Ogwumike leads No. 6 Stanford women past USC
(AP Photo/George Nikitin)
By RICK EYMER
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) After a sluggish first half, Chiney Ogwumike took over.
Ogwumike scored 23 of her 29 points in the second half and added 16 rebounds to help No. 6 Stanford beat Southern California 75-66 on Sunday night.
She was limited to six shots, making two, in the first half.
"I think they were extremely physical in the first half with a lot of big bodies in there," Ogwumike said. "Coach told me not to dribble because that just draws the defense and to be patient with the ball."
Following that advice led to several easy baskets as the Cardinal (16-2, 5-1 in the Pac-12) won their second straight since having their 81-game winning streak against conference opponents end against California last Sunday.
"My teammates did a great job of finding me," Ogwumike said. "We also had better ball movement and got it inside."
Joslyn Tinkle had 15 points while Sara James and Amber Orrange each added 13 for the Cardinal, who have won five of six overall to retain a share of the conference lead with the Bears.
Cassie Harberts scored 21 points to lead the Trojans (7-10, 4-2 Pac-12), who lost their 11th straight to Stanford. Ariya Crook added 18 points.
"Stanford is still the team to beat in this conference," Trojans' coach Michael Cooper said. "I know they had that tough loss, but until they prove otherwise, they're the team."
Stanford opened a 19-point edge in the first four minutes of the second half and had to stave off a fierce Trojans rally.
"Before it's all said and done we're going to make some noise in the Pac-12," said Cooper, whose team slipped into a four-way tie for third with UCLA, Colorado and Washington.
Crook's reverse layup with 2:42 remaining to play pulled Southern California within 66-61, but that was as close as the Trojans would come.
"We're a different team than we were five games ago," Harberts said. "We got down to Utah and came back and that's been our mindset since conference started."
Stanford's response came in the form of Ogwumike, who was brilliant in the second half. She scored seven points and had four rebounds after the Trojans closed the gap. She was 9 of 12 from the floor
"We already have one loss in conference," said Ogwumike, who came within two points and three rebounds of her career highs. "We're not trying to get another one."
Southern California's only senior and second leading rebounder, Christina Marinacci, missed her fourth straight game because of a strained knee sustained in practice two weeks ago.
Neither team shot particularly well in the first half but the Cardinal took advantage of its rebounding advantage and Trojans' turnovers to forge a double-digit edge.
Despite her offensive woes in the first half, Ogwumike did have seven rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal before break.
"I think maybe we got a little sloppy," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "But Chiney is an All-American and she played like one."
The Cardinal were held scoreless for nearly five minutes of the first half, with Southern California inching within 20-18 with just over five minutes to play in the half.
Stanford outscored the Trojans 13-2 the rest of the half, with Joslyn Tinkle hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cardinal a 33-20 edge into intermission.
Updated January 20, 2013