Dec. 29, then lost 67-55 at home to rival California last Sunday.
Stanford had suddenly seemed vulnerable after the Huskies and Bears took advantage of poor shooting and rebounding and a sudden lack of ability to hang onto the ball.
"You saw how our team learned from the last game," VanDerveer said. "We've won some big games and this was a big game. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves what we're capable of doing."
Stanford hasn't lost three straight home games since early January of the 1986-87 season, in VanDerveer's second season on The Farm.
Updated January 19, 2013