Widgets Magazine

Ogwumike’s double-double powers Cardinal past Vanguard

The No. 3 Stanford women’s basketball team opened its 2013-14 season with a definitive 79-47 win Sunday against Vanguard in its only exhibition game.

Vanguard, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA preseason poll, had already played fellow Pac-12 schools UCLA and Berkeley tightly earlier last week. The Cardinal thus had an opportunity going into this game to gauge how the other Pac-12 leaders measure up to it, at least early in the season.

(FRANK CHEN/The Stanford Daily)

Freshman Kailee Johnson impressed in her collegiate debut with 13 points and nine rebounds. (FRANK CHEN/The Stanford Daily)

Whereas the Bruins and Golden Bears allowed Vanguard to stay in the game through the first half, Stanford pulled away early and went into the break leading by 20, never allowing the Lions to assert themselves even early on.

Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike led all scorers with 27 points and 15 rebounds in only 21 minutes of play. Ogwumike’s dominant play was representative of the amount of work she put into improving during the offseason. Not just a strong force under the basket in rebounding and put-backs, she proved her well-roundedness in stepping out to take jumpers — shooting 13-of-19 — and also in passing and moving the ball around the court effectively.

In the absence of senior Sara James and juniors Taylor Greenfield, Erica Payne and Bonnie Samuelson due to various injuries, the freshman class was able to step up and make an impact in the Card’s first game.

In particular, freshman Kailee Johnson made a dent in Sunday’s exhibition, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds in her first collegiate start. She also had the most playing time of any other players on the team and was able to assert herself early on, getting a block only two minutes in and scoring her first points after less than five minutes of play.

Ogwumike mentioned last week how the five freshmen bring different things to the table and that the team’s depth is “off the charts,” and this game effectively reiterated that. Missing so many upperclassmen to injury would have been a major issue for last year’s team. However, the newly added depth in the Card’s lineup will be a huge factor in its success this season.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer subbed early and often in the game in order to get a lot of players experience and confidence moving forward — which will be of particular importance for next Monday’s game at No. 1 Connecticut. VanDerveer expressed her happiness with the win and that a lot of players were able to not only play but also contribute in big ways.

Freshmen Lili Thompson, Erica McCall and Karlie Samuelson also made their collegiate debut. Thompson split time at point guard with junior Amber Orrange, while McCall was a huge force inside, scoring 14 points. Samuelson had seven points and knocked down her first three-pointer, making up for her sharp-shooting older sister’s absence.

The Card started off with great intensity, employing a full-court press and not relenting defensively for the rest of the game. Stanford capitalized on the new 10-second backcourt regulation by forcing Vanguard to make a couple violations.

“We want to play hard and hustle but not foul,” VanDerveer said. “We’re a quicker team and playing at a faster pace.”

Stanford struggled in shooting and finishing at the basket in some stretches of the game, especially in the first half, and only shot 40.5 percent in the game. Tight defense and lopsided rebounding, however, allowed the Cardinal to keep its lead in double digits for the majority of the game.

Despite the pestering Stanford defense, NAIA 2013 All-American senior guard Nicole Ballestero scored 25 points in Vanguard’s loss.

The Card embarks on its first road trip this weekend, opening the regular season this Saturday against Boston College and then moving on to perhaps its toughest game before Pac-12 play at Connecticut on Monday.

“We are looking forward to a fabulous season, VanDerveer said. “We’re just going to continue to work harder so that we can get better and better each game.”

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

About Ashley Westhem

Ashley Westhem was Editor in Chief of Vol. 248 after serving as Executive Editor and Managing Editor of Sports. She is the voice of Stanford women’s basketball for KZSU as well as The Daily’s beat writer for the team and aids in KZSU’s coverage of football. She graduated in 2016 and is currently a Communications masters student. Ashley is from Lake Tahoe, California.