Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 17, 2014

Proving he's a cut above

Huestis trims his hair, helps cut down WSU in a big way

by Rick Eymer

Josh Huestis learned to refocus on the daily grind instead of allowing his mind to drift off to some point in the future. A haircut turned out pretty nice, too.

Huestis and Anthony Brown, who looked like twins, each scored 15 points and the Cardinal pounded visiting Washington State, 80-48, on Wednesday night in Maples Pavilion for its largest margin of victory in a conference game in 12 years.

Stanford (2-2, 11-5) now turns its focus to Washington, which visits Saturday for a Pac-12 Conference contest at 8 p.m.

"They are off to a great start and they have one of the best scorers in the conference," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said of the Huskies. "I like the extra day of preparation."

Dawkins also liked the way Huestis responded from his sub-par performance last weekend during an 82-80 upset at Oregon.

"Josh was really good," Dawkins said. "If he plays like that I love that haircut. He was great on the boards and hit open shots. Cutting his hair gave him a new beginning. That's a symbol of it."

Huestis knew he had to do something and quickly. Trimming off his Afro look seemed to be the perfect tonic.

Whatever ailed Huestis in a fruitless game against Oregon on Sunday turned into a horn of plenty against the Cougars on Wednesday.

Huestis, who has been growing out his hair since his sophomore season, missed all seven of his shot attempts in Stanford's victory over the Ducks.

He showed up to play against the Cougars, sporting a new hairstyle and hitting 7 of 10 shots overall.

"It was a decision I had to make," Huestis said. "I've been struggling and decided this could be a new beginning. Cutting my hair was a signal to the team that I had a new mindset."

Huestis had been talking with his coaches and family about his recent struggles and realized thinking about the future added unnecessary pressure on himself.

"As a senior I started thinking about where I might be after the season," Huestis said. "I let that control me a little bit too much. My coaches and family made me understand that I have to take care of things game by game and where I end up will take care of itself."

He surprised his teammates, his coaches and his parents when he showed up at Tuesday's practice without his signature full head of hair.

"I was in the back of the room at our meeting when we started to go over Washington State," Dawkins said. "I was starting to get a little angry thinking he wasn't there until I finally noticed he had his hair cut. I love it, especially if he plays like that."

Several people mistook Huestis for Brown, who has kept his hair short since arriving at Stanford. Huestis' mother gasped in surprise when she first saw it.

"I gave no hint that I was going to do it," Huestis said. "I didn't even tell my parents. My mom was surprised because of all the times I refused to get it cut."

Dwight Powell added 10 points for the Cardinal, which won its second straight and now has won six of eight overall. Freshman Marcus Allen added 11 points as Stanford got 28 points from its bench.

"It was a game full of emotion," Dawkins said. "We were coming off that win over Oregon and coming here to play at home. The first 16 minutes was nip and tuck and you never know if it will continue that way. I thought our guys did a good job the last four minutes of the first half and beyond."

Stanford led by as many as 32 points in the second half.

Robbie Lemons hit consecutive 3-pointers for the Cardinal as part of a 13-2 run over the final 4:14 of the first half that snapped a 27-all tie. Chasson Randle hit a jumper at the buzzer to give Stanford a 41-29 halftime advantage.

Huestis, who averages 10.5 points a game, reached double figures for the first time in conference play.

Brown was 1 of 10 against Oregon State and is 15 of 19 in two games since.

"I use Anthony as inspiration," Huestis said. "He was struggling and then he came out and showed what he could do. I think we both learned how to bounce back."

Washington State shot over 44 percent from the field in the first half but was held to less than 30 percent in the second half, during which the Cougars scored 19 points.

Women's basketball

Stanford, which improved to 15-1 on the year and 4-0 in the Pac-12 with a weekend sweep of Oregon and Oregon State, heads back out on the road this week, visiting Arizona on Friday then battling another ranked Pac-12 opponent Monday afternoon in No. 19 Arizona State.

Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike led the most recent wins and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the sixth time this season and for the 15th time in her career.

Ogwumike earned her latest recognition following her performance during No. 4 Stanford's road sweep of Utah and No. 17/18 Colorado. She averaged 32 points and 12.5 rebounds and shot 64.1 percent from the field, and in each contest scored at least 30 points to bring her season total to eight 30-point efforts.

Sunday in Boulder she scored 34 points with 16 rebounds in Stanford's 87-77 win over the Buffaloes to post her 11th double-double of the season, and her sixth 30-point performance over the last seven games. This effort followed a 30-point, nine-rebound line in Friday's 87-61 win at Utah. Ogwumike even showed off some range over the weekend, hitting two of three 3-point attempts.

On the year Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (27.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage (62.8) while sitting second in rebounding (11.8 rpg). Through Jan. 12 she remains the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (third), field-goal percentage (seventh) and rebounding (10th).

Also this week, junior point guard Amber Orrange was named to the Lieberman Award Watch List, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced.

Orrange is one of 29 players on the list for the award, which, named in honor of Nancy Lieberman, honors the nation's top point guard. Orrange is also one of two Pac-12 players on the list, being joined by California's Brittany Boyd.

The list will be narrowed down to 20 in February, then to five in March. The winner will be announced during Final Four Weekend in Nashville in April.

Orrange, the conductor of Stanford's prolific offense for much of the past three seasons, has expanded her scoring talent in 2013-14. The Houston native is averaging 10.4 points per game and is the Pac-12's top 3-point shooter (44.1 percent) while sitting 10th overall with a 48.8 field-goal percentage.

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