Monday Another Good Day In Pac-12 Hoops

Jared Cunningham had trouble with Stanford's Aaron Bright, and he's not alone. Bright had a career high 29 points, after hitting 6 3 pointers, and 11 of 13 shots, in the Cardinal's 82-88 NIT win in overtime over Illinois St. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Monday was a good day around the Pac-12. While both Oregon St. and Washington St. were winning their CBI Quarterfinals games, 3 other conference basketball teams were also posting victories.

It was a particularly good day for Stanford, as their women defeated West Virginia 72-55 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the Cardinal men took a 92-88 win over Illinois St. in the NIT.

If anyone thought that Stanford women's coach Tara VanDerveer's talent pool might eventually cease to be renewed any time soon, think again. Though the Ogwumike sisters racked up 29 points between them, it was freshman Amber Orrange that fueled the Cardinal's domination of the Mountaineers. Orrange had 8 of Stanford's first 12 points, and a game high 18, plus a co-team high 7 rebounds, and a game high 5 assists in leading Stanford (33-1) to their 30th win in a row. The Cardinal made a 17-0 run that blew the game open in the first half. Stanford next faces South Carolina (25-9) Saturday in Fresno.

A growing number of Pac-12 teams have found Stanford sophomore guard Aaron Bright to be a major obstacle to their own success, and nothing that happened Monday night changed that. Bright came off the Cardinal bench to hit 11 of 13 shots, including 6 3 pointers, which resulted in a career high 29 points that powered Stanford past Illinois St.

After leading 41-38 at halftime, the Cardinal found themselves 11 down to the Redbirds after a 21-5 run, with 9 minutes left.Bright had 10 of the 14 points, including a pair of 3 pointers, in Stanford's 14-3 run to catch up, and 6 points in overtime. It was the third consecutive overtime game for Illinois St.

Stanford (23-11) hosts Nevada (28-6), the regular season champion of the WAD, Wednesday night, with a berth in the NIT's Final 4 in Madison Square Garden in New York at stake, after the Wolf Pack pushed past Bucknell 75-67 in Reno.

That winner will join the winner of tonight's Oregon at Washington game there, possibly giving the Pac-12 2 teams there.

Colorado joined Oregon St. and Washington, who meet tonight at Gill Coliseum, in the third round of the WNIT, with a 64-55 win at South Dakota, behind a 23 point, 10 rebound performance by Chucky Jeffrey. Oregon St. fans will recall "Chucky" scoring 7 points in the last 2 minutes of Colorado's 67-57 win over the Beavers in the last game of the regular season, a defeat that was a serious contributing factor to Oregon St. playing in the WNIT instead of achieving a higher post season destination. The Buffs next play Thursday, when they host Villanova (19-14).

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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