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James hits career-best five 3s to propel Card into Pac-12 semis

No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball is one step closer to winning its seventh consecutive Pac-12 Tournament title and one step closer to earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after it took down Washington State 79-60 on Friday night. The Card (29-2, 17-1 Pac-12) will advance to the semi finals of the Pac-12 Tournament and go up against Colorado.

Chiney Ogwumike had her usual double double — the 55th of her career — with 23 points and 21 rebounds. This was the first 20/20 game in tournament history, and her 21 rebounds set a new tournament record. But the junior forward had plenty of help in taking down the Cougars.

Junior Sara James, pictured in a win at UCLA last month, hit a career-high five threes on Friday night as Stanford advanced past Washington State in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals. (ROB ERICSON/StanfordPhoto.com)

Junior Sara James, pictured in a win at UCLA last month, hit a career-high five threes on Friday night as Stanford advanced past Washington State in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals. (ROB ERICSON/StanfordPhoto.com)

Sophomore point guard Amber Orrange started off the game off hot from the three-point line, knocking down two in the opening minutes of play and finishing the game with eight points and six assists.

Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle struggled in the first half, unable to connect from the field and having to push through strep throat. However, Tinkle turned it around in the second half and came out a new player, scoring 10 points and getting a block.

Redshirt junior Mikaela Ruef had an electric second half, proving that she is a multi-dimensional player. Ruef totaled eight points, six rebounds and a career-high seven assists.

Yet the real contributor of the game was junior guard Sara James, who entered the starting lineup in January to fill the spot of fellow junior guard Toni Kokenis. James hit a career-best five threes to finish the game as the second leading scorer for the Card with 17 points.

“The ball felt really good in my hands,” James said. “And I knew it was going to be a good shooting day.”

Washington State was unable to keep up with Stanford’s hot hand and only shot 34.7 percent from the field (compared to Stanford’s 52.6 percent). Cougars head coach June Daugherty, who couldn’t coach last night’s win against Arizona State due to appendicitis, said that the Cougars tried switching the defense up on Ogwumike by fronting her with backside support, but it was to no avail. Daugherty even went so far as to say that Ogwumike has proven herself to be the best post in the country.

In addition, Ogwumike handled the ball beautifully in the game, finishing with four assists — one on an exciting behind-the-back pass that brought a much-needed burst of energy to the Cardinal. She jokingly said that she’s vying for the job of point/forward with Orrange. Ogwumike, though, couldn’t express more how thrilled she was to have contributions from so many players tonight.

“I like to try to bring momentum,” Ogwumike said. “Today was a lot of fun. A lot of people were diving on the floor

“That’s the thing about March — it’s lose or go home. I think that was just really fun for us, so anything that gets out team going I’m down for.”

For the Cougars, freshman guard sensation Lia Galdeira finished with 16 points, but as the only Washington State player to score in double digits, it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the Card.

Rival Cal knocked off USC earlier on Friday to advance to the semis itself. It will take on UCLA tomorrow.

The Card will play Colorado in the semifinals 8:30 p.m Saturday, with the winner advancing to the finals. No. 4 seed Colorado knocked off Washington 70-59. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks and broadcast on KZSU.

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.