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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 17, 2013 7:21 pm

Ogwumike leads Stanford women to win over UCLA

The Associated Press

When the competition is toughest, Chiney Ogwumike shines brightest.

The junior All-America candidate had another big game against a ranked opponent, scoring 26 points to lead No. 4 Stanford to a 68-57 victory over No. 15 UCLA on Sunday, the 10th straight victory for the Cardinal.

She also pulled down seven rebounds and blocked four shots. In 10 games against ranked teams this season, Ogwumike is averaging 21.3 points on 53.5 percent as well as 11.3 rebounds.

"I don't think anyone has done more for their team (in the country) than Chiney," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Looking at her numbers she is having a spectacular year. I think the other thing is when you look at who other players are playing with, she has one senior on her team and doesn't have any other All-Americans on her team. She really is putting this team on her back and comes out every night and is so consistent."

Ogwumike has led Stanford (24-2, 13-1 Pac-12) in scoring every game this season and has posted 20-double-doubles.

"I think there is a greater sense of urgency in February than there was in January," she said. "These teams are tournament teams. I'm really excited that UCLA had a great game against us because it teaches us how to be able to win against an aggressive team that's physical and has a lot of weapons."

Even with her big production, the Bruins felt they actually defended Ogwumike well.

"Overall I think we did a pretty job on her," UCLA senior forward Alyssia Brewer said. "I know she had 26 points but all of her shots were tough shots. I gotta give her credit for being able to make those shots and she does come prepared."

Joslyn Tinkle added 10 points and nine rebounds and Mikaela Ruef had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal, which is 15-0 on the road this season and is gunning for their 13th straight conference title.

Atonye Nyingifa led UCLA (19-6, 10-4) with 12 points and five rebounds and Brewer and Markel Walker both scored 10 points.

Stanford's offense was not at its best in the game as the Cardinal shot just 39.7 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc.

But the Cardinal held UCLA 13 points below their season average and won the battle on the boards 38-31 to pick up their 15th straight win over the Bruins.

Stanford, which leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense, has held opponents under 70 points for 44 straight games.

"They play personnel incredibly well," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "They have an awareness of not only who is on the floor but where all the weaknesses are. Their scouting is as in-depth as anybody in the country. Sometimes teams can't handle as much in depth scouting, but they are relentless about it and focused on it. They play personnel and force people to take uncomfortable shots."

The Cardinal didn't pull away until late. They held a 30-25 lead at halftime and were up five with 15 minutes remaining. Then Stanford embarked on a 16-5 run, highlighted by Bonnie Samuelson's 3-pointer that gave the Cardinal their first double-digit lead of the game at 43-32. Stanford led by at least eight points the rest of the way.

"We just got out in transition," VanDerveer said. "I think our team is excited about running and they were able to get out and make some easier baskets where it wasn't all just half court, wrestling baskets."

UCLA freshman Kari Korver left the game and was taken to the hospital after suffering a bloody facial laceration after colliding with Ogwumike in the second half. Close said that Korver will have to get multiple stitches and did not know how long she would be out.

The Cardinal entered Sunday tied with California for first place in the Pac-12, and has four games left to try and clinch at least a share of its 13th consecutive conference title.

UCLA's only Pac-12 losses this year have come against the Cardinal and No.6 California. The Bruins are in third place behind those two teams in the conference standings, and will face crosstown rival USC on Tuesday.