STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford Women's Basketball closed the 2011-12 season at the same place it closed out the previous four: at the Final Four. Despite the campaign coming to an end with a 59-47 loss to Baylor in the national semifinal, two steps short of a coveted national title, the Cardinal made history as one of just four programs to reach five consecutive Final Fours.
Regardless of the ending, the 2011-12 campaign, much like the previous four, was rich in accomplishments, records broken and moments created.
The Cardinal went 35-2 in 2011-12, a win total that ranks tied for second with the 2007-08 squad for most in program history. Stanford won its 12th consecutive, and 21st overall, Pac-12 regular season title with a perfect record of 18-0 in conference play. That marked the third straight perfect conference season for the Cardinal. Including three Pac-12 Tournament wins that clinched the program's sixth straight and ninth overall tournament crown, Stanford extended its winning streak against Pac-12 foes to a record 78 games.
Speaking of record streaks, Stanford also went 16-0 at Maples Pavilion in 2011-12, extending its program-record run to 79 straight wins at home. That run is now the longest current home winning streak in the nation.
For just the second time in program history, Stanford boasted two WBCA Coaches' All-Americans, as sisters Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike were named to the 10-player team. Sophomore guard Toni Kokenis was recognized on the All-Pac-12 Team, while rookies Taylor Greenfield and Amber Orrange were named Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention.
The Real Ladies Of Maples
The 2011-12 season also featured the Cardinal starring in their own year-long web series, "The Real Ladies of Maples." With sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike capturing plenty of behind-the-scenes moments in the locker room, at the airport, at the hotels and anywhere else the team's adventures took it, Cardinal fans were treated to a chance to see their favorite players and coaches as they've never seen them before.
From preseason workouts to Thanksgiving at the Ruef home in Ohio to "Tebowing" in Colorado to the annual 2-on-2 battle between "Team Tara" and "Team Kate," Stanford women's basketball showed that some relaxation and fun could be mixed into a demanding campaign.
Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
After April 1's national semifinal loss to Baylor, Stanford now owns an all-time record of 69-24 (.742) in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal has won a pair of national titles (1990, 1992), advanced to the Final Four 11 times (third-most all-time), including the past five in a row. Additionally, Stanford has reached 19 Sweet 16s and 16 Elite Eights.
In The National Rankings
Stanford finished the 2011-12 season second in the final regular-season Associated Press Poll, and third in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.
In The National Statistical Rankings
At the end of the 2011-12 season, Stanford ranked in the national top 20 in: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.32 - third), 3-point field-goal defense (24.1 - third), scoring margin (+20.7 - fifth), scoring (76.0 - sixth), turnovers per game (12.6 - fifth), field-goal percentage defense (33.9 - seventh), field-goal percentage (45.6 - eighth), rebounding margin (+9.5 - eighth), assists (16.57 - 13th) and free-throw percentage (76.2 - 15th).
Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike is eighth in the country with 22.5 points a game, eighth with a 54.7 field-goal percentage and 21st with 10.2 rebounds per game. Chiney Ogwumike is fourth with a 58.3 field-goal percentage and 23rd with 10.1 rebounds a game while Toni Kokenis (2.28) is eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio.
In The Pac-12 Statistical Rankings
At the end of the 2011-12 season, Stanford ranked in the Pac-12's top three in: scoring (76.0 ppg - first), scoring margin (+20.7 - first), field goal percentage (45.6 - first), field-goal percentage defense (33.9 - first), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (24.1 - first), free-throw percentage (76.2 - first), defensive rebounding (29.1 - first), assists (16.57 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.32 - first), scoring defense (55.3 ppg - second), rebounding (43.6 - second), rebounding defense (33.9 - second), rebounding margin (+9.5 - second), offensive rebounding (14.5 rpg - second), offensive rebound percentage (40.7 - second), blocked shots (4.78 bpg - third) and turnover margin (+1.4 - third).
Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the conference with 22.5 points per game and an 83.0 free-throw percentage. She was also second with 10.2 rebounds a game and fourth with a 54.7 field-goal percentage. Chiney Ogwumike is second with a 58.3 field-goal percentage and third with 10.1 rebounds a game. Toni Kokenis (2.28) and Amber Orrange (2.00) are 1-2 in assist-to-turnover ratio, while Bonnie Samuelson is second with a 37.3 3-point field-goal percentage.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike Closes One Of Most Dominant Seasons In Stanford History
Senior forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike posted one of the most dominant seasons in Stanford women's basketball history in 2011-12. En route to leading the Cardinal to its fifth straight Final Four, Ogwumike set Stanford single-season benchmarks for points scored (809), scoring average (22.5 ppg), field goals made (307), free throws made (191) and attempted (230) while setting top-three marks in rebounds (368 - third) and rebounding average (10.2 rpg - second).
Those numbers, as well as the leadership and composure shown in leading a young group of Cardinal players to the program's fifth straight Final Four (and 11th overall), helped make Ogwumike a consensus national player of the year finalist and a consensus All-American, being named to the first teams of both the Associated Press and John R. Wooden Award as well as to those of the WBCA and USBWA. Ogwumike also led the Cardinal to a 12th straight Pac-12 title, sixth straight Pac-12 Tournament crown and a third straight 18-0 Pac-12 record. The senior forward, who was named Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second time in her career in March, and was thrice named Pac-12 Player of the Week in 2011-12, also became the second Stanford player to be named the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner in April. In the postseason, she continued her stellar play, earning the Most Outstanding Player award for both the Pac-12 Tournament and Fresno Regional.
Ogwumike's season ended with a Stanford first (no pun intended), as she was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft on April 16, being selected by the Los Angeles Sparks. With the selection, Ogwumike became the first Stanford player taken first overall in the draft's history.
Chiney Ogwumike Explodes Onto The National Scene
The younger half of Stanford's sibling combo, Chiney Ogwumike, had quite the season of her own in 2011-12. Like older sister Nnemkadi, Chiney was named to the WBCA Coaches' All-America Team while also being a finalist for the Wade Trophy and the WBCA's Defensive Player of the Year award. Chiney averaged 15.0 points and 10.1 rebounds a game this year, in addition to ranking fourth nationally with a 58.3 field-goal percentage. In fact, Nnemkadi (22.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg) and Chiney became the just the fourth and fifth Cardinal players to average a double-double in a single season, joining Nicole Powell (2003-04), Jeanne Ruark (1979-80) and Kathy Murphy (1977-78).
In addition to the national honors, Chiney was also named to the All-Pac-12 Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team for the second year in a row, and became the second Stanford player to be named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
The Rise Of Tinkle
The 2011-12 season featured numerous breakout performances among the Cardinal, with one of those key efforts being that of junior forward Joslyn Tinkle. After having started just 12 games over her first two seasons on The Farm, then just two of Stanford's first 14 games of 2011-12, Tinkle broke into the starting lineup full-time and never looked back. On the year the Missoula, Mont. native averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds a game while posting shooting percentages of 47.3/39.7/89.5 (FG/3-Pt. FG/FT) with a team-leading 47 blocks. Tinkle scored at least 20 points three times, while adding a pair of 19-point performances. Starting in place of an injured Nnemkadi Ogwumike in the season opener at Texas on Nov. 11, Tinkle went 6-for-10 from the field, scoring 14 points with six rebounds.
The junior forward continued her strong play during Stanford's NCAA Tournament run, averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a game (both ranking third on the team) while shooting 54.5 percent (18-for-33) from the field (second on the team) and a sizzling 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from 3-point range, tops on the squad. Defensively, Tinkle is led the team with nine blocks during the tournament. She twice scored in double figures in the tournament, netting 16 points in the first-round win over Hampton then going for 13 points and hitting three treys in the regional final win over Duke.
