Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - March 30, 2012

The honors continue for Nneka Ogwumike

Stanford senior makes her third All-American team while compiling one of the most dominant seasons in program history

by Rick Eymer

Stanford senior forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike is well on her way to be a consensus All-American in basketball after being named to the USBWA and John R. Wooden Award teams on Wednesday.

Ogwumike now has been named to three All-America teams in just two days. Tuesday she was unanimously voted to the Associated Press All-America first team, while younger sister Chiney was named to the second team.

Wednesday's selections also make Ogwumike a three-time USBWA (2010-12) and John R. Wooden Award (2010-12) All-American.

Ogwumike and Stanford (35-1) head to the program's fifth straight Final Four this weekend, putting the Cardinal's program-record 32-game winning streak on the line against Baylor on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The 2011-12 season that Ogwumike has put together is one of the most, if not the most, dominant in Stanford women's basketball history. The Cypress, Texas native was named Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second time in her career, as well as the Most Outstanding Player of both the Pac-12 Tournament and Fresno Regional.

She enters Sunday's national semifinal averaging 22.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game with shooting percentages of 55.4 from the field and 83.1 from the free-throw line. Over Stanford's four NCAA Tournament wins she has averaged 28.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.11 assists and shot 65.1 percent from the field and 82.9 percent from the line.

Already this year Ogwumike holds the holds the highest single-season scoring average (22.5) in school history and on Monday night tied Candice Wiggins' scoring record with 787 points.

She became Stanford's fourth and the Pac-12's eighth member of the "2,000-Point/1,000-Rebound Club" on Jan. 7 against Oregon State, achieving both marks on that day. Ogwumike currently stands second in Stanford history with 2,469 points, a 58.4 field-goal percentage and 551 free throws made, third with 1,217 rebounds and fourth with 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Ogwumike has also posted 19 double-doubles, 20 games with at least 20 points and five games of at least 30 points. Her top scoring effort this year came on Dec. 20 against then-No. 6/6 Tennessee, when she scored a career-high 42 points with 17 rebounds in Stanford's 97-80 win.

She is also a consensus national player of the year finalist, in contention for the Wade Trophy (along with sister Chiney), John R. Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, and national player of the year awards of the Associated Press and USBWA.

The USBWA will announce its National Player of the Year on April 3, while the John R. Wooden Award will be announced Friday, April 6 in Los Angeles.

Chiney Ogwumike, meanwhile, was named one of five finalists for the WBCA Division I Defensive Player of the Year award, the WBCA announced Monday.

Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year on March 6, becoming the second player to claim the honor. She was also named to the All-Pac-12 Team as well as to the conference's All-Defensive Team.

Men's basketball

Stanford played for the NIT Championship on Thursday night against Minnesota in New York's Madison Square Garden after Anthony Brown scored a season-high 18 points to help beat Massachusetts, 74-64, Tuesday night in the semifinals.

(For results of the championship game, go to www.pasportsonline.com)

Josh Owens added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal (25-11), which played for its second NIT title against the Gophers, who knocked off Pac-12 regular-season champ Washington, 68-67, in overtime to reach the title game.

Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle, the latter of whom was in foul trouble much of the second half, combined for another 25 points against UMass, including an 11 of 13 effort from the foul line, and six assists.

Randle, despite playing with four fouls, remained aggressive and was able to make significant contributions in tandem with Bright.

"It's been great," Bright said. "Guys are tapping into their ability and finding their niche. We're realizing what we can be for next year. This is a nice building block."

Stanford also beat Massachusetts in the semifinals of the 1991 postseason NIT en route to its championship victory over Oklahoma.

Brown hit a 3-pointer with 2:52 remaining to play to put the Cardinal up, 63-55. He was wide open thanks to the threat of Randle driving to the basket before dishing off.

"He played great," Bright said of Brown. "When he gets into that mode and his jump shot is going, he's a great player. He just needs to be consistent."

Stanford is 11-1 in games Brown has reached double figures. The Cardinal is 12-4 all-time at Madison Square Garden.

"He had great looks and confidence," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He really stepped up and did it for us."

Stanford went on a 12-2 run to take a 28-16 lead midway through the first half, with Bright and Randle responsible for 10 of the points.

The Cardinal took a 36-33 lead into halftime. Stanford grad Landry Fields, who plays with Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks, was in attendance.

Comments

Posted by Bruiser, a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:34 am

Guess what happened when the bear invited the
cardinal to dinner?


Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

Great article. It's such a joy to watch the Cardinal women play basketball and Nneka is just an amazing human being as well as an amazing athlete.


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