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Cardinal women power past Sun Devils 62-49

Stanford forward Dwight Powell (33) is unable to score against Arizona State guard Carrick Felix (0) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball gane in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. Stanford forward Dwight Powell (33) is unable to score against Arizona State guard Carrick Felix (0) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball gane in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
By John Marshall
AP Basketball Writer / February 2, 2012
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TEMPE, Ariz.—Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 22 points and 16 rebounds, her sister Chiney had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and No. 4 Stanford overpowered Arizona State in the second half for a 62-49 win Thursday night.

Stanford (19-1, 9-0 Pac-12) needed overtime to beat California in its last game and found itself in another fight against the gritty Sun Devils. The Cardinal pulled away over the final 12 minutes behind the Ogwumike sisters, who combined for 13 points during a 20-2 run that put the Cardinal up 18.

Stanford had a 34-20 advantage inside and scored 16 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds to win its 67th straight conference game.

Arizona State (15-6, 6-4) kept it close by slowing the game down, but couldn't stop Stanford inside to lose its 12th straight to the Cardinal. Deja Mann led the Sun Devils with 11 points.

Stanford's only loss this season was to then-No. 2 Connecticut back in November. Since then, the Cardinal have won 15 straight, most of those lopsidedly.

Stanford did have a tough game the last time out, needing overtime to beat rival California 74-71 on Saturday. Chiney Ogwumike led the way, setting career highs with 27 points and 18 rebounds while her sister, the Pac-12's scoring and rebounding leader, fought through a stomach flu that had kept her out of practice the two previous days.

Arizona State was expected to be just as tough, in the midst of a solid season without coach Charli Turner Thorne, who took a nine-month leave of absence last May.

With interim coach Joseph Anders leading the way, the Sun Devils are tied for second in the Pac-12 with Cal -- their opponent on Saturday -- following a three-game losing streak with five straight wins.

Arizona State has done it with defense, ranking in the top 15 nationally in field goal percentage against (33 percent), blocked shots (6.1 per game) and scoring (51.9).

For the Sun Devils to have a chance against the Cardinal, they were going to rely on that defense and find a way to slow the game down.

They did just that early.

Struggling to get decent looks or even hold onto the ball against Arizona State's pressure, Stanford missed 10 of its first 12 shots and had six turnovers in the opening eight minutes.

Problem for the Sun Devils was that they couldn't make anything, either, opening the game just 4 of 15 before starting to drop a few shots.

Stanford turned it around by working the ball inside, where the Ogwumike sisters were able to seal off Arizona State's defenders and get easy baskets or to the free throw line. Still, the Cardinal had just 28 points at the half -- low for any team, much less one that came in sixth in the nation in scoring.

The second half started off the same way, with Stanford missing 11 of its first 15 shots and Arizona State grinding the pace to hang close until midway through.

The Cardinal pulled away behind their defense and by getting the ball back inside.

Tied at 40-all, Stanford forced Arizona State into turnovers on three straight possessions and held the Sun Devils without a field goal for 10 minutes. The Ogwumike sisters had their way inside at the other end, pushing the lead to 60-42 with just under 4 minutes left.

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