Big Second Year For The Second City Sparkplug
Another breakout performance for Stanford in 2011-12 came from sophomore guard Toni Kokenis, a native of the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. After showing glimpses of her potential as a freshman a year ago, Kokenis nabbed a spot in the starting five as a sophomore and played up to the hype, leading the Pac-12 with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.28, leading the Cardinal with 132 assists and scoring 9.5 points per game. Kokenis' big year led to her being named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the first time in her career. Defensively, Kokenis was a boon for the Cardinal, using her speed and instincts to a team-leading 53 steals and leading the team with 1,121 minutes played. Kokenis recorded 16 double-digit scoring games, including a career-best 26 points in Stanford's 97-80 victory over then-No. 6/6 Tennessee at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 20 and a 23-point effort on 9-of-14 shooting in the 86-61 victory at California to close out the regular season.
Record-Setting Win Streak For The Cardinal
After suffering its first loss of the year in game No. 4, a 68-58 defeat at Connecticut, Stanford would not lose again until its national semifinal defeat to No. 1/1 Baylor. Over that stretch, the Cardinal set a program record by winning 32 straight games, beating the old mark by five games. The streak also marked the fifth straight season in which the Cardinal has put together a run of at least 20 wins.
Welcome To Nerd City
After the success of "I Got Bounce" during last year's NCAA Tournament, Stanford Women's Basketball released its follow-up single "Nerd City Kids" prior to the Pac-12 Tournament in 2011-12. With lyrics written and performed by Stanford's national player of the year and All-America candidates Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike, the track laid down by producer Lee Merritts and the video produced by creative video director Bud Anderson and his crew, "Nerd City Kids" showcases the creativity and unity of the Stanford community while celebrating the tradition of success at Stanford.
With 17 straight Learfield Sports Directors' Cups, given annually to the nation's top intercollegiate athletic program, in its possession, Stanford's students and athletes take pride in their accomplishments both in the classroom and on the playing field. Combining the pride in the academic and athletic accomplishments of its population, the students and athletes have rechristened Stanford as "Nerd City."
Oh Those Freshmen
For 2011-12 Stanford brought in "The Six Pack", otherwise known as the freshman class of Jasmine Camp, Alex Green, Taylor Greenfield, Amber Orrange, Erika Payne and Bonnie Samuelson in 2011-12, one of the largest in program history. Despite two of the rookies (Green and Camp) suffering season-ending injuries in November and December, respectively, there is still plenty of potential ahead as the class returns healthy next season.
Despite playing just eight games, Camp started four of those contests, averaging 3.6 points a game with 17 assists, including a 14-point, three assist outing at Connecticut. Green, meanwhile, saw action against Gonzaga and Old Dominion in November before being sidelined by a torn Achilles' tendon.
The four remaining rookies made great contributions to the Cardinal effort, paced by point guard Amber Orrange. The Houston native ranked second on the team with 112 assists and a 2.00 assist-to-turnover ratio while scoring 4.8 points a game. Orrange broke into the starting lineup full-time on Jan. 12 in Utah, and went on to be named Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention. She saved some her best outings for the NCAA Tournament, scoring a season-high 18 points with seven rebounds with five assists in the second-round win over West Virginia then going for 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting with four assists in the regional final win over Duke. Over the NCAA Tournament, Orrange averaged 9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.00 assists per game.
On the "big" side of things, forwards Greenfield, Payne and Samuelson all contributed to the cause, with Greenfield being named Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention while averaging 3.6 points a game and shooting 35.8 percent from behind the arc. Samuelson, meanwhile, led the team with 44 3-pointers, the third-highest total for a freshman in program history, and was second in the Pac-12 with a 37.3-percent rate. Payne, a local from Concord, shot 50.0 percent from the field and grabbed 1.3 rebounds a game while seeing action in 32 contests.
