April 09, 2014

Postseasons of the past, 1997-2014

By Dave Cortesi

Remember when Nicole Powell drove, turned, and dished to Kelly Suminski who fired a game-winning trey to eliminate Vanderbilt? Remember when Susan King-Borchardt led a defensive effort that took UConn out of the tournament? Remember Jayne Appel setting a scoring record? Remember Nicole Powell getting triple-doubles in back-to-back games?

Sure you do.

But what year did those things happen? And where were those games played?

Questions like these during the recent post-season inspired me to compile this article of 18 consecutive years of post-season play, including appearances at two Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights, and seven Final Fours. Which of these games do you remember? Which ones did you attend? (The link in each paragraph goes to a game recap where you can find a longer description, a box score, and sometimes pictures.)


The NCAA Selection Committee decided to surprise Taylor Greenfield with a trip to her home town, sending the Cardinal to Ames, Iowa to play the first and second rounds. In the first round the Cardinal handled the University of South Dakota Coyotes easily for an 81-62 win, highlighted by Bonnie Samuelson's six treys.

Two hours earlier, Florida State defeated the host team. This was significant because it silenced the University of Iowa Cyclones' 10,000 vocal, local fans for the next game. In that second round game Florida State started fast and Stanford was trailing 11 minutes into the first half. Then they clamped down the defense and went on a 22-2 run, and won 63-44.

The next games were at Maples. In the Sweet Sixteen game Stanford defeated Penn State 82-57 behind 29 points from Chiney Ogwumike and 18 from Amber Orrange. The story of the game was how Lili Thompson's dogged defense held Penn State's All-American senior Maggie Lucas to 15 points fewer than her season average.

The Elite Eight game against North Carolina was, in the opinion of many, the most thrilling game they'd watched since the defeat of UConn in 2010. Maples was packed and roaring; the lead changed several times and the game was tied with less than 3 minutes to play before clutch free throws by Bonnie Samuelson ended it 74-65. Mikaela Ruef had a career game, hitting three threes (bringing her career total to eight) and was named Tournament MVP.

Off to Nashville for the Final Four! In the first Semifinal, Stanford faced arch-nemesis UConn. They opened well, holding a slim lead through much of the first half and trailing only by four at the half. But in the second half UConn woke up and quickly put the game out of reach, beating Stanford 76-57.


In the first round at Maples, Stanford got a momentary scare from the hustling defense of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane but took control for a 72-56 win. Chiney Ogwumike had 29 points and Amber Orrange, 14.

The second round was a 73-40 cruise past Michigan. Joslyn Tinkle starred in her final Maples appearance, with 21 points on 5 of 5 long range shots, and Sara James held Kate Thompson, the nation's second-best 3-point shooter, to seven points, mostly free throws.

Moving on to Spokane, Stanford ended their season with a 59-61 loss to Georgia. Chiney had 26 and Amber, 17, but more was needed. The loss prevented a much-anticipated rubber match with Cal. The Golden Bears beat Georgia in overtime to move on to the Final Four.


Stanford went to Norfolk for the first round, where they beat Hampton 73-51 behind 28 points by Nneka Ogwumike. Chiney Ogwumike fell hard on her right knee and we all worried if she could play on.

In the second round, Stanford beat West Virginia 72-55. Amber Orrange had a career-high 18.

In Fresno for the Sweet Sixteen, everyone for Stanford was slowed by South Carolina defense except Nneka Ogwumike who scored 39. This game produced one of my all-time favorite Baranduin Briggs compositions:

In the Elite Eight game against Duke, Nneka Ogwumike scored 29, had 9 rebounds (awww, no double-double), three assists and a steal. Chiney Ogwumike, despite a heavily-wrapped knee, had a double-double.

At the Final Four in Denver, Stanford lost the semifinal game to Baylor 47-59.


The first rounds were at Maples. In the first game, Stanford dominated UC Davis, out-rebounding the Aggies 33-19.

In round two Stanford beat St. John's 75-49 behind the efforts of Nneka Ogwumike (22), Kayla Pedersen (14) and Chiney Ogwumike (13).

