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A Sweet Homecoming
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/26/2014
Game #35
NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal

No. 6/5 Stanford Cardinal (31-3)

- vs. -

No. 14/15 Penn State Nittany Lions (24-7)

Sunday, March 30, 2014 – 1:30 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,233) – Stanford, Calif.

Tournament Seeds: Stanford – 2, Penn State – 3
Series History: Tied 1-1
Last Meeting:Nov. 25, 2001 (Stanford 90, Penn State 68) – Honolulu, Hawaii
TV: ESPN2 (P-x-P: Dave Pasch, Analyst: Debbie Antonelli, Sideline: Brooke Weisbrod)
Webcast: ESPN3 (http://www.espn3.com)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford took care of business in Ames, Iowa to reach the Sweet 16 at home at the Stanford Regional. The Cardinal takes on No. 3 seed Penn State Sunday at 1:30 p.m. PT at Maples Pavilion, with Dave Pasch and Debbie Antonelli on the call and Brooke Weisbrod reporting from the sidelines on ESPN2. The game can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU.

Last Time Out
The Cardinal advanced to its 21st Sweet 16 and seventh in a row with a 63-44 victory over No. 10 seed Florida State Monday night in Ames, Iowa. Trailing 14-6 with 12:33 to go in the first half, Stanford tightened its defense and used its zone to suffocate the Seminoles, limiting Florida State to a 13-for-52 shooting effort from the field after it started 5-for-6. Led by the scoring of Chiney Ogwumike (21 points, nine rebounds), Lili Thompson (14 points), and Bonnie Samuelson (11 points), the Cardinal ended the first half on a 26-2 run to flip the eight-point deficit into a 16-point halftime lead at 32-16. Redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef played a fine all-around game, going for eight points, seven rebounds and five assists while playing tough defense, helping hold Florida State’s leading scorer, Natasha Howard, to just nine points on 4-for-13 shooting.

About Penn State
Penn State (24-7) earned its trip to Stanford with opening-round wins over Wichita State (62-56) and Florida (83-61) at home in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions, with Coquese Washington in her seventh year at the helm, are led by the play of All-America candidate Maggie Lucas (21.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Ariel Edwards (15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg).

All-Time Against Penn State
Stanford and Penn State have split their two all-time meetings, and Sunday’s contest will be the first in NCAA Tournament between the schools. Penn State won the initial meeting, 73-63, back on January 4, 1984, in Miami, then the Cardinal took the second, 90-68, on Nov. 25, 2001 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Against Big Ten
Stanford played one game this season against a Big Ten team, defeating No. 16/22 Purdue, 86-69, on Nov. 26, 2013 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In the NCAA Tournament, Stanford is 6-3 all-time against the Big Ten, most recently defeating Michigan, 73-40, in last year’s second round.

In The Pac-12 Stat Rankings
Through March 25 Stanford ranks in the top three of 13 categories: scoring defense (59.7 - first), scoring margin (+17.6 - first), rebounding margin (+8.4 - first), field-goal percentage (47.1 - first), assists (18.03 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45 - first), scoring offense (77.3 - second), field-goal percentage defense (35.1 - second), 3-point field-goal percentage (36.7 - second), rebounding defense (34.9 - second), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (30.4 - third), defensive rebounding (30.6 drpg - third) and defensive rebounding percentage (71.6 - third). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (26.6 ppg) and field-goal percentage (61.1), and is second in rebounding (12.1 rpg) and blocked shots (1.85 bpg). Mikaela Ruef is fifth in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.86), and 10th in assists (3.24 apg), tops among all Pac-12 posts in the latter two categories. Amber Orrange leads the loop in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.94) and is second in assists (4.59 apg). Lili Thompson (43.8) leads the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage while Bonnie Samuelson (41.9) is third.

In The National Stat Rankings
Through March 25 Stanford ranked in the top 20 of eight categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45 - fourth), field-goal percentage (47.1 - eighth), scoring margin (+17.6 - ninth), assists (18.03 - ninth), field-goal percentage defense (35.1 - 10th), and turnovers per game (12.4 - 14th), rebound margin (+8.2 - 17th), and 3-point field-goal percentage (36.7 - 19th). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (26.6 ppg - third), field-goal percentage (61.1 - fourth), rebounding (12.1 rpg - ninth), and double-doubles (24 - seventh). Amber Orrange’s 2.94 assist-to-turnover ratio is ninth in the country.

Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford is in the middle of its 28th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 27th in a row. Stanford’s 28 tournament bids has the Cardinal alone in third place, passing Louisiana Tech (27) and remaining behind Tennessee, which has appeared in all 33 editions of the NCAA Tournament, and Georgia, which is making its 31st appearance in 2014.

Stanford has reached 11 Final Fours (1990-92, 1995-97, 2008-12), third-most among all schools, and has reached the signature event in five of the past six seasons. This weekend’s action will be Stanford’s 21st appearance in the Sweet 16, and seventh in a row.

Since its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1982, Stanford has won two national championships (1990, 1992), reached the aforementioned 11 Final Fours, 16 Elite Eights, and 21 Sweet 16s.

Stanford As A No. 2 Seed
This year marks the 10th time that the Cardinal has been given a No. 2 seed, and breaks a streak of four straight years (2010-13) in which Stanford had been a No. 1 seed. Stanford received a No. 2 seed three straight years from 2007-09, reaching the Final Four in 2008 and 2009. Overall, the Cardinal has gone on to reach the Final Four as a No. 2 seed four times (1991, 1995, 2008, 2009), defeating the No. 1 seed in the regional final two of those times (Georgia 1991, Maryland 2008).