Stanford Runs Away With All-Pac-12 Awards And Honors
The Pac-12 announced its All-Pac-12 awards and teams March 6, and Stanford came away with the lion's share of honors. Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Player of the Year), Chiney Ogwumike (Defensive Player of the Year) and Tara VanDerveer (Coach of the Year) took home three of the four conference awards, while sophomore guard Toni Kokenis was named to her first All-Pac-12 Team along with the Ogwumikes. Chiney was named to the All-Defensive Team while Nneka and Kokenis were named All-Defensive honorable mention. Rookies Taylor Greenfield and Amber Orrange also earned All-Freshman Team honorable mention.
Nneka's Player of the Year honor is the second of her career (2010), and marks the 16th time a Stanford player has claimed or shared the award. Chiney is the second Stanford player to earn Defensive Player of the Year following Rosalyn Gold-Onwude in 2010, and VanDerveer claimed Coach of the Year for the 12th time.
Since the advent of Pac-12 women's basketball in 1986-87, Stanford has been far and away the class of the conference in terms of victories and end-of-season awards and honors. After clinching a share of the Pac-12 title Feb. 16 at Oregon State and outright Feb. 18 at Oregon, the Cardinal has now won outright or shared the regular-season title 21 times out of a possible 26, while the next team on the list, Washington, has won the conference title just three times. Stanford has also dominated the Pac-12 Tournament, capturing nine of the 11 tournament titles since the inaugural draw in 2002. Currently, Stanford has won a record 78 straight games against its Pac-12 foes (including Pac-12 Tournament contests) dating back to Jan. 22, 2009. The team's 725-137 (.841) overall mark since 1986-87 and 410-58 (.876) mark in Pac-12 play (both through the end of 2011-12) are both by far the top marks in the conference.
On the awards and honors side of things, the Cardinal again out-paces its opponents. Following the announcement of the 2012 Pac-12 honors, a Stanford player has won or shared the Pac-10 Player of the Year award 16 of 26 times since 1986-87, won the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award eight times, the Pac-10 Defender of the Year award twice and head coach Tara VanDerveer has been honored as the conference's coach of the year on 12 occasions, with current associate head coach Amy Tucker and Marianne Stanley sharing the honor in 1995-96 while VanDerveer was on sabbatical coaching the U.S. Olympic Team.
Stanford players have captured a conference-best 84 Pac-10/Pac-12 Player of the Week honors through the end of the 2011-12 regular season. Finally, the Cardinal leads the conference with 58 All-Pac-10 first-team selections.
Seniors Leave With Another Final Four
Stanford's Class of 2012 of Sarah Boothe, Lindy La Rocque, Grace Mashore and Nnemkadi Ogwumike etched its name into Cardinal lore in 2011-12, becoming just the second class (following the Class of 2011) to both go undefeated at Maples Pavilion as well as make the Final Four all four years. This class, which has also won four conference titles, has led the Cardinal to a 137-12 record (.920).
Center Sarah Boothe, despite missing the 12 games up until March due to injury, averaged 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds over 10.4 minutes a game as a valuable reserve behind the Ogwumike sisters. Boothe's size and reach also led to her blocking 17 shots. In the NCAA Tournament, Boothe scored four points with three blocks in the first-round win over Hampton, and went on to give the Cardinal strong minutes against West Virginia and Baylor.
Guard Lindy La Rocque finishes her career with 111 3-pointers made over 138 games played, with 43 of those being starts. In 2011-12, La Rocque started 11 of 36 games, averaging 3.6 points a game while hitting 33 3-pointers and passing out 84 assists, both third-best on the team.
Fellow guard Grace Mashore saw action in 22 games this season. Mashore provided memorable moments for the Cardinal and fans by closing out Senior Day with a 3-pointer on Feb. 25, then hitting the final two free throws of Stanford's 81-69 regional final victory over Duke on March 26 to send the Cardinal to its fifth straight Final Four.
