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SPOKANE, Wash. -- As good as Courtney Vandersloot is, and make no mistake about it, she's really, really, really good, the fact is that there is only one of her.
But Stanford has two Ogwumikes, sisters Nneka and Chiney, and they are turning into the unstoppable forces of women's college basketball.
Gonzaga's inability to find any answer for the super-duper siblings cost the Bulldogs a chance at a historic trip to the Final Four. And it enabled Stanford to go to its fourth in a row.
The Ogwumike sisters combined for 41 points and 26 rebounds and propelled Stanford to an 83-60 victory on Monday.
This win completes the circle for Stanford's seniors, who went to their first Final Four out of this region in 2008 when Candice Wiggins led the way.
This was not the same kind of giddy, ecstatic celebration of that night. Stanford was efficient and business-like in dispatching of the upstart Bulldogs, as if to prove the point that they were really the better team all along, no matter how loud the crowd at Spokane Arena cheered against them.
Turns out, it wasn't that loud, at least not for that long.
|Freshmen Chiney Ogwumike, one of three Cardinal players on the all-regional team, shot 7-for-14 for 18 points in 26 minutes.|
The Ogwumikes, who have collected a combined total of 143 points and 69 rebounds in four tournament games, made sure of that.
Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves had been asked the day before the game what a coach can do to neutralize the sisters, two of the most explosive and athletic players to come along in a very long time.
He didn't have the answer on Sunday, and he didn't have it on Monday, either, when the twosome torched his team inside the paint. Nneka, a junior, was 9-of-11 from the floor for 23 points. Chiney, the freshman, was 7-of-14 for 18 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Their combined 26 rebounds were more than the Bulldogs' team total of 25.
"They are just a unique combination of strength and obviously skill, but it is the quickness with which they attack the ball on the boards that's just phenomenal," Graves said. "We just, honestly, we're not there yet to be able to match up with these kind of teams that have that kind of strength and athleticism."
Graves said it would have taken a perfect game from his upstart team -- the highest seed ever to reach the Elite Eight -- to beat Stanford on this night.
"We obviously didn't do it [Monday], but they are unique players," Graves said.
That's just the way Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer likes it.
In Nneka she has "the analyzer," a thoughtful, more methodical player who sometimes has to be coaxed to show her more aggressive side.
Chiney, on the other hand, is the buoyant, effusive one who wears every ounce of her enthusiasm on her sleeve. And brings it all out onto the floor.
"It actually got to a point [Monday] where we were telling her to calm down," Nneka said after the game. "Because she was a little out of control at some points. But it's OK, because she was making aggressive moves."
VanDerveer said the sisters feed off one another. She's hoping they keep doing it for two more games.
"[Monday night] Nneka said, 'Give me the ball, I'm going to the basket.' And then it's contagious," VanDerveer said. "Chiney did the same thing. I thought Chiney had a great game and a great tournament."