Crunch time becomes prime time for Stanford


Jeanette Pohlen was 3-of-4 from the foul line in the final 16 seconds and Stanford scored the final seven points of the game Saturday to beat North Carolina, 72-65, in the regional semifinal of the NCAA women's basketball tournament in Spokane.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike also scored down the stretch, combining for 12 of Stanford's final 15 points, as the second-ranked Cardinal advanced to its fourth straight Elite Eight.

Top-seeded Stanford (32-2) meets 11th-seeded Gonzaga (31-4), playing less than two miles from its campus, in Monday's regional final at 6 p.m. (ESPN).

"Nnemkadi stepped up big for us," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "At this point it doesn't matter; it's all about getting it done and continue dancing."

It was all about survival and getting the chance to play another day. Stanford has beaten the Bulldogs in its last two meetings, but this Gonzaga team is different. The Bulldogs have an All-American type point guard in Courtney Vandersloot.

Pohlen wasn't at her finest against the Tar Heels, but when she steps to the foul line, she's close to automatic.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 19 points while Chiney, the Pac-10 freshman of the year, added 16. Pohlen missed eight of her nine shots and finished with just six points.

Kayla Pedersen added 15 for Stanford, which won despite shooting just 36 percent.

Tied at 59 with 4:35 left, Nnemkadi scored consecutive baskets to push the Cardinal ahead by four. She scored with 3:08 remaining, then saw her sister come up with a big bucket in the lane with 1:59 left after North Carolina had pulled even at 65.

It was still a one-possession game with under a minute remaining when Nnemkadi Ogwumike missed in the lane, but Chiney grabbed the offensive rebound and scored while being fouled with 39.7 seconds left to put the Cardinal up 69-65.

North Carolina committed a turnover on its next possession, one of four they committed in its final five possessions and Pohlen knocked down three free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Stanford has won 26 straight overall, the second-longest streak in school history. A win Monday night will match the longest streak by a Stanford team.

Gonzaga beat Louisville,76-69, to advance to its first Elite Eight in school history.

Vandersloot scored 29 points, had seven assists and made seven steals.

"This is an opportunity not a lot of people have," Vandersloot said. "We're really grateful that we get to play in front of our home crowd."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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Like this comment
Posted by wm
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

how often do we get a Vander vs. Vander match-up?

Like this comment
Posted by cardinalalltheway
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:35 am

Wm - I like your observation! No one ever comments on these games and the Cardinal women are the most incredible team to watch, year after year.

Like this comment
Posted by Joel
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Joel is a registered user.

What a pleasure to see this strong team play with all the classes represented. Go Cardinals!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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