- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Washington State has taken the floor 56 times against Stanford in women’s basketball, and 56 times the Cougars have lost.

But No. 3 Stanford’s 77-69 victory on Friday night was one of the closest in the series that began in 1983.

“We’re going to keep building on our confidence,” Washington State coach June Daugherty said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons.”

The Cougars managed to tie it with less than 6 minutes left. But in the end they had no answer for Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike, who scored 36 points and had 17 rebounds.

“She’s got amazing hands,” Daugherty said about Ogwumike, who scored most of her points inside. “We were trying to force them not to get it inside.”

The Cougars got big games from guards Lia Galdeira, who scored 21 points, and Tia Presley, who scored 20. Galdeira scored 17 of her points in the second half

“I think if we had played better defensively, it would have been a different game,” Ogwumike said. “But they were scoring left, right and center.”

Taylor Greenfield and Amber Orrange scored 11 points each for the Cardinal. Stanford (22-1, 11-0 Pac-12) has won 21 straight games since losing to No. 1 Connecticut.

Washington State (12-11, 6-5) has lost five of its past six games after a 5-0 start to conference play.

“We managed a win but it wasn’t our best,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We can get better.”

The 6-foot-4 Ogwumike made 15 of 22 shots and scored 24 of her points in the decisive second half. She played all 40 minutes.

“She took over the game in the second half,” Daugherty said. “She is in my opinion the player of the year.”

Not that the Cougars laid down. They shot 56.7 percent in the second half and kept it close most of the way.

But Stanford had a 46-30 rebound advantage. And the Cougars managed to hit just 10 of 20 from the free-throw line.

“We spread the floor and were more aggressive getting to the basket,” Ogwumike said about the second half.

Ogwumike scored eight quick points as Stanford jumped to a 17-8 lead. With Stanford leading 26-16 late in the first, Washington State went on an 8-0 run. Presley’s layup cut Stanford’s lead to 26-24.

Ogwumike sank a short jumper at the buzzer to give Stanford a 28-24 lead at halftime.

Washington State kept it close despite shooting just 28 percent (9 of 32) in the first half, while Stanford made 13 of 30 for 43 percent.

“We were rushing a bit in the first half,” Daugherty said. “We got a lot of open looks.”

Ogwumike made four quick baskets in the opening minutes of the second half, as Stanford took a 38-33 lead.

Washington State tried to deny her the ball, but Stanford excels at lobbing it inside, Daugherty said

Galdeira sank a couple of baskets to bring Washington State to 43-41, but Karlie Samuelson replied with a 3-pointer for Stanford. Ogwumike added a layup and two free throws as Stanford built a 50-41 lead.

Galdeira scored eight points as Washington State cut Stanford’s lead to 54-52. Dawnyelle Awa’s 3-pointer gave Washington State its first lead at 55-54.

Stanford scored the next seven points for a 61-55 lead.

But Presley and Sage Romberg hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Cougars tied it at 61 with 5:25 left.

Ogwumike sank a pair of baskets during an 11-4 run that put Stanford ahead 72-65 with 2:26 left.

Washington State could not make up the ground and had to foul.

“It wasn’t different from what we expected,” VanDerveer said about the game.

She praised Cougars guards Presley and Galdeira as “terrific.”

“They attacked real well,” she said.

As for Ogwumike, VanDerveer was effusive.

“She is a competitor and she puts the team on her back,” VanDerveer said. “Chiney is so awesome.”

“But some of the others were not on their game,” she said. “We have to evaluate where we are as a team.”

Ogwumike, the Pac-12 scoring leader, had her 18th double-double of the season

Washington State, enjoying its best season in more than a decade, has never beaten a team ranked in the top five.

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