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
RADIO: KZSU (90.1 FM)