Saluting top seniors in Nashville

Career highlights: Nothing tops playing in a Final Four each of your collegiate seasons, but emerging from the shadow of Skylar Diggins to earn first-team All-America honors is the validation whip cream on the ice cream sundae that is McBride's career. Her big-game abilities were also confirmed with a 23-point performance against UConn in the Big East tournament final, propelling McBride to the Most Outstanding Player trophy as a sophomore. Two of the three biggest scoring games of her career came this season in back-to-backs against Duke and North Carolina, the games that solidified that the ACC belonged to the Irish even in their first season in the conference.

What's at stake: Without fellow senior Achonwa on the floor with her, it might not feel quite the same in the early moments Sunday night against Maryland. But if McBride and Jewell Loyd can deliver for two more games, this Notre Dame team will go down as one of the all-time greats.

Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford

Strengths: As immensely productive as the 6-4 forward has been throughout her career on both ends of the floor (her defense might be even better than her offense), her self-awareness and unselfishness might be her greatest attributes. Ogwumike knows what she is as a basketball player and knows the importance of great teammates. "Every game, she is consistent with her effort, with her leadership, with her positivity," junior Bonnie Samuelson said.

Weakness: She's a rebounder. She's a scorer. She's a defender. She's a leader. She writes songs. She hangs out with major political dignitaries. Ogwumike can do it all. Well, not quite. Ogwumike cannot swim -- or least, not well.

"During our offseason swim workouts, while most of us were doing the swimming, Chiney spent all of her time on the floatie side," point guard Amber Orrange said.

Part of that self-awareness enters into Ogwumike's own assessment of her aquatic skills: "I can get from Point A to Point B," she said, "but I don't know if what you see you can call true swimming," she said.

Ogwumike might be the mayor of Nerd City, but Missy Franklin she is not.

Career highlights: As great as Thomas' career has been, Ogwumike is the most individually accomplished player in this Final Four. This season, while getting the Cardinal to Nashville largely on her back, she recorded 26 double-doubles, became the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, won the conference's defensive player of the year award for a third time and captured her second Pac-12 Player of the Year award. Perhaps no one game epitomized Ogwumike's uncanny ability to produce than the 32-point, 20-rebound, three-block performance against the sizeable front line of Tennessee four days before Christmas.

What's at stake: Stanford has had great players. Stanford has had great teams. Stanford has been here before. Plenty. What Stanford hasn't done is win a national championship since 1992. One in Nashville would likely put Ogwumike at the top of the list of all-time Cardinal greats.

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