Stanford women open NCAA tourney vs. Hampton

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

A loud cheer could be heard echoing from the Stanford women's basketball team locker room. The Cardinal was the first team mentioned on the NCAA selection show Monday.

An even bigger cheer echoed through an empty Maples Pavilion when the video "Nerd City Kids," was played in front of a national audience on ESPN.

The Ogwumike sisters wrote the lyrics for the music video, which also features football players Stepfan Taylor and Michael Thomas.

"It was exciting to be the first team announced," Chiney Ogwumike said. "Then a few moments later we got excited again when they played the video."

(Chiney said to go to You Tube and search 'Nerd City Kids' or click here

"It was all set up with Aaron and Bud," Cardinal guard Toni Kokenis said of video director Bud Anderson and SID Aaron Juarez. "It was time for us to relax and bond."

Stanford earned a No. 1 seed in the Fresno Regional and will meet Hampton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Stanford hasn't been east of the Rockies since 2001 when it went to Oklahoma.

The Lady Pirates (26-4) won their third consecutive MEAC tournament title.

Stanford (31-1) will be looking for its fifth-straight trip to the Final Four, but its first NCAA title since 1992. The Cardinal reached the title game in 2008 and 2010 before losing.

"We're excited to be going to Norfolk," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We don't mind going to Old Dominion. It's a place with a great basketball tradition."

If Stanford advances to the second round, as expected, it will play the winner of West Virginia (23-9) and Texas (18-13). That game will be played Monday at 4 p.m.

West Virginia lost to Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Big East Conference tournament and the Longhorns lost to Texas Tech in the finals of the Big 12 tournament.

To get out of the Fresno Region, Stanford likely would have to beat No. 2 Duke. A victory over the Blue Devils, however, would match Stanford against unbeaten Baylor in the semifinals in Denver on April 1.

Notre Dame and Connecticut (the only team to beat Stanford) are the No. 1 seeds in the opposite bracket.

The Cardinal has an 18-4 record in NCAA competition since its 68-61 loss at home against Florida State in 2007.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike was named All-Region MVP the past two years, while Jayne Appel and Candice Wiggins earned MVP honors the previous two years. Nicole Powell, Jamila Wideman, Val Whiting and Jennifer Azzi have also earned MVP honors in the postseason for Stanford.

Stanford has a 65-26 record in the postseason and earned a spot in its 26th appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Hampton leads the nation in 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to just 20.3 percent (73-for-359) shooting from behind the arc.

Hampton is also second in the nation in scoring defense (46.8 points per game) and third in field goal percentage defense (32.3 percent).

The Lady Pirates have held 24 of their 30 opponents under 60 points this season, and 19 under 50 points, including nine of their last 10.

Hampton senior guard Jericka Jenkins, a first team All-MEAC selection and the MEAC Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, is second in the nation in assists with 7.2 per contest, and fifth in assist-turnover ratio at 2.41.

Senior guard Choicetta McMillian, a second team All-MEAC selection, is 12th in the nation in 3-pointers made per game with 2.9 a contest. She has made 86 3-pointers so far this season, fourth-most in a single season in program history.

Also in the Fresno region, No. 2 seed Duke faces No. 15 seed Samford; No. 3 seed St. John's plays No. 14 seed Crieghton; No. 5 South Carolina meets 12th-seed Eastern Michigan; No. 4 Purdue faces 13th-seed South Dakota State; sixth-seed Oklahoma hosts No. 11 Michigan; and No. 7 Vanderbilt hosts No. 10 Middle Tennessee.


Like this comment
Posted by Beverly York
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Interested in Stanford Women's sports.

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