DENVER — On a night when women’s basketball followers were anxious to watch Baylor’s Brittney Griner shine on the biggest stage, it was her teammate — senior guard Terran Condrey — who quietly stole the spotlight.
Condrey wasn’t in the starting lineup or featured in the pregame show, but she matched Griner’s point total of 13 in just 26 minutes off the bench in Baylor’s 59-47 victory against Stanford in the second semifinal game of the Women’s Final Four on Sunday night.
With the Bears trailing 27-25 to Stanford at 18:14 in the second half, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey subbed out Jordan Madden for Condrey, and in a span of three minutes she provided a huge offense spark that would allow her team to take a lead it would never relinquish.
Condrey benefitted from Stanford’s double-team on Griner, and made the most of her opportunities.
“Brittney Griner is the face of women’s basketball and she deserves to be,” Mulkey said. “But this team is bigger than Brittney and she will tell you that. Brittney Griner double and triple-teamed allows other players on her team to have opportunities.”
“(Condrey) hit some big shots,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “She hit one three-pointer. She’s made 10 all year. She had a couple of shots for them that she stepped up nicely. I think she gave them some momentum.”
A native of Eufaula, Ala., had scored just one point in four NCAA tournament appearances, averaging 15.3 minutes per game. Regardless of her limited playing time during the postseason, Condrey was prepared to be a factor in the biggest game of her collegiate career.
“We had to be ready to knock down the shots in the game,” Condrey said.
“Terran Condrey, she’s a great shooter, a senior, and I didn’t hesitate to quickly insert her in the lineup,” Mulkey. “She can nail that shot down.”
It was only Condrey’s third double-digit performance of the season, but her teammates expected nothing less.
“Terran’s been a great senior, along with our other two seniors,” said junior Destiny Williams. “She’s been doing this for a long time before I even came here. She’s been knocking down clutch shots. Terran just does it on an everyday basis. She does it in practice and I think she can do it in her sleep if you ask her.”
Griner, who raised her arms and shouted, “Go T!” at the postgame press conference was more than thrilled with Condrey’s stellar night.
“I can’t even put it in words,” Griner said. “She’s not real loud, but you definitely hear her on the court.”
One Final Act
Stanford senior Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the Cardinal to four consecutive Final Four appearances during her incredible career, but she will be leaving the program without the coveted national championship trophy. However, the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award recipient has no regrets after a 22-point performance against Baylor on Sunday night.
“I just kind of look back and reflect on what it took for us to get here, and I would have rather gone down with my team than up with any other team,” said Ogumike.
Ogumike’s younger sister Chiney may have taken the loss a little harder knowing it was the last time the two would be playing together wearing a Stanford uniform.
“I really wish we could have won this game just for her, knowing how much work she has put in,” said sophomore Chiney Ogumike. “She left everything on the table. I think she was the best player in the game tonight. She was the best player on the court and I am proud to say that.”
The Bears improved to 39-0, tying Tennessee in 1998 and UConn in 2002, 2009 and 2010, for the most wins in a single season in NCAA history. No team has won 40 games in a single season.
It will be an all green national championship on Tuesday night between Baylor and Notre Dame. The last time both teams with green as a school color in the championship game was 2005 when Baylor defeated Michigan State, 84-62.
Stanford’s loss to Baylor marked the fifth consecutive year the Cardinal has advanced to the Women’s Final Four without claiming a title.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s 22-point performance gave the senior sole possession of first place on Stanford’s single-season scoring list with 809 points.
The last time Stanford scored fewer than 50 points was against Connecticut in the NCAA Championship game on April 6, 2010 (47 points).