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STANFORD, Calif. – 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.