SPOKANE, Wash. -- Stanford's road to the Final Four hit a rough patch Saturday night in the Sweet 16.

Strong, tall and quick North Carolina proved difficult to stop inside and out in a battle of wills at Spokane Arena.

But Nneka Ogwumike took over in the final 10 minutes as the top-seeded Cardinal advanced to the Elite Eight with a 72-65 victory that was decided in the final two minutes.

Ogwumike had 19 points and sister Chiney Ogwumike added 16 points and 11 rebounds as the No. 2-ranked Cardinal (32-2) will face hometown favorite Gonzaga on Monday night for a chance to reach its fourth consecutive Final Four.

"We know it's going to be a great atmosphere," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We survived this game. But we're going to have to play a lot better."

The fifth-seeded Tar Heels out-rebounded Stanford 50-47. It wasn't just rebounding, however.

Stanford shot 19 percent from 3-point range as senior star Jeanette Pohlen missed all seven of her long-range shots. Pohlen, the Pac-10 player of the year, made only one basket all night despite playing all 40 minutes.

Italee Lucas led the Tar Heels with 22 points, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 14 in a gallant effort by North Carolina (28-9).

Stanford now has won 26 in a row since a two-loss road trip in early December as senior Kayla Pedersen had a well-rounded game with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

But this victory belonged to the Ogwumikes.


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With Stanford leading 65-63, Nneka Ogwumike missed a shot underneath the basket. Then Lucas made two free throws to tie the score. But Chiney Ogwumike gave the Cardinal the lead with a floater with 1:58 left, and Stanford got the ball back on a Tar Heels turnover.

Pohlen missed a 3-pointer with 1:27 left on a shot that failed to hit the rim. Pohlen ended with six points on 1-for-9 shooting.

North Carolina called timeout with 1:17 left, trailing by two. Stanford got the ball back again on a turnover, and Nneka Ogwumike drove and missed. Chiney Ogwumike made the put back and was fouled by Ruffin-Pratt.

"She's almost like a junior out there," Nneka said of her sister, who is only a freshman. "She knows how to get involved. That really turned the game around."

Chiney missed the free throw, but Carolina then threw the ball away. The Tar Heels fouled Pohlen with 17 seconds left, and she made both free throws.

Gonzaga 76, Louisville 69: Senior point guard Courtney Vandersloot had a signature game with 29 points, seven assists and seven steals to lead the 11th-seeded Bulldogs to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history in front of an announced crowd of 11,339. Vandersloot, the first woman or man in Division I history with at least 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career, broke the NCAA single-season record with her 358th assist to pass Suzie McConnel of Penn State.

Monday's game
Stanford (32-2) vs. Gonzaga (31-4), 6 p.m., ESPN