STANFORD -- It took a monster game from senior All-American Chiney Ogwumike and so much more Saturday for sixth-ranked Stanford to score its first signature victory of the 2013-14 season.

Ogwumike had 32 points and 20 rebounds as the Cardinal held off No. 3 Tennessee 76-70 in front of a crowd of 6,044 at Maples Pavilion.

But the Lady Volunteers didn't go quietly while suffering their first defeat this season after a 10-0 start. Tennessee rallied from a 10-point deficit with 6 ½ minutes to play to make it 70-68 in the final minute.

Then Stanford (10-1) clamped down when it mattered most.

"We just had to stick to what we knew ... and everything would end up all right," Ogwumike said. "And we have Amber Orrange, which helps, too."

Orrange made the decisive play when Stanford kept possession after a scramble for the ball underneath the Cardinal's basket. On the ensuing play, Orrange dribbled across the court before charging through the left side of the lane with 28 seconds remaining. Orrange flipped the ball in while getting fouled despite being surrounded by two tall defenders. She made the free throw to give Stanford a five-point cushion.

"Kind of kills the mood," said guard Ariel Massengale, who led the Volunteers with 17 points.

In the end, Stanford defeated Tennessee for the third consecutive time, something the school had never done in the 31-year cross-country rivalry.


Advertisement

It's easy to focus on the 6-foot-3 Ogwumike, who moved to seventh on Stanford's all-time scoring list while passing Jeanne Ruark Hoff. As Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said, "She is the heart and soul of that basketball team."

But the tall Texan doesn't accept the notion that Stanford is a one-woman team.

"We are all growing up," Ogwumike said. "After last year, we're more hungry. Before we were letting things happen to us instead of doing things."

One of those "things" was rebounding. Stanford out-rebounded a team that had averaged 52.1 rebounds per game while limiting opponents to 36.3.

"When we rebound, that's not the 'nice girls from Stanford' going up," said Ogwumike, who had 11 offensive rebounds. "We're trying to shed our old reputation and evolve."

The evolution is happening on the court as coach Tara VanDerveer blends a lot of new faces with Ogwumike, fellow post player Mikaela Ruef and Orrange.

It was evident in the play Saturday of freshman guard Lili Thompson, Alex Green and junior Taylor Greenfield.

Thompson had 14 points, Greenfield 11 and Green played strong defense to spell foul-plagued Orrange as the Cardinal won its ninth consecutive game. Stanford hasn't lost since a 76-57 defeat at top-ranked Connecticut on Nov. 11.

VanDerveer wants to see more scoring from post players not named Ogwumike. Ruef did better with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists. But freshmen Kailee Johnson and Erica McCall were held scoreless. Johnson wore a protective mask after breaking her nose Monday against New Mexico.

Ogwumike played all 40 minutes while toiling for every ball underneath the basket.

"It was physical, but the way basketball should be physical," she said.

Her presence led to Tennessee's fourth defeat in a row at Maples. It hasn't won there since 2005. But the Lady Vols still lead the series 22-9 that has titled in Stanford's favor in recent years.

The Cardinal has one more non-conference game next weekend at Fresno State before Pac-12 play begins.

"We need more help from more people," VanDerveer said. "We have to improve a lot."

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.

SATURDAY'S GAME
Stanford (10-1) at Fresno State (6-4), 6 p.m.