By Vicki L. Friedman
NORFOLK, Va. – The weather outside was daunting and so was the show that the Stanford Cardinal put on at the Constant Center on Friday night against Old Dominion.
Second-ranked Stanford cruised to an 89-56 victory in its season opener in a game that was never close. The Cardinal led 29-4 in the initial 8:51 was up 30 by the break.
“This is really a big win for our team coming out here under some of the extenuating circumstances,” said Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer.
The Cardinal endured a 12-hour travel day and three airplanes on Wednesday only to arrive in an area that has been declared a natural disaster due to a massive amount of flooding from a lingering nor’easter.
“I hope this game will help ODU,” VanDerveer said. “I know it will help us.”
Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s 25 points led four Cardinal players in double figures. Stanford tore apart ODU’s man-to-man defense with Ogwumike dominating in the low block on 10-of-14 shooting.
Ogwumike’s 12 rebounds gave her a double-double along with Jayne Appel (19 points, 11 boards).
Still, the sophomore wrinkled her nose at a stat sheet that showed she committed three turnovers.
“I’m concerned about the three turnovers,” she said. “Whatever they need me to do – rebound, pass – I’ll just do it.
As polished as Ogwumike looked, VanDerveer expects even more in a season when Stanford is expected to return to the Final Four for the third consecutive time.
“Compared to what she’s done in practice and exhibitions, she can do much better,” VanDerveer said. “She could have easily had 30 tonight.”
For most of the night, ODU didn’t look as if it would score 30. The Lady Monarchs, who failed to make the NCAA tournament last season for the first time in 17 years, started a freshman at point guard and got no points from preseason all-conference selection Jessica Canady.
Canady, recovering from offseason knee surgery, played 16 minutes and hobbled to the locker room with 7:25 remaining in the game. She did not return.
ODU’s 25 percent shooting effort in the first half accounted for 23 points to Stanford’s 50. VanDerveer used her subs liberally in a second half when Stanford only outscored ODU by three.
“We came out and caught them on their heels,” Appel said. “Now we just have to do that for a full game.”
Stanford’s 62 percent shooting effort in the first half dropped to 36 percent in a second half when the Cardinal committed 13 turnovers. ODU was never closer than 26 points.
Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen scored 15 and Kayla Pedersen 14.
Jasmine Parker’s 16 led ODU.
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