STANFORD -- Joslyn Tinkle leaned across a barrier at HP Pavilion wearing a white-and-maroon Montana baseball jersey 72 hours before beginning her final NCAA women's tournament for top-seeded Stanford.

The Cardinal senior wore her blonde hair down and had a game-face on as her father's Montana Grizzlies opened the men's tournament with hopes of surprising Syracuse -- a stardust dream that faded moments after the opening tipoff.

Come Sunday it will be coach Wayne Tinkle's turn to be a nervous wreck as Joslyn and teammates face No. 16 Tulsa in the first game of the subregional starting at 2:20 p.m. at Maples Pavilion. No. 8 Michigan plays No. 9 Villanova in the other game with the winners meeting Tuesday night for a chance to advance to the Spokane Regional semifinals next weekend.

Even though No. 4 Syracuse destroyed Montana 81-34 in the second round Thursday night, March has been a month of madness for the Tinkles, the country's first family of basketball. After all, The New York Times recently called them the Fab Five.

Elle Tinkle is a freshman guard for West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga, which lost its tournament opener Saturday to Iowa State 72-60. Sophomore Tres Tinkle led Hellgate High-Missoula to a Montana 2A boys title March 8.

"It has been a fairy tale," said Wayne Tinkle, a towering figure at 6-feet-10 who starred at Montana before playing professionally overseas.

"You want to clone yourself to see everybody play but you pick out the ones that you can and they all understand it," added mom Lisa Tinkle, who was inducted into the Grizzlies Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 for her stellar basketball career.

The Tinkles, sans Elle, convened in the Bay Area this week to immerse in a hoopapalooza. A similar intersection occurred three years ago when Montana played in San Jose while Jos appeared in her first NCAA tournament at Maples. Back then, the 6-3 forward had a reserve role.

Now she is enjoying her best season at Stanford, averaging career highs of 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds with 61 blocked shots. Stanford (31-2) will need Tinkle, among others, to be at her best over the next two weeks if the Cardinal hopes to reach its sixth consecutive Women's Final Four.

"We're going to see some great things from Jos this tournament," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said.

Tinkle, a high-spirited teammate with a sunny disposition, has more trouble watching family members play or coach than participating herself. It showed Thursday as she screamed, cajoled and exhorted Montana to regroup even as the Grizzlies fell behind 20-4.

Tinkle also became animated while following Tres' state championship game on her mobile phone just before Stanford faced Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.

The excitement is the result of a tightly bound family who had a vagabond existence while Wayne played professionally in Europe for almost a decade. Tinkle, 22, was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and lived in Greece, Italy and Spain.

"To grow up watching him thinking he was the coolest thing ever was such an awesome experience," she said of her father.

But the kids also felt isolated at times. The sisters attended an international school in Spain where teachers spoke only Spanish. The experience helped Jos adapt to new situations on and off the court.

"Even though she wears a bow and looks so sweet she is tough as nails," Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike said. "Come tournament time all I have to do is look at Jos and I know we're ready."

Tinkle, who plans to earn a degree in sociology and communication this spring, probably will follow her father's path by playing abroad if she doesn't make the WNBA.

Wherever Tinkle goes her family will remain at the center of her universe. It's the foundation Wayne, the two-time reigning Big Sky coach of the year, tried to emphasize through their childhood.

"I know he married right," said Cal coach Mike Montgomery, who recruited Wayne to Montana in 1985. "So the kids are really good players.

"I really couldn't ever figure out how he pulled that off."

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.