Stanford pays back Huskies in Pac-12 rout
STANFORD, Calif. -- Just 18 days ago in Seattle, Stanford didn't hit shots, didn't defend, didn't win.
And for having the temerity to tarnish the Cardinal's perfect Pac-12 record, the Washington Huskies were made to atone on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion.
Having already clinched a 14th straight Pac-12 title, No. 5 Stanford (26-2, 15-1) tuned up for the postseason with an easy-peasy 83-60 win over the Huskies, a payback that probably took no one by surprise.
Least of all Washington.
Chiney Ogwumike lightly stepped around the idea of a revenge victory for the Cardinal.
"I don't like to use the term 'payback,'" said Ogwumike, whose 32 points brought her within 86 points of Candice Wiggins and the Pac-12 scoring record. “I want to approach every game the same, but we were a little more fired up."
Fifth-year senior Mikaela Ruef went a different way.
"I'm not as politically correct as Chiney," Ruef said. "I wanted to kill 'em. Nobody likes to lose I wanted payback. I'll say it."
"She says what I'm thinking," Ogwumike said, laughing.
None of this was news to the Huskies, who knew they were going to get Stanford's best shot at Maples.
"From the opening tip, they took it right at us," Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. "They did what they do here. Our kids played just as hard, we were just as prepared."
Washington freshman Kelsey Plum said she could feel Stanford's energy on the floor before the game began.
"They wanted us," Plum said.
Earlier in the week, Neighbors said that back on that day a little less than three weeks ago, his team simply "played well on a night that Stanford didn't."
"We didn't spend five minutes preparing for Stanford [three weeks ago], we really didn't," Neighbors said. "We were focused completely on what we had to do to be good that night in case Stanford wasn't good."
But Stanford was very good on Thursday at home, the second-to-the-last game of the regular season, the second-to-last home game of Ogwumike's extraordinary career.
Ogwumike and the Cardinal did all the things they didn't do in the first matchup. They hit nine 3-pointers and they defended effectively (holding the Huskies to 37.3 percent shooting) and aggressively. And Ogwumike kept coming at them.
With big sister Nneka sitting courtside, Ogwumike had 21 of her 32 points by halftime. Bonnie Samuelson added 14 with four 3-pointers.
On the other side of the score sheet, Plum, who had 23 in the first matchup, finished with 21. Washington was 4-of-12 from the free throw line, as Stanford cut off the Huskies' ability to drive.
"They were not going to let us score 87 points on them again," Neighbors said.
The Cardinal close the regular season on Saturday night against a Washington State team that took second-place Cal to overtime in Berkeley before losing Thursday night.
And Stanford still has work to do, even with the payback factor gone.
"We did not play spectacular tonight," Tara VanDerveer said. "We can play better."