STANFORD, Calif. – For 17 minutes Seattle outhustled, outshot and outplayed the second-ranked team in the country.
It's that type of effort the Redhawks will need next year when they end their status as a Division I independent and begin playing in the Western Athletic Conference.
"I'm never happy after a loss but I'm really proud of the effort our kids gave," coach Joan Bonvicini said after Seattle's 76-52 loss to Stanford on Wednesday night. "We played hard and we competed but Stanford's tough and there's a reason why they're No. 2 in the country."
Bonvicini should know.
She spent 17 seasons at Arizona and coached against Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer numerous times. Bonvicini's final season with the Wildcats was also Nnemkadi Ogwumike's first with Stanford, so she knew what to expect.
"It's great being back here but having coached against the Ogwumikes, I said, 'Joan, you're not going to like this,'" Bonvicini said. "We rushed a little bit in the second half but that's Stanford."
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 19 points and 11 rebounds in her final home game at Stanford while sister Chiney Ogwumike added 18 points to help the Cardinal to their 79th straight home win. Freshman point guard Amber Orrange had 10 points and a season-high nine assists for Stanford.
Talisa Rhea had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Seattle (17-10), which shot just 25 percent in the second half in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Rhea provided the biggest lift for Seattle, which went into the night on a five-game winning streak but couldn't capitalize on its fast start and faded in the second half.
"They really ran some great stuff," VanDerveer said of the Redhawks. "I think it will help us get better and I know it will help them get better. It's a win-win for both programs."
The Redhawks didn't seem bothered by playing in Maples Pavilion where the second-ranked Cardinal haven't lost since 2007. Seattle made seven of its first 10 shots, survived a 14-2 run by Stanford and trailed by just six with 3 1/2 minutes to play in the first half.
More surprisingly, Seattle outhustled the home team and scored forced Stanford (27-1) to eight turnovers before halftime.
Elle Kerfoot and Sylvia Shephard made consecutive 3-pointers and Ashley Ward scored on a fastbreak layup to pull the Redhawks to 35-29 before the Cardinal scored the final eight points of the half.
Orrange keyed the charge with a 15-foot jumper and a layup that gave Stanford a 43-29 halftime lead.
The Ogwumike sisters took over in the second half. Nnemkadi Ogwumike had five points and Chiney Ogwumike scored six straight as part of a 14-5 to push the Cardinal lead to 59-36.