Deep In The Heart Of Texas: No. 2/2 Stanford Heads To San Antonio For 2010 Final Four
March 31, 2010
2010 NCAA Final Four
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (35-1)
No. 12/12 Oklahoma Sooners (27-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 2/2 Stanford opens play in its ninth Final Four, and third in a row, Sunday, April 4, taking on No. 12/12 Oklahoma at 4 p.m. PT from the Alamodome in San Antonio. The contest will be televised on ESPN as well as online on ESPN360 with Dave O'Brien calling the action, Doris Burke on color commentary and Rebecca Lobo reporting from the sidelines. The game will also be broadcast on 90.1 KZSU with Scott Bland and David Lombardi calling the action.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal advanced to its third straight Final Four, and ninth overall, with a 55-53 victory against No. 5/5 Xavier in the Sacramento Regional Final. The teams played to a stalemate right up until Jeanette Pohlen sprinted herself into Stanford lore by going the length of the court in 4.4 seconds and laying in the game-winning basket as time expired. Pohlen's bucket gave Stanford a dramatic victory and punched its ticket to San Antonio for this coming weekend. Forwards Nnemkadi Ogwumike (16 points, 14 rebounds) and Kayla Pedersen (18 points, 10 rebounds) each posted double-doubles in the win while JJ Hones came off the bench to pass out four assists. Freshman forward Joslyn Tinkle was also a key part of the Cardinal win as she hit a clutch floater to equalize late.
Oklahoma (27-10) the Kansas City Region champion, punched its ticket to a second straight Final Four with an 88-68 victory over Kentucky Tuesday night. The Sooners, who entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed, are coached by 14th-year head coach Sherri Coale and led by the play of four starters with double-digit scoring averages, including Danielle Robinson, Nyeshia Stevenson and Abi Olajuwon.
All-Time Against Oklahoma
Stanford holds a 4-2 all-time edge on Oklahoma, and Sunday night's national semifinal contest will be the fourth NCAA Tournament meeting between the two schools. The Cardinal holds a 2-1 advantage in those games, most recently downing the Sooners, 88-74 in a 2006 regional semifinal contest at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Stanford Against The Big 12 In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford is 34-15 against the current incarnation of the Big 12, and 7-4 against the conference in NCAA Tournament play.
National Stat Rankings
Through March 23, Stanford is ranked in the national top 20 in the following categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.27 - second), field-goal percentage defense (34.1 - third), rebound margin (+12.1 - third), scoring margin (+23.6 - third), field-goal percentage (47.6 - fifth), three-point field goal defense (25.6 - fifth), fouls per game (13.1 - sixth), assists (17.94 apg - seventh), scoring (77.7 - 10th), scoring defense (54.1 - 11th) and turnovers per game (14.2 - 12th). Nnemkadi Ogwumike is fourth in the nation with a 62.9 shooting percentage and Jeanette Pohlen is 19th with a 2.01 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Pac-10 Stat Rankings
Through March 29, Stanford leads the conference in 12 statistical categories: scoring margin (+23.6), scoring defense (53.6), field-goal percentage (47.2), field-goal percentage defense (33.8), rebounding (44.9 rpg), rebounding margin (+12.1), three-point field-goal percentage defense (24.9), free throw percentage (73.8), defensive rebounding (30.6), defensive rebound percentage (71.3), assists (17.83) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.27).
Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike leads the Pac-10 with 18.2 points per game and a 61.1 shooting percentage, and is second with 9.6 rebounds per game. Kayla Pedersen is third with 9.3 rebounds a game and fourth with 15.9 points a game, while Jayne Appel is second with 1.63 blocks per game and fourth with 8.7 rebounds per game. Jeanette Pohlen is second in the conference with 4.57 assists per game and leads the loop with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.98.
Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
This year's NCAA Tournament marks the 23rd straight appearance for the Cardinal and the program's 24th overall. Heading into this weekend's Final Four, Stanford has now racked up an overall NCAA Tournament record of 60-21 (.741), won two national championships (1990, `92), reached nine Final Fours (1990-92, `95-'97, `08-'09), 14 Regional Finals, and 17 Sweet 16s.
The Cardinal As A No. 1 Seed
Stanford enters this weekend's Final Four as the top seed and champion of the Sacramento Region. Overall, the Cardinal has now received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament on seven occasions (1990, `92-'93, `96-'98, `10), going 23-4, winning two national titles and reaching five Final Fours so far.
Comfortable Start In A Comfortable Place
Stanford opened up play in the 2010 NCAA Tournament at Maples Pavilion, the 15th time the Cardinal had opened up at home in the postseason. After victories over UC Riverside and Iowa in the first and second rounds, respectively, Stanford is now 24-4 (.857) in NCAA Tournament home games.
