SEATTLE — Chiney Ogwumike’s grin had nothing to do with becoming the first player in Pac-12 tournament history to have 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game, or her behind-the-back assist on a fast break when Stanford needed a jolt of excitement.
“Those things, they’re cool, they’re awesome but they don’t matter in the scheme of things. I’m smiling about how Sara James got that huge offensive board when the pressure was inside and how she hit five 3s and how Joslyn Tinkle responded in the second half,” Ogwumike said. “Those things get me going, even though stats are nice.”
Ogwumike had a double-double by halftime, finished with 23 points and 21 rebounds and No. 4 Stanford remained perfect against Washington State with a 79-60 win Friday night in the Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinals.
The Cardinal won their 15th straight and improved to 55-0 all-time against a Cougars team that features Konawaena graduates Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa. They will play either No. 18 Colorado or Washington in the semifinals on Saturday night.
Ogwumike’s skill on the interior overwhelmed the Cougars in the first half before getting help from her teammates in the second half as Stanford (29-2) finally pulled away. It was the second 20-20 game this season for Ogwumike, who had 27 points and 24 rebounds against Oregon. Her 21 rebounds were the most ever in a Pac-12 tournament game.
“The usual double-double from Chiney which we have come to depend on,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
James added 17 points — 14 in the second half — and Joslyn Tinkle scored 10 for the Cardinal. Stanford beat Washington State last Saturday in Pullman 72-50 for its 54th straight win over the Cougars. It became 55 in-a-row six days later, although it was a first-half performance the Cardinal will not be pleased about with the exception of Ogwumike. She was 6 of 7 shooting and 5 of 7 at the line and recorded a double-double within the first 13 minutes. She finished the first half with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but the rest of Stanford’s lineup was a combined 6 of 20 in the first half.
Stanford led by as many as 17 only to see the Cougars cut the deficit to 31-23 on Mariah Cooks’ basket with 1:45 left. Orange scored as the shot clock expired and Ogwumike’s steal and driving layup just before the halftime horn gave the Cardinal a 35-23 lead at the break.
But help arrived early in the second half. James hit a pair of 3s early in the half and Ogwumike didn’t score for the first 7 minutes. By the time she did, the Cardinal had stretched the lead to 19.
“We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people. Having said that, we’re going to have to play a lot better tomorrow,” VanDerveer said.
Galdeira led Washington State (11-20) with 16 points while Awa had eight. The Cougars had coach June Daugherty back on the bench a day after she underwent emergency surgery to remove her appendix.
Washington State advanced to the quarterfinals for the second straight year and the loss was muted by the return of Daugherty to the bench. Daugherty was cleared by doctors to attend Friday’s game, but sat behind the Cougars bench while her husband, Mike, was the lead coach for the second straight night.
That didn’t stop her from getting involved. She was on the floor giving out high-fives just before the opening tip and during timeouts would join her team in the huddle. Occasionally Daugherty would linger next to her husband and give instruction as play was happening before returning to her seat.
“It was definitely different. Sitting up a couple of rows higher, and able to watch it from a different perspective and then on timeouts, I just tried to help with some of the adjustments that we were trying to do and some of the substitutions,” Daugherty said. “So it was really different. I don’t want to do it anymore. It wasn’t that good.”
For all the instruction given, the Cougars simply couldn’t keep up with Stanford. Galdeira was limited to just four points in the first half thanks to foul trouble then was hounded by James and sometimes Ogwumike in the second half. She finished 6 of 15 shooting and was the only Washington State player in double figures.
“I can’t say enough about my team,” Daugherty said. “To handle the adversity yesterday, it was a major distraction, because it happened about two hours before we took off for the game and again today.”