PULLMAN – Washington State has taken the floor 56 times against Stanford in women’s basketball, and 56 times the Cougars have lost.
But No. 3 Stanford’s 77-69 victory on Friday night was one of the closest in the series that began in 1983.
“We’re going to keep building on our confidence,” Washington State coach June Daugherty said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons.”
The Cougars managed to tie the score with less than six minutes left. But in the end they had no answer for Stanford standout Chiney Ogwumike, who scored 36 points and had 17 rebounds.
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“She’s got amazing hands,” Daugherty said of Ogwumike, who scored most of her points inside. “We were trying to force them not to get it inside.”
The Cougars got big games from guards Lia Galdeira, who scored 21 points, and Tia Presley, who scored 20. Galdeira scored 17 of her points in the second half.
“I think if we had played better defensively, it would have been a different game,” Ogwumike said. “But they were scoring left, right and center.”
Taylor Greenfield and Amber Orrange scored 11 points each for the Cardinal. Stanford (22-1 overall, 11-0 Pac-12) has won 21 straight games since losing to No. 1 Connecticut.
Washington State (12-11, 6-5) has lost five of its past six games after a 5-0 start to conference play.
“We managed a win, but it wasn’t our best,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We can get better.”
The 6-foot-4 Ogwumike made 15 of 22 shots and scored 24 of her points in the decisive second half. She played all 40 minutes.
“She took over the game in the second half,” Daugherty said. “She is, in my opinion, the player of the year.”
The Cougars shot 56.7 percent in the second half to stay competitive.
But Stanford had a 46-30 rebounding advantage. And the Cougars managed to make a mere 10 of 20 from the free-throw line.
“We spread the floor and were more aggressive getting to the basket,” Ogwumike said of the second half.
With Stanford leading 26-16 late in the first, Washington State went on an 8-0 run. The Cougars shot 28 percent in the first 20 minutes.
“We were rushing a bit in the first half,” Daugherty said. “We got a lot of open looks.”