In Spokane for the Sweet Sixteen, Stanford got a tough game from the UNC Tar Heels but won 72-65.

In the Elite Eight game Stanford had an easier time against the local heroes, Gonzaga, in front of a record crowd of 11,646. Jeannette Pohlen broke Krista Rappahahn's record for 3-pointers. In other news, Baylor lost to Texas A&M, eliminating an expected Baylor matchup.

In Indianapolis for the Final Four, Stanford was turned back by Texas A&M, a disappointing end to Jeanette's and Kayla's careers. Fans who were present took some slight comfort from Notre Dame beating UConn, sending Maya Moore home early.


For the first round at Maples Stanford crushed UC Riverside 79-47 with double-doubles by Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen and 4-of-5 three-pointers by Jeanette Pohlen.

In the second round, Stanford defeated Iowa with a barrage of 3-pointers. Ros Gold-Onwude had a career game with seven. Nneka Ogwumike and Jayne Appel dominated inside.

For the Sweet Sixteen at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Stanford demolished Georgia 73-36 with big games by all the main players: Jayne Appel (17), Kayla Pedersen (13), Jeanette Pohlen (12), and Nneka Ogwumike (11).

That set up a close, tough game with Xavier that was won by Jeanette Pohlen's historic 4.4-second drive to the basket. (Here's the video, and yes, you do want to watch it again.)

At the Final Four in San Antonio (remember the Riverwalk?) Nneka Ogwumike went off with 38 points and 16 rebounds to beat Oklahoma 73-66. (Only Sheryl Swoopes ever scored more in a Final Four.)

In the Championship game against UConn, Stanford was hampered by Jayne Appel's injured foot (she basically could not jump, and played flat-footed) and lost 47-53 after leading at the half.


The first round was at Cox Arena in San Diego. There Stanford easily defeated UCSB 74-39. The Gauchos tried to defend the paint but were not successful: Jayne Appel and Nneka Ogwumike both had double-doubles.

In the second round the San Diego Aztecs, playing at home in front of a supportive crowd, stopped the Cardinal perimeter game but Nneka had a career-high 27 points and Stanford won 77-49.

Round three was at Haas Pavilion. Ohio State kept it close until the last 5 minutes when Jillian Harmon and Jayne Appel took over to finish 84-66.

In the Elite Eight game the Iowa State coach, perhaps recalling how Stanford's 3-point game burned them in Hawaii in a pre-season tournament, set up a game plan of defending the perimeter while single-covering Jayne Appel. Iowa State clung to that plan while Jayne feasted, running up 46 points to set a Stanford record that eclipsed the Wiggins-Starbird record of 44: Stanford wins 74-53.

In the semifinal game at the Scottrade Center in Saint Louis, Stanford lost to UConn, 64-83. Maya Moore had 24 points and Renee Montgomery, 26.


Round One was at Maples, and Stanford ran over Cleveland State 85-47 behind a career-high 33 points from Jayne Appel.

In Round Two, Stanford beat UTEP 88-54, this time behind Candice Wiggins' record 44 points (tying Kate Starbird).

In the Sweet Sixteen game in Spokane, Stanford beat Pittsburg 72-53. Jayne had 22 points and Ros Gold-Onwude 15, including 3 for 4 beyond the arc.

The Elite Eight game was against the Maryland Terrapins led by Kristi Toliver (35 pts). Stanford won 98-87, Candice Wiggins scoring 41 and JJ Hones, 23 (4 for 10 in threes).

In Tampa for the Final Four, Stanford's semifinal was against the Maya Moore/Tina Charles UConn squad. Stanford won, 82-73. Candice Wiggins had 25 points, Kayla Pedersen 17, and Jayne Appel 15. This was the "bookend" game on UConn's record 90-game streak that ended at Maples with the other bookend, two and a half years later in 2010.

The Championship game pitted Stanford against the Tennessee squad with Candace Parker and Nicky Anosike. Their defense held Stanford to a loss, 48-64.


First and second rounds were at Maples. In the first game, Stanford blew out Idaho State 95-58. Brooke Smith had 29 points, Candice Wiggins 16, and Cissy Pierce, 14. Freshman Jayne Appel had 8.

