Stanford dominates on boards in putting damper on Stringer's day

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Even with a huge rebounding edge, Stanford wasn't pleased with its effort on the boards.

Kayla Pedersen scored 22 points and Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 21 to help the second-ranked Cardinal power past Rutgers (No. 25 AP) 81-66 on Sunday.

The Cardinal, who feature a starting lineup with four players over 6 feet tall, were just too big for the Scarlet Knights. Stanford finished with a 50-33 rebound advantage, including getting a whopping 28 offensive boards that led to 25 second-chance points.

"I thought we lost the rebounding game," All-America center Jayne Appel said, staring at the stat sheet in disbelief. "I think we still have to hit the boards harder. I think we can do a better job. The height we do bring into the game, I think we need to do better than that."

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer echoed her center's thoughts about the rebounding. Despite the huge advantage, she was impressed with Rutgers' size.

"They looked huge to me," VanDerveer said. "Sometimes our team looks bigger, but it was a challenge for us. They forced the tempo."

JJ Hones added 15 points, hitting five 3-pointers for the Cardinal (2-0), while Appel finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, but was just 3 of 10 from the field.

"She brings so much confidence to our team," Pedersen said of Hones. "If she can go 5-for-11 from the 3-point line. She's our rock and makes sure everyone is composed and she did a great job today."

Brittany Ray scored 17 points and Rashidat Junaid added 10 for Rutgers (0-1).

"I think we've got a long way to go, it was encouraging that we were down by five to the No. 2 team in the country," Ray said. "We had a lot of unforced turnovers. They weren't pressuring us like that. They killed us on the boards."

Stanford's win spoiled a banner day for Rutgers. Before the game, the school honored coach C. Vivian Stringer for her induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this past September.

Stringer received a loud ovation when she came onto the court for the first time and the Scarlet Knights raised a banner to the rafters with her name on it.

"I'm grateful to be a basketball coach and the Rutgers basketball coach," Stringer said to the crowd.

Stringer received a hug from VanDerveer. The two have combined for 1,584 victories and are second and fourth, respectively, on the active win list.

A veteran Stanford team took advantage of a young Rutgers squad that had only three seniors and no juniors. Rutgers lost center Kia Vaughn to graduation and leading scorer Epiphanny Prince decided to forgo her senior season and play professionally in Russia.

The Cardinal return virtually everyone from last season's run to the Final Four that ended with a loss to Connecticut.

"Fifty-to-33 is a heck of a margin. This is the biggest team in America. What makes us think we can jump with them?" Stringer said.

Stanford built a 10-point halftime lead and extended it to 49-31 early in the second half on Pedersen's layup. Rutgers wouldn't go away, going on a 14-1 run to close within 50-45.

Ray scored the final six points of the spurt with a layup, two free throws and a tough pull-up from the corner.

But Stanford reasserted its size and scored the next six points to restore the double-digit lead and put the game away. Rutgers wouldn't get within 10 the rest of the game.

"They had a very long run and we just didn't combat it," Ray said. "We'll just look at film and learn from it."

The Scarlet Knights stayed close for the first 13 minutes as Ray and April Sykes controlled the offense. The game was tied at 22 after Ray hit two free throws with 6:48 left, before Ogwumike and Stanford took over. She scored the first four points of a 15-0 run that was capped by Appel's first basket of the game with 2:47 left. Hones hit two 3-pointers during the spurt as Stanford led 37-22.

Freshman Monique Oliver finally ended the Scarlet Knights' 4-minute drought with a layup. Her three-point play with 22 seconds left made it 37-29 before a putback put Stanford up by 10 at halftime.

The Cardinal opened their season on Friday, beating Old Dominion 89-56.