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The Utah women's basketball team thought it knew how to slow Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike, but all the game-planning, strategizing and confidence they could muster couldn't help the Utes shut down the Cardinal forward Friday night.
Ogwumike finished with 30 points and nine rebounds to lead the No. 4 Cardinal (14-1, 3-0) to an 87-61 victory in front of 1,652 at the Huntsman Center.
Emily Potter led the Utes with 16 points, and Michelle Plouffe had 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
For Ogwumike, a 6-foot-4 senior from Texas, Friday's performance was just another eye-popping effort to add to her list. Ogwumike came into the game averaging 32 points and 13.5 rebounds in conference play and became the Pac-12's leading career rebounder last week when she broke former teammate Kayla Pedersen's mark of 1,266.
While not denying that Ogwumike is a special talent, the Utes (7-7, 0-3) thought they could affect her with their good transition defense, which has helped them stay within range of the Cardinal in past meetings.
Unfortunately for the Utes, what looked good on paper just didn't translate into the game as Ogwumike had her way with the Utes.
She was quick on the drive, was quick to the boards and quickly put the Cardinal ahead by a comfortable margin for much of the game.
She had 17 points at half, giving the Cardinal a 49-29 lead. Helping clear the floor for her was a solid perimeter game by the Cardinal, who shot 8 for 14 on 3-point attempts.
"You don't expect them to shoot that well with 3s on the road, and when they do it's pick your poison with them," Utah coach Anthony Levrets said. "You guard them and leave Chiney one on one and you are in all kinds of trouble then."
To add insult to injury, the Cardinal left their star in for almost all of the blowout, and she dropped two big buckets on the Utes: a 3-pointer and then a tip-in that made it 79-52 with 4:35 remaining.
The plays ensured the Utes were headed for their worst loss since a 70-42 loss at UCLA on Feb. 3.
Utah doesn't get much time to recover from the thumping with No. 23 Cal coming to town on Sunday for a 1 p.m. tipoff.
Levrets stressed the need to put Friday's loss behind them and get ready for Cal, which he views as a winnable contest.
Plouffe echoed her coach's sentiments.
"We don't have a choice," she said. "We have to get used to these quick turnarounds. We'll have a long day of prep and hope to be ready to go Sunday."
The Utes knew upsetting the Cardinal would be a tremendous challenge, particularly since Plouffe hasn't quite found her game after missing several weeks following a death in the family.
However, what was disappointing for the Utes is they couldn't at least play better defense. Utah, which fell to 0-17 all-time against the Cardinal, has been holding opponents to just 37.6 percent shooting and 63.2 points a game.
The Utes were no match for the Cardinal, who shot over 60 percent for most of the night, only falling to a 57.4 percent (35-for-61) showing at the end of the game when the subs were on the floor.
Ogwumike shot 13 for 17 and her presence on the boards helped the Cardinal outrebound Utah 43-28.
"We really have to have more urgency with our defense," Plouffe said. "We have to take pride in our defense in our house and do a better job the next game."
No. 4 Stanford 87, Utah 61
O In short • The Utes fall to 0-17 against the Cardinal and lose their third straight conference game.
Key stat • Utah had been holding foes to just 37.6 percent shooting, but the Cardinal shoot 57.4 percent.
Stanford 87, Utah 61
Ruef 4-9 0-0 8, Ogwumike 13-17 3-4 30, Thompson 2-3 1-2 6, James 3-5 0-1 8, Orrange 5-12 2-2 14, Green 0-1 0-0 0, Greenfield 0-0 0-0 0, Roberson 1-1 1-2 3, Camp 0-1 0-0 0, Payne 2-4 0-2 4, Johnson 2-4 2-4 6, Picknell 1-2 0-0 2, B. Samuelson 1-1 0-0 3, K. Samuelson 1-1 0-0 3.
Totals 35-61 9-17 87
Potter 6-14 4-6 16, Plouffe 4-7 5-6 14, Wilson 1-4 0-0 2, Rodriguez 5-14 1-2 11, Dunbar 1-5 1-2 4, M. Nawahine 0-2 1-4 1, Arquette 1-2 0-0 2, Owens 3-6 0-0 9, Reynolds 1-3 0-1 2, Kalmstrom 0-0 0-0 0
Totals 22-57 12-21 61
HalftimeStanford 49-29. 3-Point GoalsStanford 8-14 (James 2-3, Orrange 2-4, K. Samuelson 1-1, Ogwumike 1-1, Thompson 1-1, B. Samuelson 1-1, Green 0-1, Ruef 0-2), Utah 5-11 (Owens 3-6, Plouffe 1-1, Dunbar 1-3, Wilson 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsStanford 43 (Ruef 14), Utah 28 (Plouffe, Potter 8). AssistsStanford 23 (Orrange 6), Utah 13 (Plouffe, Rodriguez 5). Total FoulsStanford 18, Utah 14. A1,652.