Playing without Nneka Ogwumike, who injured her ankle in Friday's win at USC, and in front of the largest crowd for a women's basketball game at Pauley Pavilion in 13 years, it was hardly surprising that Stanford's 67-53 win against UCLA on Sunday was less of a cakewalk than its 26-point rout of the Bruins at Maples Pavilion last month. What was surprising, at least to this listener, was that a pair of freshmen carried the No. 3 Cardinal to its 18th consecutive win.
Chiney Ogwumike had a career game with her sister sidelined, finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while fellow freshman Toni Kokenis played 37 minutes and added 13 points off the bench. Ogwumike's points came on only seven shots from the field. She was 10-for-12 from the free throw line. How's that for efficient?
Head coach Tara VanDerveer praised the play of her freshmen after the game:
"We affectionately call our freshmen 'babies.' Our babies grew up today. Toni and Chiney had just fabulous games, really just so poised making big free throws, making big plays all game long."
Kayla Pedersen had a solid game with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Jeanette Pohlen had 10 points and five assists, but neither senior shot the ball well for the Cardinal (24-2, 15-0 Pac-10).
While Stanford's babies stepped up, UCLA's big dogs failed to show up, according to Bruins head coach Nikki Caldwell. UCLA's leading scorers, Jasmine Dixon and Darxia Morris, combined to shoot 7-for-29 from the field.
I was bummed I couldn't watch the game (CSN was showing JMU-Delaware here), but listening to Jake Kelman and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude on KZSU was the next best thing. I trust C&R were able to watch the game on CSN Bay Area.