FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Stanford was late coming back from its holiday break — or so it seemed throughout the sluggish first half against Fresno State.
Then, the No. 4 Cardinal shook off the Bulldogs 86-54 on Saturday night in their final nonconference game.
"Even though we started off slow, we wanted to pick up where we left off," said Stanford guard Amber Orrange, who had 15 points, six assists and three steals.
Where Stanford (11-1) had left off was a signature win over then-No. 3 Tennessee, 76-70 on Dec. 21. After a six-day break, the Cardinal initially looked like a team that was either rusty from the extended time off or disinterested by the unranked opponent.
Either way, the Cardinal let the Bulldogs (6-5) make a game of it in the first 10 minutes. Stanford briefly trailed twice, and was only ahead 22-18 before pulling away for a 43-31 halftime lead.
Stanford held the Bulldogs scoreless for 5 minutes, but missed seven straight shots and one free throw before reeling off 11 straight points. The Cardinal shot just 4 of 15 from the field during the run to a 33-18 lead with under 6 minutes left in the first half.
"I don't think we played really well," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We're still trying to find ourselves. We have people not making shots they have to make, not being aggressive enough."
Orrange and Chiney Ogwumike more than countered anyone else's early struggles.
Orrange scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half. After halftime, she guarded Fresno State point guard Taylor Thompson — who scored 11 points in the first half — and held her to two points the rest of the way.
Ogwumike scored 16 of her 20 points in the first half, and finished with 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season.
"We opened the game well," Fresno State coach Raegan Pebley said. "But to beat a team like Stanford, you've got to play every possession. You've got to play well every minute of the game."
Stanford ran away from Fresno State with a 16-2 run in the first 8-plus minutes of the second half, allowing just two free throws in the first 7½ minutes of the second half.
That allowed VanDerveer to sit her two star players and empty her bench and get nine players into double-digit playing minutes — and 11 players on the scoreboard — as Stanford rolled to its 10th straight victory.