Cardinal trample Buffaloes, advance to Pac-12 semifinals

For the third time this season, the top-seeded Stanford women’s basketball team (29-2) was able to come back and win from a game in which it trailed at halftime, and by beating ninth-seeded Colorado (17-14) by a score of 69-54, the Cardinal advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament hosted at the Key Arena in Seattle.

(BOB DREBIN/stanfordphoto.com)

Senior forward Mikaela Ruef (left) led all Cardinal players in the quarterfinal against Colorado with her 16 rebounds. She also notched 10 points to help push the Cardinal to a come-from-behind victory. (BOB DREBIN/stanfordphoto.com)

Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, only managed five points in the first half after she was stifled underneath the basket by a swarming Buffaloes defense. At one point, the Cardinal was only shooting 19 percent from the field and struggled to contain the Buffs’ 3-point shooting.

However, adjustments were made at halftime and the Cardinal battled back in its usual dominant form in the second half, outscoring the Buffaloes 48-31 after the break. The momentum shifted for the Card after Ogwumike stepped up to hit a 3-pointer near the beginning of what ended up turning into a 17-3 run.

Ogwumike finished off another double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, with forward Mikaela Ruef grabbing a team-high 16 rebounds to go with 10 points, guard Lili Thompson adding 16 points and forward Bonnie Samuelson knocking down three 3-pointers and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to finish with 15 points. Liberal scoring from across the starting lineup allowed the Cardinal to push the lead in the second half and pull away late in the game — something that will be key for the team as it progresses further into the postseason.

Stanford will next take on fifth-seeded USC in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. USC knocked off Arizona and Arizona State in order to advance to this point. In their close 59-57 quarterfinal battle against the Sun Devils, the Trojans were led by Cassie Harbert’s 14 points and Ariya Crook’s 13 points.

Tipoff at Key Arena is set for Saturday at 6 p.m.

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.