As expected, the big difference in the North Carolina Tar Heels' upset bid against the Stanford Cardinal last night was rebounding - their ability to fight on the offensive boards earned them second chance scoring opportunities, which made an enormous difference.
The problem, also as expected, was that Stanford forward Nneka Ogwumike came up big down the stretch and then younger sister Chiney gave them a late boost to win 72-65.
Fast Break Club On The Road: Through the wringer
It basically was a two-point game for the final 10 minutes. And then those wonderful Ogwumike sisters came through, scoring 12 crucial points between them as the clock ran down. There was less than a minute to play before Chiney increased the lead to 4 points and for the first time North Carolina did not answer back. Jeanette missed all but one of her shots from the field during the course of the game, but she fortunately was the player the Tar Heels fouled in desperation and Jeanette was able to put the game beyond reach with her free throws in the last 30 seconds.
Also in something of a familiar pattern, Stanford's versatile forward Kayla Pedersen had a quietly big impact on the game with 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks and no turnovers. Pedersen is consistently the "glue player" that holds this team together.
With the win, Stanford will face Gonzaga at 6 p.m. PST at Spokane Arena in a rematch of an early-season contest down the road at McCarthey Athletic Center.