Nadia Fingall has to feel a sense of déjà vu.
Two years ago as a senior at Choctaw, the 6-foot-4 center wasn’t able to accept her Female Scholastic award at the All Sports Association Banquet. After all, Choctaw was playing the regional playoffs that night.
Flash forward to Friday night and she was once again absent from the ASA Banquet. And once again she had a good excuse, her 14th-ranked Stanford team defeating California in Palo Alto the night before and then gearing up for an afternoon tipoff with the Golden Bears today.
Like two years ago, the Pac-12 sophomore provided a video. Like two years ago, she was humbled.
“When I got the call, I felt really just honored,” Djokovic said. “Leaving and only being there for high school, I’m just really honored to get so much love from the area and to still be remembered. I’m happy to call the area home.”
At Stanford (19-8), Fingall has embraced her role as a rebounder and a big who can stretch the floor. The sophomore has come off the bench in 26 of the 27 games, averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds over 12.6 points a night.
She’s coming off her best effort of the season, posting 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting to go along with six rebounds in the 74-69 win over California. Four times this year she’s scored double-digit points and she’s averaging eight points on 10-of-15 shooting and five rebounds over her last four contests.
“Right now the biggest thing is rebounding,” Fingall said of her role. “On offense because I’m bigger I’m expected to stretch the floor, stretch out the defense. I’ve been working on my 3-point shot and half-way shot, carrying over what I was working on in high school. I’m also expected to take the ball at the top of the key, make good passes, facilitate for the offense and find ways to create scoring opportunities.”
Stanford is playing its best ball of the year, winning seven straight and looking more and more like the team that advanced to the last year’s Final Four.
“I definitely think we can make deep run in the NCAA tournament,” Fingall said. “We played five top 10 teams in the preseason tournament and we continue to play top 10 teams. We started a little slow, but we’re coming on strong. As long as we stay on track, we feel confident in our abilities.”