The second round game was a stunning disappointment, a loss to Florida State 61-68.


Stanford, undaunted by a loss to UCLA in the PAC-10 championship game, went to Denver for the first and second rounds. (If Denver's Pepsi Center seemed familiar to you when we played the Final Four there in 2012, this is why: we were there in 2006.

The first game, against Southeast Missouri State, was no challenge; Stanford won handily 72-45. Candice Wiggins had 21; Brooke Smith, 14.

The second game was against Florida State and Stanford had no trouble winning 88-70 behind 34 points from Candice Wiggins and 22 from Brooke Smith. (FSU got revenge the next year.)

In San Antonio for the next rounds, the Sweet Sixteen game had Stanford facing the Courtney Paris Oklahoma squad. Paris had been scoring double-doubles routinely all season but the Cardinal defense of Kristen Newlin and Jillian Harmon stifled her while Stanford ran out to a 15-0 start and never trailed. Paris eventually scored 26, but Brooke Smith answered with a career-high 35; Candice Wiggins had 26, and Krista Rappahahn hit 5 of 10 three-point attempts. Stanford wins 88-74.

The Elite Eight game was against LSU and Seimone Augustus. This was the game that was at 60-59 with four seconds left when Candice Wiggins drove on the basket, upended Augustus, and dished out to Krista Rappahahn who swished a three. "No basket," said the ref, who whistled a charge. Seimone celebrated while lying supine. Final score 62-59.


The first rounds were in Fresno. In the first game, Stanford played Santa Clara in a game that had the Kimyacioglu sisters facing off for the first time in a college game; Yasemin for SCU and Sebnem for Stanford. Sisterhood aside, the Cardinal won in a rout, 94-57.

The second round was against Utah, and Stanford rolled, 88-62. Brooke Smith led the way with 20 points. Seb Kimyacioglu hit 3 of 4 treys.

The next rounds were in Kansas City, in the charming Art Deco styled Municipal Auditorium. First up was UConn, and Stanford took care of business nicely, 76-59. Candice Wiggins had 21 points; Susan Borchardt led a lock-down defense and also scored 16.

In the Elite Eight game against Joanne P. McCallie's Michigan State, Stanford fell 69-76. This was the Michigan State of Kristin Haynie and Liz Shimek; they went on to lose to Baylor in the championship game.


The first and second rounds were at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Stanford, unhappy to be seeded 6th, opened against Missouri and won 68-55. Nicole Powell had 17 points, Susan Borchardt 13, and T'Nae Thiel 14.

The second round was against Oklahoma and Stanford rolled, 68-43. Nicole Powell led with 29 points; Kelley Suminski had 19 (3 of 5 from three) and Chelsea Trotter 10.

In Norman, OK for the Sweet Sixteen, Stanford faced Vanderbilt. The game was close right up to the end, when with time running out, Nicole Powell drove, spun, and dished to Kelley Suminsky who fired a three-point game winner with 0.3 on the clock.

The Elite Eight game brought Tennessee and a close match. Tasha Butts scored with 1.7 seconds left to put Tennessee up 62-60. Nicole Powell caught a long inbound heave from T'nae Thiel and fired a three that clanged off the front iron. Many there thought she was fouled on that shot, but no whistle blew and the game was over.


First and second rounds were at Maples. In the first round, Stanford faced Western Michigan and won 82-66. Nicole Powell had 21 points, Chelsea Trotter 16 and Susan King, 13.

In the second round, Stanford was upset by the Minnesota Golden Gophers led by Lindsay Whalen. Sebnem Kimyacioglu scored 3 of 4 beyond the arc in the second half to start a come-back but it wasn't enough to prevent Stanford's first home loss in over two years,


In the first round, at Maples against Weber State, Nicole Powell had a triple-double: 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. With 15 more from Cori Engusen the Cardinal won handily, 76-51.

In the second round, versus Tulane, Nicole repeated her triple-double performance with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Lindsey Yamasaki scored 24 and Bethany Donaphin, 21.