Pohlen Goes Coast To Coast To Beat The Clock And The Musketeers
With 4.4 seconds remaining in a 53-53 stalemate in last Monday's Sacramento Regional Final against Xavier, Stanford inbounded the ball to junior guard Jeanette Pohlen. Consequently, it took Pohlen just that 4.4 seconds to create a moment that will live on in Stanford lore, as the Brea native went coast-to-coast and got her layup attempt off with just one-tenth of a second remaining before watching it kiss glass , catch front iron and drop into the goal to provide the winning points in Stanford's 55-53 win and punch the team's ticket to the Final Four in San Antonio.
It Must Happen In Threes
Stanford's thrilling 55-53 Sacramento Regional Final victory over Xavier sent the Cardinal to its ninth Final Four, and third in a row. The unique part of the Cardinal's nine Final Four appearances is that they have come in three spurts of three years apiece. The Cardinal made its first three Final Fours from 1990-92, winning the national title in `90 and `92, then reached Final Fours four through six from 1995-97 and now have been among the last four standing from 2008-10, with a national title game appearance in `08.
Gold-Onwude Past Meets Gold-Onwude Present?
Sunday's national semifinal contest against Oklahoma may feel like a hot tub time machine moment for many fans, the opposing head coaches, but especially for Stanford's redshirt senior guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. When the Cardinal and Sooners last met, in the regional semifinal at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on March 25, 2006, Gold-Onwude was a freshman starter on the Cardinal squad that defeated the Sooners, 88-74. Gold-Onwude started and played 22 minutes of that contest, going 2-for-5 from behind the arc for six points, grabbing six rebounds and passing out four assists. Four years, including a torn ACL and redshirt season later, Gold-Onwude and Stanford are back in San Antonio facing Oklahoma in a win-or-go-home NCAA Tournament game, this time at the Final Four at the Alamodome.
The Last Time The Teams Met
In that regional semifinal contest in San Antonio four years ago, known in Stanford lore as 'The Brooke Smith Game,' the third-seeded Cardinal defeated the second-seeded Sooners, 88-74 behind a career day from junior forward Brooke Smith. In that game Smith went 14-for-16 from the field and scored 35 points, while sophomore guard Candice Wiggins added 26 points and fellow guard Krista Rappahahn hit five three-pointers to chip in with 15 points. Current redshirt senior Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, then a true freshman, hit a pair of triples and grabbed six rebounds for the Cardinal in the win.
There Were A Lot Of Heroes Monday
While Jeanette Pohlen deservedly wore the freshly-snipped net around her neck following her coast-to-coast game-winning layup as time expired in Stanford's 55-53 regional final win over Xavier, one could not also forget the crucial contributions by other teammates that put the Cardinal in position to benefit from Pohlen's heroics. Forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike (16 points, 14 rebounds) and Kayla Pedersen (18 points, 10 rebounds) kept the struggling Cardinal offense afloat, and freshman forward Joslyn Tinkle came through in a clutch spot as her floater with 1:11 to go tied things up at 51-51.
Last Dance, Last Chance
This weekend represents a final opportunity for Stanford's two seniors, center Jayne Appel and guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who will be playing in their third Final Four for a shot at their first national title. For the two players who stand 1-2 in career games played in a Stanford uniform (Gold-Onwude leads with 146 career games, Appel is second with 145), it is one last chance to leave it all on the court in the pursuit of the one ring. Through the first four rounds of the tournament, Appel, playing through the pain and discomfort of a balky right ankle, is averaging 12.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while Gold-Onwude is averaging 9.0 points a game and shooting 60.0 percent (9-for-15) from three-point range all the while providing her usual lockdown defense.
Keeping Up The Battle
Sophomore forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike has continued to lead the Cardinal on the court in the NCAA Tournament, as the 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year is averaging team-best figures of 17.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game through the first four rounds. A State Farm All-America candidate and Wade Trophy and James R. Wooden Award finalist, Ogwumike has enjoyed a breakout season in which she is averaging 188.2 points and 9.6 rebounds a game and shooting a team-best 61.1 percent from the field. Ogwumike is also just three rebounds away from breaking Stanford's single-season rebounding record, as her 2009-10 tally of 347 is just behind Jayne Appel's 2008-09 total of 349.
If Making The Final Four Is Wrong, They Don't Want To Be Right
For Stanford's junior class of Kayla Pedersen, Jeanette Pohlen, Ashley Cimino and Hannah Donaghe, when it comes to the NCAA Tournament they only know how to do one thing: make the Final Four. This quartet has reached the Final Four in each of its first two seasons on The Farm, and behind the recent play of regional final hero Pohlen (11.0 ppg, 4.75 apg in NCAA Tournament) and Pedersen (14.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg) the class has continued to prove itself as the constant catalyst of the Cardinal's recent run of Final Four appearances.
One Wins Record Down, One In Range
Monday's 55-53 victory over Xavier not only put Stanford into its third straight Final Four, but it also broke and matched a pair of program records. The win was Stanford's 26th in a row, breaking the old mark of 25 set from Dec. 20, 1996 to March 24, 1997. It also was Stanford's 35th win of the season, matching the program-best 35 wins from 2007-08. A victory Sunday against Oklahoma would establish a new Stanford single-season record with 36 wins.