NCAA

Stanford women beat Duke 81-69 to reach Final Four

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Stanford women beat Duke 81-69 to reach Final Four

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FRESNO -- Nnemkadi Ogwumike hoisted the regional championship trophy high into the air with both arms and showed it off for all the Stanford fans to see.Not quite a Mile High. She hopes that comes next.Ogwumike will end her sensational senior season right where she has the rest: at the Final Four. In Denver this time.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 straight Final Four berth."This started before I even came to Stanford. I always wanted to be part of the culture," she said. "This never gets old. Not a lot of teams get to say that they've gone. For me to get to say I've been on four times, that's a lot to ask for."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.They all hope there will be one more piece of hardware to haul home to The Farm before Nneka Ogwumike is through.Bring on Brittney Griner and unbeaten Baylor (38-0)."We would love to hoist that trophy up a mile high," Chiney Ogwumike said. "Coach is like, anything's possible, you never know, don't count us out.'"RATTO: The Van Derveer Era defines 'The tedious monotony of victory'
Stanford (35-1), looking for the program's first national title since 1992, will play Sunday night against the Lady Bears at the Pepsi Center."We don't get the chance often to be an underdog and totally overlooked," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said.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."It was a good run," SeIby said. "I think this one probably hurt the most. When you're a sophomore or junior, it's, Oh, you have next year.' I have no next year. Hopefully I can say I left something with them that will help them for next year."The projected No. 1 pick in the 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."It was unfortunate for us. We tried to defend the inside and the outside. They hit some nice shots," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said.Stanford boasted a strong rooting section that made the three-hour trip from the Bay Area to the Save Mart Center, including Cardinal football coach David Shaw and his wife, Kori. The couple sat alongside former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.In a matchup dubbed "nerd on nerd" by Chiney Ogwumike for the schools' rigorous academic standards, Stanford's smart girls aced their latest final. But this group has its sights set on winning two more to make good on the most important test and give Hall of Fame 26th-year coach VanDerveer another long-awaited championship.Just as she has wanted all season during a challenging schedule featuring games with Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas and Xavier, VanDerveer got contributions from most everybody in a balanced effort.Joslyn Tinkle knocked down two 3-pointers in the opening five minutes and also made an early steal, then hit another 3 with 4:26 left that put Stanford ahead by 13. She finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.On Saturday, Nneka Ogwumike almost single handedly carried the load, scoring 39 points in a 76-60 regional semifinal win over South Carolina."What I really liked about this game is we got contributions from different people," VanDerveer said.Gray, with another 50 or so family and friends cheering the guard who grew up about 75 miles north in Stockton, converted a three-point play with 10:46 remaining to pull Duke within 52-44, but the Cardinal answered yet again. Toni Kokenis rolled in a 3 on the other end.Selby, who had a quiet night until midway through the second half, made a three-point play with 9:48 to go to keep her team close. But Duke missed three key scoring opportunities the next time down.The Blue Devils switched to a zone in the second half after that same move worked so well in a 74-47 rout of St. John's, but Orrange and Kokenis successfully drove and dished - and they also handled Duke's trap press. Kokenis had eight of Stanford's 21 assists."First, we allowed them to get 81 points. We're not going to beat a team if it doesn't start on defense," Gray said. "They're a very strong group. If one doesn't have the shot the other one is looking for them."Elizabeth Williams, Duke's star 6-foot-3 freshman playing with a stress fracture in her lower right leg, quickly scored to make it 48-39. She scored 12 points while playing much of the game in foul trouble.Stanford got a scare with 6:51 left in the first half when Nneka Ogwumike scored on a drive to make it 30-16 and then turned into Kathleen Scheer's right elbow. She briefly went down and took a seat for all of 1:23.Stanford began the game 7 for 11 and had assists on each of those baskets, and the Cardinal limited Duke to one attempt thanks to Chiney Ogwumike's six rebounds in the opening 8 12 minutes. Stanford held a 9-3 rebounding advantage after getting outboarded 38-36 against South Carolina two nights earlier. That became a focus for both teams in this game.Duke was held to just 39.7 percent from the field, going 3 for 14 from 3-point range. That was a big change for a Blue Devils team that had shot above 50 percent in the first half of its previous six games, and went 53.7 percent overall Saturday night to follow up its season-best 65.6-percent performance from the field in a 96-80 second-round win over Vanderbilt in which they dished out 28 assists.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

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AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report