Stanford bound for fifth straight appearance in Final Four 

click to enlarge Nnemkadi Ogwumike cuts down the net after Stanford locked up a spot in its fifth straight Final Four. - CARY EDMONDSON/US PRESSWIRE
  • Cary Edmondson/US Presswire
  • Nnemkadi Ogwumike cuts down the net after Stanford locked up a spot in its fifth straight Final Four.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike continued her string of dominant performances in the NCAA Tournament, and the Stanford women’s basketball team added to its string of team successes with an 81-69 victory over Duke in the final of the Fresno Regional at the Save Mart Center.

The victory sends the region’s top-seeded Cardinal (35-1) to a fifth consecutive Final Four, where it will meet Baylor (38-0) in a matchup of two of the nation’s top inside players. Ogwumike will go against the Bears’ 6-foot-8 post force, Brittney Griner, on Sunday in Denver. Griner had 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocked shots in

Baylor’s 77-58 win over Tennessee in the Des Moines Regional final.

“For our senior class to be 4-for-4, it’s amazing,” Ogwumike told ESPN after the game.

Monday’s victory was the school-record 32nd in a row for Stanford, which hasn’t lost a game since a 68-58 setback at Connecticut on Nov. 21.

Ogwumike, Stanford’s 6-2 senior forward who came into Monday’s game averaging 27.7 points through the NCAA Tournament’s first three games, added a game-high 29 against Duke. That total enabled her to match the program’s all-time single-season scoring record. She now has 787 points this season, matching Candice Wiggins’ tally from the 2007-08 season.

Ogwumike was one of four Stanford players who scored in double figures, and she was not the only family member with a strong performance. Her younger sister, 6-3 sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike, had 12 points and a game-high 18 rebounds for the winners.

Chelsea Gray had 23 points to lead Duke (27-6). The Blue Devils fell in the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year.

Stanford took control in the first half, breaking away from a 4-4 tie with a 36-21 run to halftime. When 6-3 reserve freshman forward Taylor Greenfield sank a 3-pointer late in half, the Cardinal had a 40-25 edge at the break.

The Cardinal last won the championship 20 years ago.


Stanford (35-1) vs. Baylor (38-0)

WHEN: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. or 6 p.m.
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver

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