Sorry this blog posting is so late, but C and R had an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” to attend last night after the Stanford vs. Gonzaga game. And boy, it’s harder to find an ugly Christmas sweater than you think. C and R spent all of Friday night in stores searching until we saw a red reindeer fleece bathrobe. C reasoned even though not a sweater, she would get to attend a party in her bathrobe and how many times can you do that? But when she found some Homer Simpson Christmas pants, with Homer saying “D’oh-ho-ho” the die was cast…or set, or whatever. Pajamas it is. And it was a good thing they were fleece as C and R spent most of the night outside in the bocce ball court. C was winning until R got all four balls next to the white one for a four point sweep to win the game, set and match (speaking of which, sorry to hear Stanford Women’s Volleyball lost to #1 Penn State in the Elite Eight).
Anyway, back to basketball. As C and R were shopping for the afore mentioned sweaters Friday, we were worried Gonzaga, ranked 23 rd would give #4 or 6 Stanford Women’s Basketball team (gotta get those keywords in there) a good game. We needn’t have. Stanford won handily, 73-45. (Oops, spoiler alert).
Let’s go back to the action. First of all, Stanford great Nicole Powell was in the house! Except she was coaching for Gonzaga. Stanford made a classy move by acknowledging her right before introducing the players and showed a video with her highlights from her days playing at Stanford, listing her accomplishments (Did you know she owns four of Stanford’s six triple double?).
Amazingly, her own players didn’t really know her back-story. Gonzaga forward Sunny Greinacher said. “I didn’t know all her success. I knew she was a great player in the WNBA and overseas. To watch what she did at Stanford was amazing.” *Sigh* Youth, wasted on the young.
The game started out like a typical Stanford game. Throw the ball to Chiney Ogwumike in the low post, and no one can stop her. She scored the first six points in a minute and a half. Oh yeah, C and R nodded at each other, what were we worried about?
But Gonzaga is a good team, and clamped down on her. And here is the rub on Stanford; can someone else step up when Chiney is stopped? Chiney had two long stretches without scoring. The answer, it wasn’t one person, but a lot of people chipping away. Eleven of the 13 Stanford players that played scored. Stanford went on a 12-0 run early on to go from a small 9-8 lead to a big 21-8 lead, extending that to a 33-19 halftime lead and never looked back.
Freshie Kailee Johnson scored the last five in that run of 12. KJ set season highs with 11 points and eight rebounds, including two 3-pointers in the game. Jasmine Camp scored a season-high six points and hit two 3-pointers. Guard Amber Orrrrange added 10 points for Stanford.
Taylor Greenfield and Erica Payne played for the first time this season, each returning from injury. Although Epayne, with her fluffy hair all bundled up on top of her head making her almost unrecognizable, only played 2 minutes and was one of the players who did not score. Tess Picknell was the other player not to score, but she also saw limited minutes (four), and has a mind-set to set picks to help others to score instead of her.
Stanford can play some pretty good defense themselves, so while Chiney was struggling, The Zags missed all nine of their first-half 3-point tries and all 14 overall and shot 34 percent for the game. The last time Stanford held an opponent without a 3-point field goal was on Jan. 18, 2013 against UCLA. The Bruins went 0-for-2 from the 3-point line in that contest. Gonzaga’s total of 45 points is the lowest by a Stanford opponent this season. The previous low was 48 by UC Davis on Nov. 17.
Back to Chiney, her career rebounding total is 1,220, six behind older sister Nneka Ogwumike’s third-place figure of 1,226. Chiney is also 46 behind Kayla Pedersen’s Pac-12 and Stanford record of 1,266. AND, Chiney is also five points away from becoming the fifth member of Stanford’s 2,000-Point1,000 Rebound Club. Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it.
Tara VanDerveer and Chiney Ogwumike celebrate #900. (Photo The Associated Press)After the game, Stanford honored their Hall of Fame Coach Tara VanDerveer for winning 900 career games while at a tourney in Mexico. (With the Gonzaga win today, she is at 902). The school gave her a jersey with the number 900 on it.
“It’s a little hard for me to wrap my head around 900,” VanDerveer said to the crowd that stayed. “This is the only way I could get a Stanford jersey, as a coach. … Let’s get some more!” Chiney Ogwumike also spoke for the team and said, “Here’s to another 900!”