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Defense dominates as women’s basketball stomps Washington

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Whether at home or on the road, in conference or out of conference play, Stanford women’s basketball and dominance have been synonymous with each other.

Thursday night proved no different for No. 4 Stanford (27-2, 16-1 Pac-12), as the Cardinal easily dispatched Washington (19-9, 11-6) by score of 71-36 and extended its win streak to 13. Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike, a consensus National Player of the Year candidate, netted 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to increased her double-doubles school record to 53.

Joslyn Tinkle (44)
Joslyn Tinkle (44) picked up 12 points and three blocks as Stanford crushed Washington, 71-36. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

The Huskies were shorthanded for the game, as their top two scoring players — sophomore point guard Jazmine Davis, last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and forward Talia Walton, the redshirt freshman standout who had been averaging almost 14 points per game — were sidelined for violating team rules.

Even so, the Cardinal did not have the most auspicious start after winning the opening tip-off, with senior forward Joslyn Tinkle missing a 3-pointer and junior forward Mikaela Ruef turning the ball over to waste the team’s first two possessions. The Huskies jumped out to a 9-3 lead less than four minutes into the game, thanks in part to sophomore forward Aminah Williams’ two consecutive hard-fought offensive rebounds.

But that would be the upper limit of Washington’s success for the night.

Capitalizing off of a terrific feed from Ruef, Ogwumike managed to draw contact, make the short jumper and convert the and-one to tie the game up at 9. Following two straight fruitless Huskies possessions, sophomore forward Bonnie Samuelson then scored from downtown to give the Cardinal its first lead of the game with 14:26 left in the first half.

Stanford never looked back as its lead steadily grew with each passing minute. Meanwhile, its opponent struggled to find any offensive rhythm for the rest of the game. After cashing in nine points in the first four minutes of the game, Washington suffered two scoreless stretches that each lasted for nearly four minutes and was unable to unlock a suffocating Cardinal defense that recorded 11 blocks and 6 steals.

The Huskies would finish the game 12-of-71 shooting as a team, including 4-of-24 behind the arc. The individual statistics were just as meager — Williams was the only Huskies player to reach double digits in points or rebounds, and not a single starter shot above 29 percent.

Fueled by Tinkle’s 12 points and three blocks, the Cardinal headed into halftime with a comfortable 39-18 lead.

Stanford and Washington traded turnovers to open up the second half before Ogwumike made an easy layup to extend the Cardinal’s lead to 23. Stanford’s shooting efficiency noticeably dropped, but it hardly mattered considering that the Huskies could not overcome their dire offensive woes. On one of the trips to the basket, Washington managed to haul in four consecutive rebounds but could not convert on any of them.

Back-to-back scores from Ogwumike in the middle of the second half gave Stanford an insurmountable 52-24 lead. The 6-foot-4 Cypress, Texas, native netted 14 of her 24 points in the second half while sophomore guard Amber Orrange chipped in seven points to bring her game total to 12.

The Cardinal will play its last regular season game of the year against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., on Saturday. With a victory over the Cougars, Stanford would at least share the conference crown with No. 6 Cal and also own the tiebreaker over the Golden Bears for the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, which begins March 8.

Contact George Chen at gchen15 “at” stanford.edu.

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George Chen is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily who writes football, football and more football. Previously he worked at The Daily as the President and Editor in Chief, Executive Editor, Managing Editor of Sports, the football beat reporter and a sports desk editor. George also co-authored The Daily's recent book documenting the rise of Stanford football, "Rags to Roses." He is a senior from Painted Post, NY majoring in Biology. To contact him, please email at [email protected]