Pedersen leads No. 2 StanfordNov 27, 2009 - 11:49 PM STANFORD, Calif.(AP) -- Nnemkadi Ogwumike called the halftime talk inspirational. Kayla Pedersen said the team just decided to play harder. Somehow, with its senior All-American center dealing with the flu, No. 2 Stanford found a way to get a win.
Pedersen scored 18 points and had 12 rebounds in leading the Cardinal to a 60-41 victory over Utah on Friday.
"We knew we were better than that," Pedersen said of a 24-point first half. "We decided to kick it into gear. When things aren't going your way, you have to do the little things and stick with it."
Ogwumike had 17 points and Jeanette Pohlen added 11 for the Cardinal (5-0), who won their 31st consecutive home game despite being held to their lowest point total since scoring 58 in a win over Cal in February.
Jayne Appel, who received two IV bags before the game, was limited to two points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.
"I think some people were getting discouraged because the shots were not falling in the beginning," Ogwumike said. "I was trying to figure what I could do to contribute. (Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer) inspired us and pushed us in the halftime. She told me to go in there strong and that definitely helped."
Taryn Wicijowski scored 12 of her points in the second half to lead the Utes (1-3), who fell to 0-3 on the road. Kalee Whipple added 13 points.
"I feel even more motivated when I'm playing against someone with that kind of a reputation," said the 6-foot-3 freshman center about playing against Appel. "I want to show that I can play with anyone."
Whipple is the only starter left from the Utah team that took Stanford to double overtime before losing two years ago in Salt Lake City.
"We're a work in progress," Utah coach Elaine Elliott said of a roster that includes nine freshmen and sophomores. "We'll going to get better as the season goes on. We might not be talking about a great record but all these games will be good for us later."
The Utes have been to the postseason in 13 of the past 15 years, including a trip to the round of eight in the NCAA tournament in 2006, and are the two-time defending Mountain West champions.
Both schools rebounded from cold shooting starts with solid second-half shooting. The Cardinal shot 42 percent and Utah was at 52 percent in the final 20 minutes.
"It's hard when you have a lot of growing to do," Elliott said. "Twenty minutes of growing was what it was for us. We did a better job of getting the ball to the rim."
After making one of 10 3-pointers in the second half of Sunday's win at UC Davis, the Cardinal were 2 of 17 in the first half against Utah.
"This was not a game I'm excited about," VanDerveer said. "I thought we took too many 3s and we were not being patient."
The Utes were held scoreless over a 10-minute span of the first half, and were still within nine points of the Cardinal.
Stanford eventually opened a 21-8 lead with 4:14 left in the first 20 minutes and took a 24-11 advantage into the half.
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