With a definitive 65-44 rout over Utah on Friday night, and an exciting 69-56 win against No. 20 Colorado on Sunday night, No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball (19-2, 8-1) ends its five-game homestand on a high note.
After losing their leading score, redshirt junior Taryn Wicijowski, early in the first half to injury, the Utes were never able to rally and come back from an early 11-point deficit.
The powerful play of senior forward Joslyn Tinkle and junior forward Chiney Ogwumike proved too much for the outplayed Utes to handle. Ogwumike finished the game with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Tinkle contributed 16 points and grabbed eight boards.
Utah’s junior forward Michelle Plouffe led all scorers with 24 points; however, without much help from the rest of her team, she was not able to rally the Utes to make it a close game.
“Jos [Tinkle] and Chiney [Ogwumike], they’re on a mission,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “They don’t care who else plays well, they’re going to play well. They’re aggressive, they’re making great things happen for our team, they’re being great leaders; rebounding for us…I think it was a Chiney-and-Jos show. They really got it done.”
Sunday night’s story was much the same as Ogwumike and Tinkle led the Card to a huge win over ranked Colorado (15-5, 4-5). However, junior guard Toni Kokenis finally had the standout game that everyone was waiting for, which had the greatest impact on the energy of the game.
Ogwumike led all scorers with 20 points and 12 rebounds—her 15th double double of the season. Tinkle racked up 16 points with five rebounds, and Kokenis finished with 15 points. The trio impressively shot a combined 20-33 from the field.
Typically the starting two-guard, Kokenis started the game at the point. Sophomore point guard Amber Orrange was benched for the fist couple minutes of play as a lesson to be a better leader on the court.
The message must have hit home because when Orrange stepped onto the court, she became a huge factor in controlling Stanford’s pace of the game. Orrange had 10 points, the fourth Stanford player to score in double digits, and three assists. She also had four steals, forcing Colorado turnovers and not allowing their guards to penetrate inside the paint.
“Toni started out at point guard and Amber just needs to be a more vocal leader,” VanDerveer said. “I think she finished very well and our team really needs that from her.”
For the first eight minutes of the game, both teams shot and rebounded the ball about the same so that the Card were only able to secure an 18-16 advantage. Both teams experienced drastic momentum shifts as one would come out strong and go on a run and then fall flat as the other team picked up its intensity.
At the half, Stanford only led 35-26 despite forcing 10 Colorado turnovers. The Card defense also held leading scorers, senior guard Chucky Jeffry and redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson, to a combined five points. Tinkle came alive in the last minute of play as she scored four points, got a block and a steal to send the Card into halftime with great momentum.
“We tried to identify what was working best for us [during halftime]. Trying to get good shots and we did get up by 21 with 14 minutes to go. I think we were doing some nice things. We were getting out in transition a little more. I thought we were attacking the basket,” VanDerveer said. “I liked how Amber was getting in the paint, making a little more happen. I liked out-guard play tonight. We need more scoring from Amber and Toni to take the load off of Chiney and Jos a little more and I like that.”
The start of the second half was all Stanford, as the Card quickly went on a 10-0 run to take the lead 51-30 with 14 minutes to play.
However, Jeffry finally got hot for Colorado and ignited a fire for the Buffs that led to an 11-0 run of their own. Jeffry finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds. However, her intensity was not enough to compensate for Roberson’s mere two points of the game.
With eight minutes to play, Ogwumike rolled her ankle after being fouled hard on a layup. With Ogwumike out, Jeffry hit a three that put the Buffs within seven. However, two shot clock buzzer-beaters by Kokenis and then Tinkle helped the Card pull ahead.
Ogwumike shortly thereafter reentered the game and immediately hit a fade-away jumper to put the Card up by 12. With 1:44 left to play, the Buffs picked up full-court defense and started fouling to send the Card to the line. Stanford hit all of its free throws and Colorado was unable to take care of the ball on its last possession.
“[Joslyn and I] knew with Chiney out that we really needed to rebound and make sure that we didn’t want them to score inside,” said Kokenis. “So we both knew that we had to step up for our entire team and make sure we were executing on offense and getting really good shots, and making sure we were all on the same pace.”
With four players scoring in double digits, the Card finally saw major contributions from other players to compliment All American Ogwumike. The Card will look to continue its even offensive output at Oregon and Oregon State this weekend.
“We’re definitely still trying to figure out lineups, figure out what things we should be running. This weekend was a really big weekend for us, we focused against very aggressive defense,” said VanDerveer. “We’re getting good shots and I really have confidence in our shooters.”