Arizona coach finds positives in 40-point loss
TUCSON, Ariz.—Finding positives in a 40-point loss is no easy chore. Arizona coach Niya Butts insists she saw some in the Wildcats' 91-51 setback against No. 4 Stanford on Saturday.
"I didn't like the outcome but the team did a lot of things this weekend that we really improved on," Butts said.
The Wildcats played California tough on Thursday night before falling 77-74 in overtime. That's the same Cal team that took Stanford into overtime before losing 74-71 a week ago.
Arizona (13-10, 2-9) had lost five in a row before Saturday, but none had been by more than 10 points and two were in overtime. Nothing was close against Stanford, though.
"If you make mistakes, they are going to capitalize right away," Butts said. "They just do everything well."
Joslyn Tinkle had a career-high 22 points and matched her career best with 11 rebounds, leading five starters in double figures in the Cardinal's 17th win in a row.
Stanford (20-1, 11-0 Pac-12) hasn't lost since Nov. 4 at Connecticut. But the previous two victories were close ones. First, there was the overtime win at home against California. Then Stanford was tied at 40 with Arizona State on Thursday night before pulling away to a 62-49 win.
"The past few games we've not played to the best of our abilities," Tinkle said. "We know what we're capable of and we haven't pushed ourselves there. We really knew coming into this game what we had to do to prove to everyone, to prove to ourselves, that we are more capable and we can reach to a higher level."
The Cardinal hit their first five shots and made 57 percent of their first-half attempts in taking a 51-31 lead at the break.
"When your teammates get going and you're happy for them and you're happy for yourself, you get that confidence," Tinkle said. "Obviously hitting those shots gave us a confidence boost and from there we didn't let up."
Stanford beat the Wildcats for the 21st time in a row, a streak that dates to 2004.
"We've kind of been playing people closer than we wanted to," Stanford coach Tara Vanderveer said. "I like the fact we were able to get everybody in and everyone contributed."
Chiney Ogwumike scored 18 points for the Cardinal, and her sister Nnemkadi finished with 15. Toni Kokenis added 11 points and Amber Orrange had 10.
Stanford shot 50 percent and held Arizona to 29.5 percent shooting.
Candice Warthen led the Wildcats (13-10, 2-9) with 13 points. Shanita Arnold added 10 points and Aley Rohde had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Arizona was down 13-7 when the Cardinal went on an 18-2 run to go up 31-9 on Chiney Ogwumike's rebound basket with 9:55 left.
Kokenis sank a 3 to start the second half, sparking a 25-5 outburst en route to Stanford's most one-sided conference win of the season. Orrange was 5 of 5 from the field and Kokenis had five steals.
Tinkle made 8 of 15 shots, including 3 of 4 3-point attempts. The bigger, more athletic Cardinal had a 22-5 advantage in second-chance points.
Arizona was without leading rebounder Erica Barnes, who sat out her third game in a row with a concussion.
The Wildcats last beat Stanford 88-83 on Feb. 5, 2004.