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Newly-minted No. 3 Card hits the road for Pacific Northwest trip

With two consecutive wins over then-No. 19 Cal last week, the Stanford women’s basketball team (21-1, 10-0 Pac-12) was finally able to move past the No. 4 spot it had held throughout Pac-12 play and advanced to No. 3 in the nation by jumping Duke, who lost to No. 2 Notre Dame on Sunday.

The Card will head to Washington this weekend with a new ranking, but the same Pac-12 Player of the Week. Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike was again honored with the award for her aggressive play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball against the Golden Bears. This marks the seventh time this year and the 16th time in her career that Ogwumike has received the award.

Junior guard Amber Orrange (33)

Junior guard Amber Orrange (33), sixth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio, will be called upon to play lockdown defense against the potent Washington and Washington State backcourts. (FRANK CHEN/The Stanford Daily)

Ogwumike is the only player in the nation to rank in the top 10 nationally in field-goal percentage (63.3 percent), scoring (27 points per game), rebounding (12 rebounds per game) and double-doubles (16). Junior point guard Amber Orrange joins Ogwumike in the national rankings as she sits at sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.25).

The Card will first take on Washington State (12-10, 6-4) on Friday, which is currently in a tie with Cal for fourth place in the Pac-12. The Cougars had a surprisingly stellar start to their Pac-12 campaign, as they went 5-0 in the conference before losing sophomore point guard sensation Lia Galdeira to injury for a game against Utah. Even with her return, the Cougars have lost four out of their last five conference games since their perfect start to the season.

The Cougars are led by junior guard Tia Presley, who is sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring with her average of 18.2 ppg. Galdeira is on her heels with 18.0 ppg, including 18.2 ppg in conference play. The two have each recorded seven 20-point games so far this season and carried the Cougars’ offensive efforts on their shoulders. The last time the Card and Cougars met was in the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament, when Galdeira scored 16 points in the Card’s quarterfinal win.

The Cougars play the 15th-toughest schedule in the nation and have done fairly well, notching wins over three top-25 schools: then-No. 10 Nebraska, then-No. 21 Colorado and then-No. 24 Arizona State. After splitting a series in Los Angeles, the Cougars will now hope to channel its level of play from the beginning of the conference slate in order to win a top-four spot in the Pac-12 and receive a bye for the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in March.

On Sunday, the Cardinal will take on Washington (12-9, 5-5) in Seattle. The Huskies are coming off of their first sweep of the Los Angeles schools since 2002 and, after a disappointing start to the season, will try to crawl past the logjam of teams trailing Stanford and Arizona State in the Pac-12 to fight for a bye in the Pac-12 Tournament as well.

The Huskies are led by junior point guard Jazmine Davis (19.4 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.3 assists per game) and freshman guard Kelsey Plum (19.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg). Plum won gold with Team USA at the 2013 U-19 World Championships and had a career-high 35 points against Colorado this season. Plum and Davis combine for 54 percent of the Huskies’ offensive output and make up the nation’s second-highest scoring backcourt duo at 39.2 ppg. Plum is also the nation’s second-leading freshman in scoring. Davis joins Orrange on the Nancy Lieberman Watch List for the top point guards in the nation.

The Cardinal will need to play target defense and shut down the duo of Galdeira and Presley against Washington State on Friday and the backcourt team of Plum and Davis against Washington, and also have someone step up to complement the scoring of Ogwumike.

Tipoff at Washington State on Friday is set for 6 p.m. with game time at Washington set for 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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.