The No. 6-ranked Stanford Cardinal had a strong second half Tuesday afternoon, pulling away from the No. 16 Purdue Boilermakers in the opening game of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 86-69.
The win gives Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer 899 in her career, one shy from becoming the fifth women’s coach to hit the 900-win plateau, along with Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C.Vivian Stringer and Jody Conradt.
Purdue (4-1) took its first loss, hanging with Stanford (5-1) for about 35 minutes before the Cardinal finally pulled away. The Boilermakers led just once in the game, 8-7 early in the first half, but after Stanford took a 40-35 lead to the locker room at halftime, Purdue tied it quickly by scoring the first five points of the second half.
With 5:20 remaining, Erica McCall hit a jumper to put the Cardinal up 71-61 and 20 seconds later, the lead grew to 12 when Lili Thompson scored off an assist from Amber Orrange on a play set up by a steal from All-America Chiney Ogwumike.
That opened the floodgates, as Stanford went on a closing 13-5 run to open a 20-point lead with 1:13 to go. A 3-pointer from Ashley Morrissette was the final score of the game and pulled Purdue back to within 17.
Stanford shot 63.6 percent (14-for-22) in the first half and 61.7 percent (29-for-47) for the game, but the Boilermakers hung around by forcing 20 Cardinal turnovers to somewhat offset their poor shooting, Purdue was 23-for-63 in the game (36.5 percent).
Stanford won the glass 38-26, but Purdue did their work on the offensive boards, getting 12 rebounds on that end to just six for the Cardinal.
Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 22 points and also had eight rebounds and four steals. Sara James scored 12 points and Orrange chipped in 12 points and six assists. Thompson finished with 11 points and Mikaela Ruef had 10. McCall came off the bench for nine points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
K.K. Houser led Purdue with 20 points and three steals and Courtney Moses scored 12 points.
Stanford will play three games in the five-team event. The Cardinal play Florida Gulf Coast (3-2) at 2 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday. The Eagles lost to TCU on Tuesday 68-47.