Women's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Stanford Region Elite Eight Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament Stanford Regional Elite Eight Breakdown


#2 Stanford vs. #4 North Carolina (Palo Alto, California)

The Stanford Cardinal, while having to deal with the NCAA mandated court on their home floor at Maples Pavilion, put last year’s Sweet 16 exit in the rear view mirror and eliminated third-seeded Penn State 82-57 on Sunday afternoon. Chiney Ogwumike secured her 25th double-double of the season as she scored 29 points and gathered 15 rebounds to pace the Cardinal. Ogwumike had plenty of help on Sunday as Senior Forward Mikaela Ruef added 11 points and 13 rebounds. That double-double by Ruef was an absolutely huge factor for the Cardinal as the Nittany Lions had no way to contain both Ogwumike and Ruef down in the paint.  Another encouraging sign from this performance by the Cardinal was how they responded when down 23-21 late in the first half and blitzed Penn State with a 23-7 run to end the first half. On the defensive end of the court the unsung hero for Stanford was Lili Thompson as she shut down the Nittany Lions Maggie Lucas, one of the better scoring guards in the nation. Thompson limited Lucas to 3 of 14 shooting from the floor and to just six points for the game including a scoreless second half.

North Carolina comes into the Elite Eight on a high note after taking care of their Border War rival top-seeded South Carolina 65-58 in the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday. The Tar Heels are a team on a mission with the potential of their head coach Sylvia Hatchell being available to return to the bench if North Carolina advanced to the Final Four in Nashville. The Tar Heels super freshman Diamond DeShields had one of those storybook type performances as she went down with an ankle injury early in the contest that could have very easily left her out for the game. But DeShields would have none of that as she battled her way to 19 points and led another overall excellent team defensive effort. North Carolina as a team once again held another opponent under 60 points and limited the Gamecocks to just 37.7 percent shooting from the floor. The unsung hero for the Tar Heels was forward Stephanie Mavunga as scored 13 points and was a force on the glass with nine rebounds.

This matchup between Stanford and North Carolina has the potential to be a great game on Tuesday night. You have a Cardinal looking the ride the home court advantage back to the Final Four and is led by one of the best players in the country in Ogwumike. On the other hand you have a Tar Heel team that has a bit of a team of destiny feel playing for a cause that transcends basketball in looking to get reunited with coach Hatchell. Then, you have the factor of a very fearless freshman in DeShields who has shown no fear of the NCAA Tournament stage. If Stanford gets outstanding balance like they did against Penn State they will move on to the Final Four by about seven to ten points. If North Carolina can take away everyone else besides Ogwumike they are going to have an excellent opportunity to win and get the potential storybook finish of playing for coach Hatchell in the Final Four.


Tournament Central