W. Basketball: Chiney saves Cardinal in overtime rivalry nail-biter

Jan. 30, 2012, 3:03 a.m.

 

Sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike tallied career highs with 27 points and 18 rebounds to lead the No. 4 Cardinal to a 74-71 overtime victory against rival California on Saturday.

 

Chiney’s sister, junior Nnemkadi, contributed 12 points, jumping ahead of Val Whiting for fourth place on the all-time scoring list. Sophomore Toni Kokenis added 16 points, sinking two free throws with 23 seconds left in overtime to seal the game for Stanford.

 

With the win, the Cardinal (18-1, 9-0 Pac-12) remains perfect in conference play and builds a three-game lead in the Pac-12 over the Golden Bears (15-6, 6-3), who are tied for second with Arizona State. Stanford has won 15 straight overall and has yet to lose at Maples Pavilion this season, stretching its home winning streak to 74 games.

 

Cal was the last team to beat the Cardinal at home, doing so in 2007, and almost repeated the feat on Saturday. The Golden Bears surged for the final nine points of regulation to force the game into overtime.

 

In the overtime period the Cardinal defense held Cal to two points on 1-for-9 shooting. Cal had late opportunities to tie the game with two potential game-tying three-pointers, but both missed the mark.

 

Freshman Brittany Boyd paced the Golden Bears with 19 points and junior Layshia Clarendon chipped in 17. Clarendon, who started the day with 999 career points, became the 22nd Cal player in history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.

 

This was the first overtime game for the Cardinal this season. “All of us, players, coaches, we can all learn from a game like this,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. “Coaches and players will really benefit from this type of environment. This was a tournament environment and I’m really proud of our team.”

 

Both teams struggled shooting in the first half, going 1-for-16 combined from beyond the arc. Stanford made up for its poor shooting by capitalizing on Cal mistakes. The Cardinal scored 10 points off turnovers to climb ahead by halftime.

 

The Cardinal led 38-29 at the half and held that lead late into the game. The Golden Bears trailed by as many as 14, but they clawed back and the lead was only nine with 2:27 remaining in regulation.

 

Clarendon, Cal’s leading scorer on the season, took over in the final two minutes.

 

The junior accounted for seven of the nine points during Cal’s late run, including two free throws with 27 seconds left to tie the game. Nnemkadi Ogwumike missed a jumper for Stanford in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.

 

The late miss reflected a difficult game offensively for Stanford’s senior leader. “They were doubling, that’s it, it’s as simple as that,” Nnemkadi Ogwumike said, “but once they double me, that leaves one other person open. And clearly they took their chances, and Chiney can take care of business, and that’s how we work.”

 

Nnemkadi’s sister Chiney more than picked up the slack.

 

Chiney Ogwumike’s layup early in the extra period was the only field goal for the Cardinal in overtime, and she later added the front-end of a one-and-one to give the Cardinal a one-point lead.

 

Stanford dominated the inside game, notching 44 points in the paint to just 24 for the Golden Bears. The Cardinal shot poorly from three-point range, however, going just 3-for-20 on the night. Freshman Bonnie Samuelson was the only bright spot for the Cardinal from beyond the arc, making both of her three-point attempts.

 

“We have great three-point shooters. They’ve been working really hard in the gym this week. I think that they’re maybe just putting a little pressure on themselves,” VanDerveer said after the game. “We can win other ways. When our threes start falling then we’ll be really good.”

 

Both head coaches were pleased with their teams’ effort, expressing admiration for how well the game was played.

 

“It was quite a basketball game,” said first-year Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “I think [the game was] really good for women’s college basketball, and for the Bay Area. I told our players when I walked in our locker room that I’ve never been more happy to be their coach, and the only thing that could have made me happier is if they were jumping up and down celebrating with a win.”

 

VanDerveer articulate a similar sentiment. “This is great for us. This is great for Bay Area women’s basketball. The saddest thing for me is the fact that it wasn’t on television.”

 

Stanford travels south for two Pac-12 games in the Grand Canyon State this week. Arizona State hosts the Cardinal on Thursday and Arizona does the same on Saturday. Stanford’s next home game is Feb. 9against USC.

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