Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 18 points to help second-ranked Stanford beat Washington 76-57 Thursday and advance to the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament.
The Huskies defeated Oregon in the tournament opener Wednesday but weren’t able to muster a second win a day later, leaving a potential Women’s NIT bid as their only hope for postseason play.
“Obviously, it was a quick turnaround, but that’s the advantage they get for being a No. 1 seed,” first-year coach Kevin McGuff said. “They had a great game plan. Defensively, they really forced us into a lot of tough shots and they were also really efficient on the offensive end.”
Regina Rogers, Mackenzie Argens and Aminah Williams each scored 12 points for eighth-seeded Washington (17-13), which dug itself a hole by shooting 25.8 percent and committing eight turnovers in the first half.
The Huskies, who have not been to the NCAA tournament since 2007, made great strides under McGuff with a six-win improvement from last season. McGuff thinks there are more games in the team’s future.
“I am really hopeful we have a chance to play,” he said. “They deserve to be in postseason play. It would be a great reward for this team.”
Chiney Ogwumike had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Bonnie Samuelson scored 11 points on three 3-pointers for the top-seeded Cardinal (29-1), who pulled away after halftime in their first game following a first-round bye.
“Washington came out and played really hard. They gave us challenge inside with Regina Rogers,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I thought it was a very good first game. But we have some things to work on for next game.”
Stanford is looking for a ninth straight conference tournament title. The Cardinal will play Friday against Arizona State.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike shook off a bloody nose and showed why she was the Pac-12 player of the year. The senior forward made eight of 13 shots and keyed a second-half run that resulted in the game’s largest lead.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had her hands full with the imposing Rogers, a first-team all-conference center. But she relished the opportunity of the physical matchup.
“It’s always good to (play) a good post because it’s a challenge, both defensively and offensively,” said Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who has scored in double figures all but once this season.
After the Huskies pulled within 45-33 on Mollie Williams’ layup and subsequent free throw, Nnemkadi Ogwumike hit a jumper on the other end to start a string of 12 unanswered points. Samuelson then nailed a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which put the Cardinal ahead 57-33.
The win was Stanford’s 26th in a row since a November loss to Connecticut.
Jazmine Davis, Washington’s second-leading scorer and conference freshman of the year, struggled to eight points on just 2-of-18 shooting.
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