LOS ANGELES -- Faced with a rare close Pac-10 game at the half, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer implored Chiney Ogwumike to take over.
The freshman responded, scoring 13 of her 18 points in the second half and No. 3 Stanford beat ninth-ranked UCLA 67-53 on Sunday for its 18th straight victory."We made it clear at halftime to Chiney," VanDerveer said of the decision to get the younger Ogwumike the ball in the post. "This is what you have to do."
Hays: Stanford's Freshmen Grow Up
Stanford's "babies" grew up Sunday and it helped the Cardinal cover for a star's absence, writes ESPN.com's Graham Hays Column
Ogwumike also had 15 rebounds, finishing 10 of 12 from the free throw line.Kayla Pedersen and Toni Kokenis added 13 points each and Jeanette Pohlen had 10 for the Cardinal (24-2, 15-0 Pac-10), who were missing Chiney's older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike because of a right ankle injury.Chiney Ogwumike said that her sister offered words of encouragement."Just play your normal game, she told me."With a chance at ending Stanford's 52-game conference winning streak, the Bruins drew 6,725 people in the biggest women's game at Pauley Pavilion in 13 years. Unfortunately, UCLA couldn't put the ball in the basket too often."We've got to make shots," coach Nikki Caldwell said. "We must have missed 20 layups."The Bruins shot just 31 percent (19 of 61) from the field."They came out with a different sense of urgency than we did the second half," Caldwell said of the Cardinal. "They did an unbelievable job of forcing us on our heels."The message, Caldwell said, for her team was a simple one: "If you want to play with the big dogs, your big dogs have to show up. Stanford has done it over the years."UCLA was hoping to bounce back from an embarrassing 64-38 loss at Maples Pavilion last month in which it was held to a season low in points. Stanford has now won the last 10 meetings with the Bruins and 12 of 13.The game was tied at 30 early in the second half before Stanford went on a 12-2 run. Chiney Ogwumike started the burst with a three-point play. She added two more free throws off an offensive rebound that made it 40-32.UCLA hung around and only trailed 51-44 after Jasmine Dixon's jumper with 6:15 left.Stanford put the game away scoring nine of the next 11 points.The Bruins kept it close Sunday for the first half with the game tied at 28 at the break. Stanford proved to be too much, pulling away in the second half behind Chiney Ogwumike.Darxia Morris scored 14 points to lead UCLA (22-3, 12-2). The Bruins other conference loss was a 64-38 defeat at Stanford.