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W. Basketball: Nneka to close out regular season career against rival Cal

 

Four years ago, Nnemkadi Ogwumike arrived on the Farm as a highly touted recruit out of Texas. Over the course of her career she has played in four Final Fours, won four conference championships, and sits in the top five in several career statistics. On Sunday, Ogwumike will play in the final regular season game of her historic career, as the Cardinal takes on archrival California on the road.

Senior forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike (above) will play the last regular season game of her collegiate career as the No. 2 Cardinal women's basketball team travels to Berkeley to face rival Cal on Sunday night. (MICHAEL KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)

 

Stanford (27-1, 17-0) has already been crowned the 2012 Pac-12 Champions, but it will put its perfect conference record on the line against the Golden Bears. Cal (22-7, 13-4) clinched second place in the conference with their win over Colorado on Wednesday.

 

The last meeting between Stanford and Cal came down to the wire in an overtime thriller at Maples. The Cardinal prevailed 74-71, in what would prove to be its only overtime game of the season thus far.

 

In that matchup, Stanford led late into the game before Cal stormed back, scoring the last nine points of the second half to force the extra session. In overtime, Cal missed eight of its nine shots, including two late three pointers that could have tied the ballgame.

 

Sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal against the Golden Bears in January, posting a double-double with 27 points and 18 rebounds. Sophomore guard Toni Kokenis joined Chiney in double figures with a 16-point performance.

 

More recently, in Stanford’s 76-52 win over Seattle on Wednesday, it was business for usual for Nneka, as she put up a game-high 19 points and collected 11 rebounds. In addition, younger sister Chiney poured in 18 points and junior forward Joslyn Tinkle added 14 points. Tinkle has been a stalwart contributor all season for the Cardinal, averaging 8.5 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game.

 

Freshman point guard Amber Orrange also put up an impressive game against Seattle, contributing 10 points and dishing out a career-high nine assists.

 

Junior guard Layshia Clarendon leads the Golden Bears with 12.7 points per game. Clarendon racked up 15 points in Cal’s win over Colorado on Wednesday, and posted 17 against the Cardinal in their last meeting. Freshman guard Brittany Boyd scorched Stanford for 19 points in the January contest, and is averaging 10 points per game on the season.

 

Cal has posted victories in their last four contests, and has lost only twice in their last 15 times out—including the overtime loss to the Cardinal.

 

Stanford has a chance to close out its third straight undefeated conference record. However, the last conference foe to beat the Cardinal happens to be Cal. The Golden Bears prevailed 57-54 in a Jan. 18, 2009 matchup. The defeat marks the only conference loss of the Cardinal senior class’ career.

 

Stanford and Cal tip off the Battle of the Bay on Sunday at 6 p.m. in Berkeley’s Haas Pavilion.

 

About Dean McArdle