FRESNO, Calif. – Nnemkadi Ogwumike will end her sensational senior season right where she has the rest: at the Final Four.
Ogwumike made it happen on both ends of the floor with 29 points and nine rebounds Monday night despite constant double-teams, sending top-seeded Stanford past No. 2 seed Duke 81-69 in the Fresno Regional final for the Cardinal’s fifth straight women’s Final Four berth.
Little sister Chiney did plenty to seal the Denver trip, too – along with everybody else. Chiney Ogwumike had 17 rebounds to go with 12 points and freshman Amber Orrange came through with 13 points and four assists as the Cardinal extended their school-record winning streak to 32 games.
Nneka Ogwumike is headed back to the Final Four in her NCAA tournament farewell with that elusive championship still in reach. Stanford (35-1), looking for the program’s first title since 1992, will play Sunday night against Brittney Griner and unbeaten Baylor (38-0) at the Pepsi Center.
Chelsea Gray had 23 points, four rebounds and four assists and Shay Selby scored 11 in her final college game for Duke (27-6), which fell short of reaching the program’s first Final Four since 2006. The Blue Devils never got clicking on offense the way they had in their three NCAA wins.
The projected No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, Nneka Ogwumike scored in the paint, on the perimeter, on leaping putbacks and even by knocking down a pretty 10-foot turnaround jumper late in the first half as the Cardinal built a 40-25 lead at the break.
Stanford’s 26-year Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer got contributions from almost everyone.
Joslyn Tinkle from Missoula, Mont., hit two 3-pointers in the opening five minutes and made an early steal, then hit another 3 with 4:26 left that put Stanford ahead by 13. She had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.