In Boise for the Sweet Sixteen, Stanford faced Colorado. The game was close, ending in a 59-62 loss. Stanford had a shot at a tie in the closing seconds, but Lindsey Yamasaki's three-point attempt did not go in.


In Norman, OK the first round game had Stanford beating George Washington 76-51. Freshman Nicole Powell had 19 points; Cori Enghusen 14.

The second round game was against home team Oklahoma who prevailed 50-67. Cori Enghusen had 14 points and six blocks; Nicole Powell also had 14 in the loss.


In Athens, GA for the first round game, Michigan took Stanford to overtime but the Cardinal held on to win 81-74 on clutch free throw shooting. Milena Flores had 20 points; Behany Donaphin 16; and Sarah Dimson 14.

In the second round against host school Georgia, Stanford got off to a slow start and lost 83-64. Jamie Carey had 15 points and Milena Flores and Cori Enghusen each had 12.


The first round was in Norfolk, VA. Stanford played Maine and although Lindsey Yamasaki had 24 points, the Cardinal ceded a close game to the Black Bears 58-60 when a last-second jumper by Regan Freuen fell short. This was the first time in five tries that Maine had advanced past the first round.

1998 (The Asterisk Game)

Stanford hosted the first rounds at Maples. In the week preceding the first game, Stanford's two highest-scoring players, Vanessa Nygaard and Kristin Folkl, went down with ACLs. In hindsight, Stanford probably shouldn't have been seeded #1: the Cardinal was only 21-5 when the seedings were set, with losses to four ranked opponents (Wisconsin, Purdue, Tennessee and UConn). Note, however, that the committee did its work before the injuries to Nygaard and Folkl.

Harvard probably shouldn't have been seeded #16, either; this team was 23-3 and led by Allison Feaster, who was the nation's leading scorer that season and went on to a WNBA career.

In the event, Harvard won that first-round game 71-67. Feaster had 35 points and 13 rebounds. For the Cardinal, Olympia Scott closed her collegiate career with 18 points and Regan Freuen had 19.

There is no recap or box score for this game in the Stanford archives. This detailed article from the Harvard Crimson tells the story well from the Harvard standpoint, and this story by Ann Killion ten years later tells Stanford's remembrance.

1997 (The Worst Loss)

The 1996-97 team was loaded with more talent than any other Cardinal team in history — Kate Starbird, Kristin Folkl, Olympia Scott, Jamila Wideman, Vanessa Nygaard, Naomi Multitauaopele

Every prominent player from the Cardinal team that had gotten to the Final Four in 1996 was back.   Plus, Tara VanDerveer had returned from her one-year sabbatical to coach the U.S. Olympic team and Kristin Folkl was back after a year’s absence from school to try to make the U.S. Olympic volleyball team.  

Stanford was the prohibitive favorite the win the national title.

There are no recaps or box scores for this season in the Stanford archives, but there are recaps and box scores of the NCAA regional and final games in the Cincinnati Enquirer archives.

Stanford began the Big Dance with easy wins at Maples over Howard 111-59 and Texas Tech 67-45.

In Missoula MT for the West Regional Stanford faced Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen. There had been three upsets in other regions earlier that day and top-seeded Connecticut was nearly upset by Illinois. Stanford looked to be the next giant to topple when it missed its first nine shots. Then Kate Starbird's jumper started a 15-0 scoring binge, and Stanford went on to win 91-69.

In the Elite Eight Stanford vaporized Georgia 82-47. (In the Midwest Regional, reigning champion Tennessee whipped UConn 91-81.)

Stanford seemed well on the way to its national title, but it wasn't to be. In the Final Four ODU stunned Stanford with an 82-83 loss in overtime. This story by Ann Killion ten years later tells about Vanessa's, Tara's and Charmin's remembrances of the devastating loss.


Harriet Benson said...

Thanks for the memories, both sweet and sad.

Jim Eade said...

Great job! Thanks for the effort.

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Anonymous said...

Dave, this is a great accomplishment!. It is really handy to have this compilation all in one narrative.

I have heard about the ODC and Harvard losses, but I wasn't a fan for either of those seasons and this report places them in their historical context.

Thank you.