Ogwumike era comes to a close with a 75-56 loss in Final Four

Amber Orrange scored 16 points, Chiney Ogwumike had 15 points and 10 rebounds but the sixth-ranked Stanford women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in the national semifinal of the NCAA tournament Sunday.

The Cardinal had no answer for top-ranked and undefeated Connecticut, dropping a 75-56 decision to the Huskies, who will meet undefeated Notre Dame in Tuesday's national championship in Nashville, Tenn.

Freshman Lili Thompson scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half for Stanford, which reached its sixth Final Four in the past seven years and 12th in 28 overall NCAA tournament appearances.

"Our team is really disappointed with how we played, especially in the second half," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We turned the ball over too much and we did not do a good enough job defensively. Connecticut played a really good game."

Ogwumike ended her All-America career as the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer (2,737) and its top rebounder (1,567). Senior Mikaela Ruef, who enjoyed her finest year, and Sara James also depart.

"I'm proud to have coached Chiney for four years," VanDerveer said, "and our future great player in Lili Thompson tonight."

The Huskies (39-0) made things tough on Ogwumike all night. She was limited to 5 of 12 from the floor.

"We did a great job the first half managing the game and taking timely shots," Ogwumike said. "Things got away from us in the second half. Maybe if two things went our way we could have swayed the momentum. But that's just the way the game goes sometimes."

Stanford shot just over 38 percent (21 of 55), while allowing UConn to hit 50 percent of its shots (27 of 54).

The Huskies also found a way to the foul line, sinking 17 of 24 free throws. Stanford attempted only 10 free throws, all in the second half.

"They have very skilled players that play very well together," VanDerveer said. "And they really pass and move the ball and they screen. One of the biggest problems was we didn't get a single free throw in the first half."

Stanford and Connecticut met for the sixth time in NCAA tournament play and the fifth in the Final Four.

In the history of the Final Four (including title-game contests), the Stanford-Connecticut rivalry is the second-most reoccurring matchup behind only the Connecticut-Tennessee pairing, which has occurred six times.

A three-pointer from Thompson at the 12:32 mark of the first half gave Stanford its largest lead at 16-10.

Ruef banked in a jumper with just over five minutes to play before halftime, giving the Cardinal a 22-16 advantage.

Connecticut responded with a 12-2 scoring run to pull ahead, 28-24, by halftime.

The Huskies continued to build on their lead opening the second half, hitting four of their first five shots while Stanford missed eight of its first nine.

"It has been an amazing run," Ogwumike said. "I'm not even that emotional about it because I was just trying to have fun, enjoy the moment, play hard. And that's easy to do when you have a great coach and you have great teammates."

Notes: Stanford is 75-26 all-time in the NCAA tournament . . . The Cardinal is 6-10 all-time against Connecticut, with its most recent victory in the series on Dec. 30, 2010, a 71-59 win at Maples Pavilion that snapped the Huskies' NCAA record 90-game winning streak . . . Ogwumike recorded her 27th double-double of the season and the 84th of her career.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm

There are two younger Ogwumike sisters! Let's hope there will be a Second Ogwumike Era.

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