Ogwumike sisters carry Stanford over Tar Heels


SPOKANE, Wash. -- When Stanford needed its sister act the most, Chiney and Nnemkadi Ogwumike came through with exactly what the Cardinal needed.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike and her freshman sister, Chiney, scored 12 of Stanford's final 15 points, and the top-seeded Cardinal held on in the final minute for a 72-65 victory over No. 5 seed North Carolina on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament Spokane Region semifinals.

Stanford (32-2) kept alive its hope for a fourth straight Final Four trip -- a string that began four years ago in Spokane -- thanks to its talented sister duo who made up for an off-night by Pac-10 player of the year Jeanette Pohlen.

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 six points.

Stanford faces 11th-seeded Gonzaga on Monday in the regional final.

Lindy La Rocque, who played at Durango High in Las Vegas, started for Stanford and was scoreless in 11 minutes.

Italee Lucas, a product of Centennial High, led North Carolina (28-9) with 22 points in her final collegiate game. The Tar Heels were hampered by a tough night from forward Jessica Breland. She shot 1-for-13, missed both of her free-throw attempts and finished with two points, 10 below her season average.

Leading 67-65 and having forced a North Carolina turnover, Chiney rebounded her sister's miss and scored while being fouled with 39.7 seconds left, putting the Cardinal up four. North Carolina committed turnovers on four of its final five possessions and didn't make a field goal in the final 3:42.

SPOKANE REGIONAL

■ Gonzaga 76, Louisville 69 -- At Spokane, Wash., Courtney Vandersloot had 29 points, Janelle Bekkering scored eight of her 15 points in the final 4:01 and the 11th-seeded Bulldogs (31-4) beat the seventh-seeded Cardinals (22-13) to advance to the regional final.

Playing less than two miles from the school's campus, Gonzaga put a scare in about 10,000 hometown fans in attendance by nearly squandering a 20-point second-half lead. But the Bulldogs scored 10 of the final 17 points after Louisville had pulled within 65-62.

Gonzaga became the lowest seed in women's NCAA Tournament history to reach the Elite Eight.

Shoni Schimmel led Louisville with 18 points, but didn't find her shot until midway through the second half, missing 12 of her first 13 attempts.

DAYTON REGIONAL

■ Tennessee 85, Ohio State 75 -- At Dayton, Ohio, Shekinna Stricklen scored 20 points and ignited a critical 11-3 second-half run to power the top-seeded Lady Vols (3-42) past the fourth-seeded Buckeyes (24-10).

Tennessee won its 25th consecutive game, but trailed for much of it and only took control in the final minutes.

Meighan Simmons added 18 points and Kelley Cain 16 for the Lady Vols, who are pursuing a ninth NCAA title. Tennessee will play Notre Dame in the regional final Monday, with a trip to the Final Four in Indianapolis on the line.

■ Notre Dame 78, Oklahoma 53 -- At Dayton, Ohio, Brittany Mallory scored a season-high 20 points, and the second-seeded Fighting Irish (29-7) used smothering defense to overwhelm the sixth-seeded Sooners (23-12).

Notre Dame's pressure crumpled Oklahoma's guard-driven offense, which had only eight field goals and 14 turnovers during a decisive first half.

Nicole Griffin scored 18 points for Oklahoma, which had reached the Final Four each of the last two years.

 

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