Victory Propels Stanford Into Fifth Straight NCAA Women's Final Four

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team is going to the Final Four for the fifth time in five years.

Stanford seniors have gone to four straight Final Fours. There was the net cutting and the trophy hugging, and lots of smiles all around at the regionals, especially for the Stanford Faithful who made the trek back to Fresno. But…

C and R hate to bring up what everyone is trying hard not to say.

Stanford is 2-2 in Final Fours over the last four years. The opponent they have to play to get to the national championship game is the number one ranked team in the nation, Baylor. They feature an athletic, dunking 6’8" Brittney Griner. They are undefeated this year. All the big teams had their shot - Tenn, UConn, Notre Dame - and lost. But…

Stanford senior Nneka Ogwumike was gracious in her interview after her team easily dispatched Duke 81-69. She said she is excited to play Baylor, and she knows Brittney and thinks she is nice and Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is a good coach, but she is looking forward to it (as opposed to C and R who are dreading it). But…

Yes, we know Baylor has other weapons besides Brittney, namely Odyssey Sims. But Baylor has not seen the likes of two Ogwumikes who play as one. This year they have been a perfect compliment to each other. Nneka has developed an outside scoring touch and Chiney gets any rebounds she misses and puts them back. If anyone can do it, bet on these sisters (and thank you Obama for betting against them, picking St. John’s to go to the Final Four. They didn’t even make it to the Elite Eight).

Stanford controlled this game from the first lob from freshmen Amber Orrrrange to Nneka. When Duke went to a zone early on to try to limit Nneka, Amber drove and good ball movement got to open players, who hit some threes. Amber would have 13 for the game.

After Stanford got out-rebounded in their last game against a shorter South Carolina team, they made it a priority to get the ball. Chiney, with bulky knee and brace got 17 of them all by herself. She chipped in 12 points. Nneka once again saved the day when Chiney went to the bench with three fouls and she herself had three fouls, she scored 29 timely points and grabbed 9 boards.

Memo to the rest of the team: When Nneka and Chiney each have three fouls and Duke knows it and drives into the lane right at the sisters, one of you not named Ogwumike have to step up and either stop the drive or take the foul to save them. Because as much as anyone attached to Stanford hates to admit it, without the sisters, Stanford is sunk. Although…

Stanford did hit some threes tonight as we mentioned, seven of them to be exact. Tinkle had three of them and finished with 13 points. Having four starters in double figures helps the Stanford cause a lot, and takes pressure off of the sisters.

As we mentioned, Baylor is also going to the Final Four. They beat Tennessee earlier this evening and there was a lot of chatter about whether this was Tennessee coach Pat Summitt’s last game. There was a scuffle on the court near the end of the game, and three Baylor players left the bench to see what was going on. Trouble is, rules state if a player leaves the bench to enter the court, they are assessed a technical foul and ejected from the game. Both teams got the technical foul, so no shots, but one of the three Baylor players ejected was Brittney Griner. Then the Twitter-sphere erupted as to whether she and the others would be suspended for the next game, the Final Four game with Stanford? Rules said since there was no fight and the bench players did not fight then there is no suspension. R said she would not want to beat Baylor that way, and we all know she has a point. Still…

The Final Four game is set for April Fools Day on ESPN. If anyone can solve the Brittney puzzle, it’s Tara VanDerveer, who recruited a 6’8" inch guy to be her in their practices. I bet his phone is ringing off the hook right now with Stanford coaches trying to get him into practice for the next 6 days!

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