Stanford Defeats Aztecs in NCAA Tournament

March 23, 2009

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SAN DIEGO - Freshman Nnemkadi Ogwumike dominated inside with career highs of 27 points and 13 rebounds to lead the No. 2-seeded Cardinal to a 77-49 win over San Diego State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday night.

The next road trip for Stanford, which has won 18 consecutive games, will be across San Francisco Bay to Berkeley for a regional semifinal matchup against third-seeded Ohio State on Saturday.

The Cardinal (31-4) is forging a new identity without Candice Wiggins, the All-American guard who left after carrying Stanford to last year's national championship game, a 64-48 loss to Tennessee.

This Cardinal team is deep and big, with Ogwumike and Pac-10 Player of the Year Jayne Appel anchoring one of the country's best frontcourts.

Ogwumike rarely missed Monday night. She was 8-for-10 from the field and 11-for-13 from the line. Her previous career-highs were 19 points against Fresno State on Dec. 13 and 12 rebounds at Tennessee on Dec. 22.

Appel had 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 6:42 left. Jillian Harmon scored 12 and Jeanette Pohlen 11 for the Cardinal. Stanford outrebounded SDSU 49-24.

No. 10 seed San Diego State (24-8) had been undefeated in 15 games at Cox Arena this season and saw its overall home winning streak of 17 games snapped. The Aztecs (24-8) have never advanced beyond the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Jene Morris scored 14 points for the Aztecs and Quenese Davis had 13.

The Aztecs were able to keep up with the Cardinal for about eight minutes, thanks to Morris and Davis, who each hit a 3-point shot. Davis' two free throws tied the game at 16 with 13:54 left.

After that, it was all Cardinal.

Stanford, which already was establishing its inside game, quickly jumped ahead 24-16, with Appel scoring inside, on a jump hook from the baseline and making two free throws, along with a steal and layup by Harmon.

Davis stole the ball and fed Morris for a layup, but Stanford scored the next seven points to take a 31-18 lead. Ogwumike had a three-point play and grabbed the ball after she had a shot block and put it in.

Leading 38-26 at halftime, Stanford made the first four baskets of the second half, three by Harmon.

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