By Tom Taylor
This weekend, the Stanford women’s basketball team comfortably defeated the bottom two schools in the Pac-12 conference, starting with a 90-53 rout of Oregon State on Friday night and following that up with a 74-50 win over Oregon on Senior Night.
The No. 4 Cardinal (26-2, 15-1 Pac-12) pulled ahead early against the Ducks (4-24, 2-14) on Sunday, holding the visiting team scoreless for almost five minutes in the first half on a 12-0 run for Stanford, thus extending its winning streak over Oregon to 17 games.
Meanwhile, though, No. 6 Cal (25-2, 15-1) seemed in trouble at halftime across the Bay, trailing Oregon State (9-19, 3-13) 30-18; the Golden Bears recovered to sneak ahead 58-56 by the final buzzer and stay tied for the lead of the Pac-12 conference with Stanford.
Sunday’s game marked the final appearance of senior forward Joslyn Tinkle in a regular season game at Maples Pavilion—though she will be back for the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds in a month’s time—and perhaps the last for redshirt junior forward Mikaela Ruef, too. Ruef found out last week that she has been accepted to coterm in civil and environmental engineering but was unsure if this would be her last season or not.
“I am a senior this year,” Ruef said. “I came in with Jos [Tinkle], and I would like to come back, but we don’t really know what could happen or whatever next year. I do have an extra year of eligibility, so it would be awesome to come back, but we never know. I’m celebrating Senior Night with my best friend Jos.”
Tinkle, however, knows for certain that last night’s game was her final true home game. It was also the first time in her collegiate career that both of her parents, Wayne and Lisa Tinkle, were at Maples together for one of her games since her father has had to balance a busy schedule as the head coach of the Montana men’s basketball team.
“It was an emotional day, I’m going to probably choke up now,” Tinkle said. “I can picture myself yesterday walking through this campus and falling in love with it right away, coming in as a freshman, meeting Mikaela for the first time just in this hallway down here. It’s surreal, it really hasn’t sunk in, really hasn’t hit me.”
Against Oregon State on Friday, four Cardinal players scored double-figure points: junior forward Chiney Ogwumike, sophomore forward Taylor Greenfield, sophomore guard Amber Orrange and Tinkle, with 19, 18, 15 and 11 points, respectively. Greenfield’s tally, which include 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, tied her career-high set earlier this season against Gonzaga and Tinkle’s score earned her the honor of being the 34th member of Stanford’s 1,000-Point Club. Ruef’s 10-6-6 on rebounds, points and assists also marked another big game for the Beavercreek, Ohio native.
On Sunday, doing her best to steal the limelight from seniors Tinkle and Ruef, Ogwumike grabbed her school-record 52nd double-double with her first ever 20/20 game. Alongside her 27 points, the 24 boards that she brought down took the single-game rebounding school record away from her older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike ’12 and made her the sixth member the 1,000 rebounds club. It also made her just the sixth Stanford player to have recorded both 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
However, other players made important contributions of their own, including 12 points from Orrange and eight from each junior guard Sara James and sophomore forward Bonnie Samuelson. Ruef also grabbed nine rebounds even though she played limited minutes.
Ogwumike was quick to point out the importance of her teammates in the records she set, especially highlighting the roles that Ruef and Tinkle have had in her three seasons so far at Stanford.
“Mikaela taught me that you should always work hard, there’s no off-season,” Ogwumike said. “Every day is a chance for you to get better. I think she might have worked the hardest of our team in the off-season because she wanted to have a chance to play. She was always on the gun, every day in the summer. During her breaks in between classes she’ll come and shoot, so she definitely sets a standard.
“And then Joslyn. There’s some people that make you realize it’s so much more than a game and Joslyn’s one of those people. Her energy that she brings in life in general, you just see a little glimpse of it on the court, but off the court she’s just a special person. I don’t know one person that does not like Joslyn Tinkle.”
Stanford will now head north at the end of this week to close out Pac-12 conference play against Washington in Seattle on Thursday at 7 p.m. PT and then Washington State in Pullman on Saturday at noon. With Cal still tied for first place and the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament still up for grabs, the Cardinal will need to win both contests.
Contact Tom Taylor at [email protected]