On the eve of Joslyn Tinkle’s final home game, coach Tara VanDerveer sent the Stanford senior a text message and reminded her it would be a special night.
Tinkle’s sharp shooting made it one of the best all season for the top-seeded Cardinal.
“It was kind of one of those days when you wake up and you feel good,” Tinkle said.
She connected for a career-high five 3-pointers on the way to 21 points in her last hurrah at Maples Pavilion, and the Cardinal women’s basketball team used a spectacular perimeter shooting performance to rout No. 8 seed Michigan 73-40 on Tuesday for a spot in the Spokane Regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
For months, VanDerveer has been challenging Tinkle and Stanford’s supporting cast to take the pressure off Chiney Ogwumike.
“Before the game, emotions were high and energy was insane,” Tinkle said. “We played really well and had fun doing it. It’s really what we needed to keep advancing in this tournament. It’s something we’ve tried to strive for and push for all season. It can’t just be the Chiney show every night.”
Still, Ogwumike wound up with 12 points and 15 rebounds in a game when the Cardinal’s shooters did their part just as VanDerveer has been hoping they would.
Sara James shut down Michigan star Kate Thompson and scored nine points, and Stanford (33-2) won its 19th straight game to set up a matchup with fourth-seeded Georgia on Saturday and move a step closer to the program’s goal of a sixth straight Final Four.
“It was just a collective sigh of relief,” Ogwumike said. “As a post player, this is the best thing, having guards hitting shots. We’re so unselfish, almost to a fault. I think it was a great moment for our team, a great confidence booster.”
Jenny Ryan scored 11 points in her final college game to lead Michigan (22-11), which matched its second-lowest scoring output all season.
Tinkle, Stanford’s lone senior, shot 7-for-10 and made all of her 3-point attempts as the Cardinal hit a season-best 12 3s. She also had six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Spokane Arena, Spokane, Wash.
RADIO: KZSU (90.1 FM)