March 26, 2013
Tinkle's sharp shooting made it one of the best all season for the top-seeded Cardinal.
"It was kind of one of those days when you wake up and you feel good," Tinkle said.
She connected for a career-high five 3-pointers on the way to 21 points in her last hurrah at Maples Pavilion, and the Cardinal used a spectacular perimeter shooting performance to rout No. 8 seed Michigan 73-40 on Tuesday night for a spot in the Spokane Regional semifinals.
For months, VanDerveer has been challenging Tinkle and Stanford's supporting cast to take the pressure off Chiney Ogwumike.
"Before the game, emotions were high and energy was insane," Tinkle said. "We played really well and had fun doing it. It's really what we needed to keep advancing in this tournament. It's something we've tried to strive for and push for all season. It can't just be the Chiney show every night."
Still, Ogwumike wound up with 12 points and 15 rebounds in a game when the Cardinal's shooters did their part just as VanDerveer has been hoping they would.
Sara James shut down Michigan star Kate Thompson and scored nine points, and Stanford (33-2) won its 19th straight game to set up a matchup with fourth-seeded Georgia on Saturday and move a step closer to the program's goal of a sixth straight Final Four.
"It was just a collective sigh of relief," Ogwumike said. "As a post player, this is the best thing, having guards hitting shots. We're so unselfish, almost to a fault. I think it was a great moment for our team, a great confidence booster. We've always had great shooters."
Jenny Ryan scored 11 points in her final college game to lead Michigan (22-11), which matched its second-lowest scoring output all season.
Tinkle, Stanford's lone senior, shot 7 for 10 and made all of her 3-point attempts as the Cardinal hit a season-best 12 3s. She also had six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Spokane is a comfortable Northwest second home for Stanford considering the Cardinal played there in the 2008 NCAA regional and again in 2011 - and now this season, too.
Ogwumike will lead them back.
The Pac-12 Player of the Year scored 29 points in a hard-fought 72-56 first-round win against No. 16 seed Tulsa on Sunday, when Stanford used a 48-point and 65.5-percent shooting second half to advance.
While Ogwumike set the tone on the boards Tuesday, she watched the shooters get on an early roll that lasted all 40 minutes.
"Obviously, she's a superstar, but the rest of them are great basketball players as well," Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. "If they continue to play that way, they can challenge for the national championship."
Stanford made seven of its first 11 3-pointers and finished 12 for 25 while holding one of the nation's best long-range shooters - Thompson - in check on the other end. The Cardinal shot 53.8 percent overall to 29.2 percent by the Wolverines, and Stanford held a 35-22 rebounding advantage.
Bonnie Samuelson came off the bench to hit back-to-back 3s late in the first half, and Tinkle's 3-pointer at the 14:09 mark of the second half put Stanford up by 30.
Even when the Wolverines had high-percentage scoring chances, they struggled. During one sequence early in the second half, Sam Arnold missed a layup, grabbed her own rebound and missed again.
Cold-shooting Michigan, which beat ninth-seeded Villanova 60-52 in the first round, couldn't overcome Thompson being thoroughly shut down.
The 6-foot-4 wing player, with her 14.5-point average and 39.3-percent shooting from 3-point range, missed her first 10 shots, making five free throws before hitting her lone basket with 3:41 to play. She was 1 for 11 overall and missed all six of her 3-point tries.
James knew that if she even allowed a single 3, "I was coming out."
"I knew it was my job," she said.
Barnes Arico was sent home in the second round by Stanford for the second time in three years. Her St. John's team lost 75-49 on the Cardinal's home floor in 2011.
This time, Stanford overpowered Michigan on both ends to win its eighth straight home game in the NCAA tournament since a stunning second-round defeat to Florida State in 2007.
"Oh my goodness, golly, it wasn't easy, on their home court and the last game for some," Barnes Arico said. "Tinkle, she was on fire in her last game."
The Wolverines' starting lineup featuring four seniors couldn't pull off the same kind of upset the school's volleyball team did at Berkeley in December to deny the favored Cardinal a trip to the Final Four.
Stanford made five of its initial eight shots and jumped to an early 6-2 edge on the boards - five by Ogwumike alone - for a 13-5 lead at the 14:36 mark of the first half.
From the opening tip, Thompson faced swarming defense from James with and without the ball and struggled to get shots, let alone uncontested looks. Thompson airballed her first 3-point try from the baseline as the Wolverines began the game 3 for 10, and Stanford had already hit four 3s and made eight of 11 shots to take a 21-7 lead.
Thompson shot another airball under pressure early in the second half and quickly missed again from long range on the left wing.