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VanDerveer eyes No. 400 as women’s basketball travels to Beaver State

With a road trip to visit Oregon and Oregon State looming, the No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball team reentered the top five in both the AP and Coaches’ polls this week after wins over Utah and No. 20 Colorado last weekend. The Card (18-2, 7-1) had been left out of the top five spot the past two weeks for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.

Junior guard Toni Kokenis tied her season high in scoring (15 points) in her last game, against Colorado. (MIKE KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)

Junior guard Toni Kokenis tied her season high in scoring (15 points) in her last game, against Colorado. (MIKE KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)

Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike’s performance the last time out earned her the seventh Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of her career and her second national award with the U.S Basketball Writer’s Association National Player of the Week distinction. Ogwumike also earned espnW’s inaugural National Player of the Week earlier this season after the Card upset then-No. 1 Baylor.

Ogwumike will most likely surpass the all-time Pac-12 and Stanford leaders Candice Wiggins (2004-08) and Jayne Appel (2006-10), who both earned Pac-12 player of the week nine times in their careers.

The honors kept pouring in this week as, Ogwumike was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 8 Team for the second year in a row on Thursday. She will now be placed on the ballot to vie for a spot on the 2013 CoSIDA Academic All-America Team. Ogwumike is an international relations major with a 3.41 cumulative GPA.

Ogwumike is the only player in the country to rank in the top-10 nationally in scoring (her 22.0 ppg is seventh), rebounding (11.9 rpg is good for sixth) and field goal percentage (58.3 percent puts her eighth). For this reason, it was a devastating blow to the Cardinal team and fans when, during Sunday night’s contest against Colorado, Ogwumike went down with an ankle injury.

Fortunately, head coach Tara VanDerveer reported that it was just a “tweak” and that Ogwumike will play this weekend at Oregon and Oregon State despite sitting out from practice on Tuesday.

Stanford embarks on its first road trip since Jan. 8when the Card defeated Cal at Haas Pavilion. The Card has been seemingly unfazed when playing on foreign courts as it maintains a perfect 11-0 record on the road.

Tonight’s game against Oregon (3-17, 1-7) could be VanDerveer’s 400th career Pac-12 victory — Stanford leads the all-time series against the Ducks 45-8.

Oregon is led by freshman forward Jillian Alleyne (14 ppg, 12.9 rpg) and junior guard Ariel Thomas (10.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg). Alleyne ranks third in the nation in rebounding average while Thomas had a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Ducks first Pac-12 win against Washington State last week.

Oregon State (9-11, 3-5) has seen consistent play from freshman guard Jamie Weisner. Weisner is averaging 15.5 ppg in the Pac-12 and is fourth in the conference in three-point shooting on the season (36.5 percent). In addition, freshman forward Samantha Siegner has made 18 of her last 24 shots coming off the bench and leads the league in field goal percentage in conference games (.632).

Alongside the dominant play of Ogwumike, the Card has seen major contributions from three other starters to complement the team’s leading scorer and rebounder.

Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle has had the hot shooting hand, knocking down an impressive 65 percent from the field the past two games. She had 16 points in each game and averaged 6.5 rebounds with two blocks.

Junior guard Toni Kokenis matched her season high in scoring with 15 points against Colorado, going 3-4 from downtown. Kokenis and sophomore point guard Amber Orrange (10.8 ppg) have been directing the Cardinal’s offense, combining for 113 assists.

The Cardinal matches up with Oregon at 6 p.m. tonight with Sunday’s showdown against Oregon State slated to tip at 2 p.m.

About Ashley Westhem

Ashley Westhem is the voice of Stanford women’s basketball for KZSU as well as The Daily’s beat writer for the team and aids in KZSU’s coverage of football. She has been a desk editor for three volumes and now serves as Managing Editor of Sports. She is an American Studies major from Lake Tahoe, Calif., and aspires to work in sports administration, to positively affect the lives of student-athletes and the relationship between the athletic and academic spheres of universities.