Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 25, 2013

Cardinal needs more than Chiney

Relying too much on Ogwumike not necessarily good for the long run

by Rick Eymer

Sorry Chiney, you're just involved in Stanford's offense way too much. It's time for your teammates to contribute a little more.

That's what Cardinal women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer suggested about All-American Chiney Ogwumike as No. 6 Stanford (5-1 in the Pac-12, 16-2 overall) prepares for home games against Utah (1-5, 10-7) Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 20 Colorado (4-2, 15-2) at 4 p.m. Sunday.

"In some ways we're trying to not get her more shots," VanDerveer said. "We want people to look for her when she's open and get her the ball more, but we are so Chiney-centric already that we're really looking for other people to help us. We don't want to just be all about Chiney."

Ogwumike was named as a midseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award, it was announced Tuesday. She ranks seventh in the country in scoring (21.4 ppg), rebounding (11.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (58.3 percent). She's the only player among the national top 10 in all three categories.

Her scoring average also tops the Pac-12 while she sits second in both rebounding and field-goal percentage and third with an 85.7 free-throw percentage.

Ogwumike was a big factor in Stanford's 75-66 victory over visiting USC on Sunday. She scored 29 points, 23 in the second half, and grabbed 16 rebounds. The Cardinal beat UCLA, 75-49, on Friday night.

"We do want to look for her more when she's open," VanDerveer said. "But we're not going to run more things for her."

Meanwhile, it's another big weekend for Stanford as the Utes and Buffaloes each present unique problems.

"They're a lot better than their Pac-12 record indicates," VanDerveer said about Utah. "They're very physical, they have big Canadian kids, (Michelle) Plouffe and (Taryn) Wicijowski, and they have an excellent point guard with (Iwalani) Rodrigues."

With co-leader No. 7 California (5-1, 15-2) playing the same schedule, the Cardinal cannot afford to slip if it has designs on a 13th consecutive conference title.

Colorado has been one of the big surprises in the conference, thanks in large part to freshman Arielle Roberson, whose older brother plays for the Buffaloes men's team.

Colorado over took Stanford as the conference's best defensive team and is fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring. Utah is third in scoring defense.

"They are extremely aggressive," VanDerveer said of the Buffaloes. "They are a very quick, very athletic team, and they have an excellent freshman with Roberson."

Roberson leads the team with a 13.6 scoring average. Chucky Jeffrey scores at a 13.5 clip and is fifth in the Pac-12 with 8.4 rebounds a game.

"Both teams are really good," VanDerveer said. "Obviously they've played each other and Colorado beat Utah twice. They're different in that Colorado is maybe more athletic, quicker, whereas Utah is bigger. Both teams are very physical."

Meanwhile Stanford continues to get healthier. Joslyn Tinkle and Toni Kokenis missed practice earlier this week due to nagging injuries. Tinkle has a sore ankle and Kokenis has a brace to protect her right thumb. Redshirt freshman Alex Green is getting closer after missing last year with a torn Achilles' tendon.

The Cardinal has been without its top recruit Aly Beebe all season. Beebe, the nation's No. 13-ranked recruit, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in May.

"I showed our team the Pac-12 statistics when we're working on being more aggressive," VanDerveer said. "We're 12th in the Pac-12 in steals, we're 11th I think in o-boards. We're living a lot on what Chiney does and we need some people to carry more of a load."

Fencing

The Stanford men were ranked No. 10 in the first College Fencing 360 Coaches' Poll of the season, announced Tuesday.

The men's team opened its season at the Western Invitational going undefeated with four victories. The Cardinal defeated Air Force (17-10), California Institute of Technology (25-2), UC San Diego (16-11) and Florida (23-4).

The women's fencing team also received votes and was just outside the top 10 rankings.

Men's gymnastics

Stanford senior Eddie Penev was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week for the second week in a row, announced by the conference Tuesday.

The five-time All-American recorded two second-place finishes on floor exercise and parallel bars to help lead the No. 2 Cardinal to a Stanford Open quad meet victory over No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 9 Nebraska and No. 10 California.

Penev scored 15.600 on floor and 14.700 on parallel bars en route to winning his second all-around title of the season. His all-around score of 87.200 is the second-highest in the NCAA this season.

Penev is currently ranked second in the NCAA on floor and third in the all-around with average scores of 15.650 and 86.200, respectively.

Stanford is currently 4-0 with each victory coming against a Top 10 opponent. The Cardinal heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday to take on No. 3 Michigan.

Men's soccer

Stanford senior Adam Jahn was selected with the 15th pick of the Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft by the San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday.

Jahn finished his Stanford tenure with a career year, posting career bests of 13 goals, 30 points and four match-winners as the Cardinal went 9-8-1 overall and 5-4-1 (16 points) in conference play to place third. Over his Cardinal career Jahn accumulated 60 points on 24 goals and 12 assists.

He joins a San Jose Earthquakes' club that captured the MLS Supporter's Shield as MLS' top regular-season team. The Earthquakes accumulated a league-high 66 points (19-6-9), and the capture of the Supporter's Shield earned the club a berth into the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champion's League.

San Jose opened its 2013 preseason camp Monday and will open the 2013 regular season March 3 against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.

Softball

Stanford begins the 2013 season ranked No. 21 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll, the organization announced today.

The Cardinal finished the 2012 season with a 40-19 record and advanced to the postseason for the 15th consecutive year. The team finished sixth in the always-competitive Pac-12 Conference and ended the year with a No. 21 final ranking in the NFCA poll.

Stanford returns 13 letter-winners from last year's squad, including 2012 All-American Jenna Rich.

Men's tennis

The winter/spring dual-match season continues this weekend for No. 10 Stanford, with the Cardinal slated to host a pair of matches at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Stanford is participating in ITA Kick-Off Weekend and serving as one of 15 host sites around the country.

The ITA Kick-Off Weekend features four teams at each site vying to advance to the National Team Indoor Championships during Feb. 15-18 in Seattle.

No. 10 Stanford plays Texas A&M at 2 p.m. Friday. That match will be preceded by a match between San Diego and Texas Tech. The winners meet Saturday at 2 p.m.

Men's volleyball

Extra work on serves helped Steven Irvin and the Stanford end a modest two-game losing streak Tuesday night. The fourth-ranked Cardinal downed visiting UCLA, 27-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-12, in an important MPSF match.

Stanford (2-2 in the MPSF, 5-2 overall) hosts UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. Saturday as it looks to rebound from its lost weekend in Southern California.

"After the sweep this was a really sweet victory," Irvin said. "We need to keep this up."

The Cardinal avoided its first three-game losing streak since dropping the final six matches of the 2007 season. Stanford last lost two straight during the national championship season of 2010, so perhaps this is an omen.

"Our passing has been phenomenal all year," said Irvin, who recorded 14 kills and hit at a .480 clip. "It's just been our serving."

Stanford used Monday to work out the kinks in its service game and it worked just the way coach John Kosty had hoped. Irvin had four of Stanford's eight service aces, matching UCLA's output as a team. The Bruins also committed 20 service aces to Stanford's 10.

"That has been our major downfall," Irvin said. "We worked extensively on our serving."

Stanford won its 11th straight at home and has beaten UCLA at home the past six meetings. The Cardinal moved into a four-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12, a game behind co-second place Long Beach State and Pepperdine and two behind leader BYU.

Brian Cook added 14 kills and freshman setter James Shaw recorded 36 assists for Stanford.

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