Coming Back Strong In 2012-13
Two Cardinal players who will look to return strong for 2012-12 will be junior guard Sara James and redshirt junior Mikaela Ruef. Both players battled foot issues this season, with Ruef being sidelined all season save for three games in November. James, meanwhile, averaged 1.5 points and hit 10 3-pointers over 31 appearances for the Cardinal, including outings of nine points against Old Dominion on Nov. 17 and eight points and a pair of treys at Oregon State on Feb. 16.
Stanford Will Take Nation's Longest Home Winning Streak Into 2012-13
Stanford Women's Basketball took ownership of the longest running home winning streak in the nation back on Feb. 18, and with Feb. 29's 76-52 win over Seattle University, ended the 2011-12 home season with the streak at 79 games. The Cardinal has now posted five straight undefeated home seasons, and went 16-0 at Maples Pavilion in 2011-12.
Against Oregon State on Jan. 7, Nneka became Stanford's fourth (and the Pac-12's eighth) member of the "2,000-Point/1,000-Rebound" Club, achieving both marks during the game. She joined Jayne Appel (2006-10), Nicole Powell (2000-04) and Val Whiting (1989-93) in that class.
Ogwumike ends her career second on Stanford's all-time scoring list with 2,491 career points, and her career scoring average stands fourth at 17.2 points per game.
Ogwumike's total of 1,226 rebounds finished third on Stanford's career list. In addition, her 58.3 field-goal percentage is second in the Stanford record book.
Nneka also became Stanford's all-time leader in free-throw attempts on March 10 against California in the Pac-12 title game and ended her career with 718 free-throw attempts. She also finished second on Stanford's career list with 555 free throws made, just one behind Wiggins' mark of 556.
On a single-season level, Nneka's 809 points in 2011-12 broke Candice Wiggins' 2007-08 total of 787 for the highest in Stanford history. Her 22.5 scoring average is tops on the Stanford single-season list, while her 368 rebounds were third in a single-season, eight back of her own record of 376 set in 2009-10.
Younger sister Chiney Ogwumike finished just two rebounds from the mark, ending the year with 374 boards. Junior forward Joslyn Tinkle's free-throw percentage of 89.5 percent finished second behind Louise Smith's 1979-80 mark of 89.6.
VanDerveer Earns Win No. 700 At Stanford
On Feb. 25, head coach Tara VanDerveer became just the seventh Division I head coach to win 700 games with one school as Stanford defeated Utah, 69-42. With the win, VanDerveer joined Pat Summitt (Tennessee, 1975-Present), Jody Conradt (Texas, 1977-2007), Andy Landers (Georgia, 1980-Present), Geno Auriemma (Connecticut, 1986-Present), Robin Selvig (Montana, 1979-Present) and Debbie Ryan (Virginia, 1978-2011) in the elite club.
VanDerveer Named To USBWA's National Coach Of The Year Watch List
Head coach Tara VanDerveer was named to the USBWA's National Coach of the Year Watch List March 1, joining nine other coaches from around the nation. This season, VanDerveer guided a youthful Stanford squad to a No. 2 national ranking, a 35-2 overall record and the inaugural Pac-12 title, the program's 12th straight conference crown and 21st overall. Under VanDerveer's guidance, sisters Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike were national player of the year and All-America candidates, while guard Toni Kokenis and Joslyn Tinkle enjoyed breakout seasons.
Ogwumikes Named John R. Wooden Award Finalists
Stanford's sister combo of Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike were named to the 15-player final ballot for the John R. Wooden Award Wednesday morning. Nneka, one of the leading candidates for national player of the year, ranks in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage, while younger sister Chiney has put together a big season averaging 15.4 points and 10.1 rebounds while shooting 58.5 percent from the field, fifth-best in the nation.
Chiney Ogwumike Recognized For Academic Achievement
Off the court, Stanford and sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike earned yet another accolade, being named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII Team. Owner of a 3.46 grade-point average, Ogwumike was joined on the team by fellow Pac-12 players Amanda Johnson (Oregon) and Taryn Wicijowski (Utah) as well as Rebecca Dew of Hawai'i and Kate Kevorken of Nevada.