Stanford At Home In The NCAA Tournament
This weekend’s NCAA Tournament action at Maples Pavilion will mark the fourth time that Stanford has hosted an NCAA Regional (1990, 1994, 2003, 2014). It will also mark the 18th year in which Stanford will play an NCAA Tournament game on its own home court. Over those previous 17 years of hosting NCAA Tournament action, the Cardinal has racked up a record of 28-4 at Maples Pavilion, including a 3-1 mark in regional contests. Stanford went 2-0 in 1990 to reach its first Final Four (and went on to win its first national title), lost in the 1994 Regional Final to Purdue, and did not reach the 2003 Regional rounds. The Cardinal is on an eight-game winning streak at home in tournament play, most recently sweeping last year’s first- and second-round games with wins of 72-56 and 73-40 over Tulsa and Michigan, respectively.

The Stanford Regional Field
The Stanford Regional has the distinction of being the only one of the four 2014 sites in which each of the top-four seeds survived to the Sweet 16. No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 Penn State will open up Sunday’s action at 1:30 p.m. PT, while No. 1 South Carolina and No. 4 North Carolina will match up at approximately 4 p.m. The winners will go on to meet Tuesday night, April 1, at 6 p.m. PT.

Ames Recap
Stanford opened its 2014 NCAA Tournament run with a first- and second-round sweep in Ames, Iowa, defeating No. 15 seed South Dakota 81-62 Saturday and following up with a 63-44 victory over No. 10 seed Florida State Monday night. Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike shot 63.3 percent from the field over the two games, averaging 22.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, while junior forward Bonnie Samuelson was a star off the bench, averaging 14.5 points while going 9-for-18 (50.0 percent) from behind the arc. Freshman guard Lili Thompson shot 45.5 percent from behind the arc and averaged 12.5 points.

Defensively, the Cardinal came through Monday night, suffocating Florida State into just 44 points and a 31.0-percent (18-for-58) showing from the floor. After the Seminoles took a 14-6 lead with 12:33 left in the first half, the Cardinal clamped down, holding Florida State to just two points the rest of the half and to a 13-for-52 shooting effort the rest of the game.

History Against Remaining Regional Teams
Against the remaining four teams in this weekend’s regional Stanford owns a combined record of 8-1. The Cardinal is 1-1 against Sunday’s opponent, Penn State, is 2-0 against North Carolina and 5-0 against No. 1 seed South Carolina. Stanford has played and defeated South Carolina each of the past two seasons, beating the Gamecocks 76-60 in the Fresno Regional Semifinal in 2012, then claiming a 53-49 win in Columbia on December 19, 2012.

Another Smash Hit With “N-E-R-D-S (#NerdAnthem)”
Chiney Ogwumike and the Stanford women’s basketball team did it again this week, becoming the talk of the women’s basketball world Monday morning with the release of “N-E-R-D-S (#NerdAnthem)”, the follow-up to 2012’s hit “Nerd City Kids.” The new single quickly rose in popularity on social media, approaching 26,000 views on YouTube within its first two days live, and being tweeted and retweeted and shared on Facebook by scores of people.

The song is written by Ogwumike and with music by Lee Merritts, and performed by Ogwumike and redshirt sophomore guard Jasmine Camp, with 2Fresh, Hookslide and Bud Anderson. The single is set to become the newest anthem of Stanford Athletics’ “Nerd Movement” ahead of Stanford’s participation in both the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

“This song is a celebration of Stanford’s unique culture, and I felt that with March Madness having arrived for both the women’s and men’s basketball teams, this was the ideal time for this anthem,” Ogwumike said upon the song’s release Monday. “The concept of being a ‘Nerd’ is one in which every student-athlete takes an immense amount of pride, and it is a bonding element to our successes both in the classroom and in the athletic arena. With so many Stanford athletic programs represented in this video, we hope that this anthem serves as our rallying cry not only as we continue to strive for championships, but also approach Finals Week!”

Chiney Ogwumike Against The Top-25
February 14’s 61-35 win over Arizona State improved Stanford’s record against Top-25 teams this season to 8-1, and Sunday’s game against No. 14/15 Penn State will be the team’s 10th. Over those nine games, Stanford’s received great performances from numerous players, most notably national player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike, the only player in the country to rank in the national Top 10 in scoring (26.8 ppg - third), rebounding (12.3 rpg - seventh), field-goal percentage (61.0 - third), and double-doubles (24 - sixth) through March 16. Over nine games against Top-25 teams this year, Ogwumike is averaging 25.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and shooting 59.4 percent with 14 blocked shots.

Bombin’ Bonnie Lights Up Ames
Junior forward Bonnie Samuelson, the Cardinal’s 3-point gunner, brought her show to Ames this past weekend and wowed the crowd with a 9-for-18 (50.0 percent) performance from behind the arc. This included a career high-tying six 3-pointers in Saturday’s opening-round win over South Dakota, and three more Monday against Florida State. Samuelson averaged 14.5 points over the games, both times coming off the bench, and for the season leads the Cardinal with 57 triples. Samuelson’s nine 3-pointers through the opening two rounds of this year’s tournament rank second among all players, behind DePaul’s Megan Rogowski (10).

Backcourt Strength
Stanford’s starting backcourt of junior point guard Amber Orrange and freshman Lili Thompson showed its speed and effectiveness well in Ames. Orrange scored 8.5 points over the two games and ran the Cardinal offense confidently, passing out a total of 13 assists as the offense averaged 21.50 per game. Thompson, who shot a matching 47.1 percent from the field, averaged 12.5 points while going 5-for-11 (45.5) from behind the arc and committing just three turnovers. On the year, the pair combines to average 17.9 points and 6.68 assists per game with a combined assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.26.


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