FRESNO, Calif. — Nnemkadi Ogwumike will end her sensational senior season right where she has the rest: at the Final Four.
Ogwumike made it happen on both ends of the floor with 29 points and nine rebounds Monday night despite constant double-teams, sending top-seeded Stanford past No. 2 seed Duke 81-69 in the Fresno Regional final for the Cardinal’s fifth consecutive Final Four berth.
Little sister, Chiney, did plenty to seal the Denver trip, too – along with everybody else.
Chiney Ogwumike grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 12 points and freshman Amber Orrange came through with 13 points and four assists as the Cardinal extended their school-record winning streak to 32 games.
Nneka Ogwumike is headed back to the Final Four in her NCAA Tournament farewell with that elusive championship still in reach. Stanford (35-1), looking for the program’s first title since 1992, will play Sunday night against Brittney Griner and unbeaten Baylor (38-0) at the Pepsi Center.
Chelsea Gray had 23 points, four rebounds and four assists and Shay Selby scored 11 in her final college game for Duke (27-6), which fell short of reaching the program’s first Final Four since 2006.
The Blue Devils never got clicking on offense the way they had in their three NCAA wins.
The projected No. 1 pick in this summer’s WNBA Draft, Nneka Ogwumike scored in the paint, on the perimeter, on leaping putbacks and even by knocking down a pretty 10-foot turnaround jumper late in the first half as the Cardinal built a comfortable 40-25 lead at the break.
Stanford has its sights set on winning two more to make good on the most important test and give Hall of Fame 26th-year coach Tara VanDerveer another long-awaited trophy for the case back on The Farm.
Elizabeth Williams, Duke’s star 6-foot-3 freshman playing with a stress fracture in her lower right leg, scored 12 points while playing much of the game in foul trouble.