They say defense wins championships. Well, the best offense in the nation went against an under-appreciated defense and the defense won. Well, couple the Stanford Women’ basketball Team’s defense with Pac-12 foe Oregon’s LACK of it and you get a 96-66 Stanford win.
Oregon came into Maples leading the country with 105.3 points. They were also the only women’s team averaging over 100 points. Then they met Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike. Chiney suffocated Oregon’s Chrishae Rowe, who was averaging 24.5 points a game (about the same amount Chiney averages, 25.8). Rowe was held to just five points in the first half and 11 for the game, five of those with the Stanford starters including Chiney on the bench.
Chiney Ogwumike blocks a layup-attempt from Oregon's Lexi Petersen.
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Chiney received plenty of help on defense from her teammates. Stanford held run-and-gun Oregon to a season low 66 points, 39 below its nation-leading season average of 105 per game. Oregon’s 41 percent of made 3-pointers plunged downward when Stanford held them to 23 percent (6-of-26).
When C and R saw the two teams line up for tip off, we thought Stanford was going to have their way rebounding and inside, as the Card looked taller. Imagine our surprise when Stanford Head Coach Tara Vanderveer dialed up a first half game plan of threes. Stanford used quick perimeter passing to counter Oregon’s zone and when the first Stanford player behind the line was a little bit open, they launched. And launched they did, hitting 12-24 behind the arc. Stanford also stopped Oregon from launching their own threes. Oregon missed their first nine 3-point tries and wound up 6 for 26 on 3-point tries for the game.
Stanford’s Bonnie Samuelson matched a career high with six 3-pointers and scored a career-best 21 points in just 17 minutes. Younger sister Karlie Samuelson (1), Taylor Greenfield (2), Jasmine Camp (1) and Lili Thompson (2) all hit triples as Stanford matched its season high with 12 makes from behind the arc. BTW, the bench scored 47 points, something that has been lacking all season.
The half ended Stanford up 51 to 33, (the official scorers table would change it to 34, something we didn’t know they could do). So Oregon came out of the break and employed a typical coaching move when the other team is making threes. They went to a man to man defense. And what happens, Stanford fans, when you leave Chiney one on one inside? It’s Chiney all day. Chiney had a quiet first half for her, only scoring 14 points and going 10 minutes without a basket, and then suddenly in the second she is stepping around her one defender. She ended up with 33 points and 14 boards for her ninth double-double of the year, before Tara took her out with five and a half minutes remaining.
Speaking of Chiney, she also set the Pac-12 and Stanford rebounding record in this game. She needed just ten to set it. Heck she could do that in her sleep. Hats off to Oregon, who boxed her well, and held her to just six rebounds in the first. C and R were counting on their fingers to see when she would get #10 for the record. She grabbed what we thought was the tenth rebound only to have an Oregon player tie her up for a jump ball. The announcer said it was her 10th and we cheered. Turned out it wasn’t, so the NEXT one was the record. Either way, she grabbed 14 boards to seal the deal.
Chiney passed former Stanford player Kayla Pedersen’ mark of 1,266 for the Pac-12 record. Earlier in the game she passed another Stanford great, Jayne Appel. Last game, she passed her sister, Nneka Ogwumike, who now stands fourth on that list. So Stanford holds the top four spots of the conference rebounding record. Chiney is at 1,271 and counting, with a whole season of Pac-12 left to play. This record might stay for a long, long time.
One thing Oregon did do well was push the ball in transition. One player grabs the rebound and goes the length of the floor as fast as possible without passing. If you don’t stop ball, they go all the way to the glass. And Stanford let too many of those go by. Goes to show you, always room for improvement.
Looking forward to the rest of the Pac-12 season.
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