No. 6 Stanford Storms Past No. 19 Oklahoma
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
STANFORD, Calif. - Tara VanDerveer believes her Stanford team becamemore balanced with star Nicole Powell on the bench.
The Cardinal had to learn to win on their own, not rely on Powell to doeverything.
Powell played in her first game of the season Friday night, scoring 13points and grabbing five rebounds in No. 6 Stanford's 58-38 victory over No. 19Oklahoma - and three others also scored in double figures.
The Cardinal welcomed the return of their preseason All-America forward, whowas out with a bulging disc in her back and only practiced for the first timeDec. 26.
Powell did not start, but received a standing ovation when she checked intothe game 4:54 in. She scored her first basket with 5:17 left in the first half,and finished 5-for-10 from the field in 24 minutes.
'It's definitely not the best I could play,' the 6-foot-2 Powell said.'But I played hard. There were a couple shots I wasn't too happy with. When Icame in, the crowd went wild. That was the most awesome thing ever. Iappreciated it.'
Azella Perryman had 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Kelley Suminski added 10points and six assists as Stanford (9-1) won its fourth straight game. SusanKing added 12 points and four steals.
Maria Villarroel scored 12 points and Dionnah Jackson added 10 for Oklahoma(9-4), which lost to Connecticut in the NCAA title game last season. TheSooners were held to their lowest point total in Sherri Coale's seven seasonscoaching the team. They scored only 36 points in a 48-26 loss to Louisiana Techin the NCAA tournament in 1995.
Stanford, undefeated since a 71-56 loss at then-No. 4 Tennessee on Dec. 18,started the second half with a 15-4 run to go ahead 44-26. King hit consecutive3-pointers during the spurt and Oklahoma struggled to convert easy shots orcontrol loose balls. The Sooners shot 28 percent for the game.
'I thought we missed a bunch of easy shots,' Coale said. 'In the firsthalf, I don't think we could have scripted better shot selection. The more youmiss, the smaller the basket grows.'
Stanford has played four ranked opponents in its first 10 games - that'safter only three games against ranked teams in 35 games last season. TheCardinal are 3-0 at Maples Pavilion against ranked teams, and the 28-percentshooting by Oklahoma was the lowest ever by a Stanford opponent.
'No one let us down on the defensive end of the floor,' VanDerveer said.
Perryman scored six straight points for the Cardinal during one stretchmidway through the first half as the Cardinal built an 18-8 lead. Perryman had10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half as Stanford led 29-22 at the half.
Stanford's tight man-to-man defense early made it difficult for Oklahoma tofind open shots, and the Sooners often were shooting as the 30-second clock waswinding down. Oklahoma was 0-for-11 from 3-point range, including 0-for-6 byChelsi Welch.
Second-leading scorer Theresa Schuknecht shot 1-of-9 for four points, ninebelow her average. She scored 27 in a loss to Tennessee on Nov. 10.
The only returning starter from last year's runner-up Oklahoma team is outfor the season with a knee injury. Senior Caton Hill tore the anterior cruciateligament in her left knee on Nov. 26 against Sam Houston State, an injury thathas forced Coale to shuffle her starting lineup several times. She already hasused three different lineups.
Powell's timing seemed a little off, but she made several hustle plays thatearned VanDerveer's praise. Powell committed three turnovers.
'It's a very difficult situation, and she handled it very well,'VanDerveer said. 'She didn't force things and let it come to her. Is that thebest Nicole Powell? No.'