Nnemkadi Ogwumike's big first half powers Stanford romp

STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford returned from a long road trip to Connecticut and Xavier determined to rediscover that home-court swagger in the friendly confines of Maples Pavilion.

It took a little longer than expected before the Cardinal turned their rematch with Northern California neighbor UC Davis into a rout.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 18 of her 20 points in the first half and also grabbed nine rebounds, and No. 5 Stanford overcame a slow and sloppy start to beat the Aggies 93-44 on Wednesday night.

"I was really pleased with our defense. I think our team showed we learned a lot on our East Coast trip," coach Tara VanDerveer said. "People were physical, and I liked that. We took care of the ball, people made shots. We had different people step up."

Chiney Ogwumike added 18 points and nine boards and reserve Joslyn Tinkle added a career-high 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting and nine rebounds as the Cardinal (5-1) got their 66th straight home win at Maples. The game was a rematch of last season's NCAA tournament first-round game won 86-59 by Stanford.

"We set the tone in Monday's practice, coming back from a long road trip," Tinkle said. "We knew they were going to be scrappy, obviously shorter, but they're quicker. We knew their offense pretty well and were not going to let them trick us backdoor."

Hannah Stephens scored 19 points for the outsized Aggies, who were scrappy and aggressive going to the basket early to stay close before Stanford took control. Stephens had 14 points before halftime, when Stanford already led 51-23.

UC Davis (5-2) has lost consecutive games after starting 5-0 under new coach Jennifer Gross, who took over when Sandy Simpson retired after last season.

Freshman Bonnie Samuelson, a 6-foot-3 forward, came off the bench to score 15 points for Stanford in her best game yet. The Cardinal play again Sunday at Fresno State but will not be at home again until Dec. 17 after a two-week break for final exams.

Stanford's only loss came at No. 2 Connecticut on Nov. 21. VanDerveer's young team faces another daunting non-conference schedule this season with a home date against Tennessee coming up Dec. 20.

The Cardinal, who have been to four straight Final Fours but haven't won an NCAA title since 1992, outscored the Aggies 38-10 over the final 12:31 of the first half to pull away behind Nnemkadi Ogwumike and her sophomore sister.

On two occasions in the first half, Chiney Ogwumike missed twice on the same possession only to see Nnemkadi convert the putback. That helped Stanford to a commanding 47-16 advantage on the boards. Stanford pulled down 17 offensive rebounds to none for UC Davis.

Stephens hit back-to-back 3-pointers to keep the Aggies close early, tying the game at 13 at the 12:31 mark of the first half.

"I thought we came out with tremendous energy and a lot of confidence," said Gross, whose team is eager to get back to the NCAAs after the program's first appearance. "We try really hard as coaches to keep the energy high with our team. That's the way we have to play."

The Aggies were 7 for 28 from long range overall, struggling to get clear looks against the taller Cardinal. Stanford has won the last five meetings between the schools, who renewed their series in 2007 after a 28-year gap.

Stephens was whistled for her third foul with 16:10 left in the game.

Stanford -- the 11-time defending conference champion favored to capture the inaugural Pac-12 title in Hall of Fame coach VanDerveer's 26th year on The Farm -- began the game 4 for 10 but warmed up to shoot 52.9 percent in the first half and 54.7 overall. The Ogwumikes combined to go 14 for 22 from the floor.

The Cardinal have six freshmen who are still working to find their way in VanDerveer's system.

"The upperclassmen did a really good job of showing us the ropes," Samuelson said.

Stanford senior guard Lindy La Rocque did not dress and sat out the game with an injured right foot.