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Stanford returns from two-week break to thrash Gonzaga

Coming off of a two-week break from season play, with finals behind the players, the No. 6 Stanford women’s basketball team (8-1) came back with a decisive victory over Gonzaga. On a night that also honored head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 900th career win that came back on Nov. 27, the Card beat Gonzaga 73-45 at Maples Pavilion on Saturday.

Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike had 19 points and seven rebounds, putting her just five points away from becoming the fifth member of Stanford’s 2,000-point/1,000-rebound club.

(BOB DREBIN/StanfordPhoto.com)

Stanford Director of Athletics Bernard Muir (left) leads a ceremony in honor of Tara VanDerveer (middle) reaching 900 career wins. (BOB DREBIN/StanfordPhoto.com)

Ogwumike, however, was not the only Cardinal player to carry the team. Freshman Kailee Johnson had a career high 11 points and eight rebounds coming off the bench in just 19 minutes of play, and junior point guard Amber Orrange contributed 10 points.

“Kailee had a great game. She got on the [offensive] boards; she hit her outside shot and was running the floor for us,” VanDerveer said. “She’s a young player and I thought she really stepped up big for us.”

Saturday was also the season debut for senior guards Taylor Greenfield and Erica Payne, who had missed the first eight games of the season due to foot and knee injuries, respectively. Of the 13 players who saw action, 11 scored for the Card, with three in double digits, displaying the Card’s depth and contributions from multiple players — something that VanDerveer pleaded for throughout the 2012-13 season.

“We had a lot of different people contributing,” VanDerveer said, “and some great energy coming off the bench.”

The Card not only had a balanced game offensively, but it also dominated defensively. The Zags’ 45 total points is the lowest that a Stanford opponent has scored all season. In addition, Gonzaga was outrebounded 46-36, held to just 34.4 shooting from the field and was unable to connect from behind the 3-point line in 14 attempts.

Midway through the first half, the Card pulled away from a slight 9-8 lead with a 12-0 run that kept it comfortably ahead for the remainder of the half. Gonzaga’s Sunny Greinacher was the only Bulldog to reach double figures with 18 points. Her six points in the final five minutes of the half put the Zags within eight until Orrange answered back with five to fuel the Card’s 8-2 run, sending it into the half with a 33-19 lead.

A 23-10 run in the second half put the Cardinal up by 28 with just over seven minutes to play in the game. This time the run wasn’t just sparked by one player but by the combined efforts of Ogwumike, Orrange, Greenfield, Johnson and freshman Erica McCall.

“It’s great to have different contributions,” VanDerveer said. “I use the analogy of an orchestra with our team. [Chiney] is our concert master right here, Amber is on the drums, keeping a beat for us, but everyone is going to have a solo on different nights.”

Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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. She has been a desk editor for three volumes and plans to take over as Managing Editor of Sports next volume and aid in KZSU’s coverage of football. 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.