Sports

Each with different motivations, Stanford and North Carolina play for a trip to Final Four

  • Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike answers questions during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford plays North Carolina in a regional final on Tuesday.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike answers questions during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford plays North Carolina in a regional final on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Stanford guard Amber Orrange answers a question during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford plays North Carolina in a regional final on Tuesday.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Stanford guard Amber Orrange answers a question during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford plays North Carolina in a regional final on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer answers questions during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford plays North Carolina in a regional final on Tuesday.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer answers questions during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford plays North Carolina in a regional final on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

Chiney Ogwumike wrote on Stanford's locker room white board, "3rd round last year."

As if any of the Cardinal needed the reminder of last season's frustrating finish.

That early exit in the NCAA tournament a year ago snapped a streak of five straight Final Fours, and still stings for so many Stanford players and coaches. They all challenged each other to change the culture around the program.

Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer had couches and photos removed from the locker room to instill an improved work-first mentality.

Now, the second-seeded Cardinal (32-3) are one victory from getting back to women's basketball's biggest stage next week. Stanford will face No. 4 seed North Carolina (27-9) in Tuesday's regional final on its home court in Maples Pavilion for a Final Four trip.