Stanford, after that scare with Xavier, did you have to make this one so close? This, of course, being the Stanford Women’s basketball team’s Final Four win over Oklahoma to advance to the National Championship game. We looked in large and in charge, thanks to Nneka Ogwumike’s fourteen first half points and nine rebounds. Stanford center Jayne Appel is still bothered by her sore ankle, and it hindered her movements around the basket on offense.
Then, in the second half Stanford bogged down. They missed their threes, making one, one out of fifteen tries! (And what was Nneka doing taking a three? And the box score says she took two three-point attempts). They missed their free throws, nine of them, which is very uncharacteristic of us (although Nneka went 12-13 from the line, tying a final four record for FTs made). And they let the two speedy Oklahoma guards slash in for points and left some shooters open for threes. And that let Oklahoma get within three with 46 seconds left. But Nneka to the rescue to lead Stanford to a 73-66 victory.
All though it Nneka kept shooting. She would score a career-high 38 points. However, she was 13 for 25 from the field. Her 38 points broke an NCAA record for a National Semifinal game, also second most in a final four (The first? None other then the 47 by Sheryl Swoopes of Texas Tech in the 1993 National Championship Game.). Nneka would score 24 in the second half, setting an NCAA record for most in a half in a National Semifinal game and tied for most in a half in a final four (tying the same said Sheryl Swoopes).
Yes, Nneka had a record performing night, including that soccer throw-in to Jayne Appel for the lay up, and that break away lay up fed by Kayla Pedersen’s baseball pass from the baseline with, what, 15 seconds left. But one could argue she didn’t get much help from her supporting cast. Jayne had 13 and Kayla had 12 points. Although Kayla does so many intangibles, including being the go to person when they pressure us. The rest of the team had 10 points, We will have to score more to beat our next opponent…
Scary moment when Nneka elevated in the air and the Oklahoma player started to box her out and stick her back side into her, not realizing Nneka was still elevating in the air. The Oklahoma players’s backside totally undercut her and Nneka went down face first to the hard wood. She landed mostly on her shoulder and face. She sat out a minute or two to ice her hip (?) but came back in to score more points. The refs looked at the tape to see if it was a flagrant undercutting. They correctly ruled it wasn’t, but that goes to show you women’s players don’t expect other players to elevate as much as Nneka does. Glad she was okay and C and R hope she will be ready for the National Title Game with the opponent who shall not be named.
And how ‘bout that officiating? As in it was horrible. So many hands hit while shooting and not called. Last game you so much as touched a person and got a foul called. Heck, Jayne’s fifth foul to put her out of the game, she rested her hands on another player’s back. Now, you could hit, hit, hit, and not get a call.
For those of you who saw the game on the TV, didn’t you love Ros, not once, but twice, admitting she was a total diva? (And C and R are sure that was Jeanette’s bucket o’ nail polish, not Ros’). And what about the fancy dressed young ladies who would whirlwind into basketball players? Kinda cute!
In the second game, Baylor faced off against UConn. When Baylor followed C’s plan and got it to Brittney Griner, they did well. But they didn’t do it often enough. Granted Baylor got within five in the second half before losing by 20. Okay, so C and R are totally impressed with UConn’s Maya Moore. She is something else. Okalahoma did not have an answer for Nneka Ogwumike tonight, but no one has an answer for Maya Moore on any night.
Stanford’s reward for winning the semifinal game is playing UConn.
More Stanford Stuff (but not UConn) at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog