Advertisement

Stanford women hold off Arizona for first national basketball title since 1992

Stanford women hold off Arizona for first national basketball title since 1992
Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, who last guided the Cardinal to a national championship in 1992, has won three titles in her coaching career. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

April 4 (UPI) -- The top-seeded Stanford Cardinal beat the No. 3 seed Arizona Wildcats 54-53 Sunday in San Antonio to capture their first NCAA women's basketball national championship in 29 years.

"This is a dream come true for our team. It'll probably hit me tomorrow," Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We have some really outstanding women on our team."

Advertisement

Haley Jones, playing in her first NCAA tournament, was named the Final Four's most outstanding player. She led the Cardinal with 17 points and added eight rebounds against the Wildcats.

"I just go to all of my teammates. They have confidence in me even when I don't have confidence in myself," Jones said. "I'm just so happy to be here with this type of squad."

Stanford (31-2) built a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter before Arizona cut it to 51-50 following Aari McDonald's 3-pointer.

After a timeout, Jones responded with a 3-point play with under three minutes remaining to push Stanford's lead to 54-50. Jones' basket was Stanford's last of the game, as the Cardinal depended on their defense to close out the victory.

Advertisement

McDonald sank three of her four free throws down the stretch to make it 54-53 with 36.6 seconds left. After another timeout, Stanford was unable to get a shot off, giving Arizona one final chance with 6.1 seconds to go.

RELATED College basketball: Arizona women 'disrespected' by Final Four video omission

McDonald received the inbound pass, but her contested shot at the buzzer clanged off the rim.

Lexie Hull and Cameron Brink each scored 10 points for Stanford. Ashten Prechtel added seven points, eight rebounds and three assists off the bench.

McDonald led the Wildcats (21-6) with 22 points on 5-of-20 shooting. Shaina Pellington notched 15 points and seven rebounds.

RELATED Women's basketball: Paige Bueckers leads UConn to Final Four

It was the first women's national title for the Pac-12 Conference since VanDerveer and Stanford won the championship in 1992. She now has won three titles, moving her into a tie with Baylor's Kim Mulkey for third most behind Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt.

VanDerveer guided the Cardinal to a national title amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year's tournament took place entirely in the San Antonio area as a precaution.

"Getting through all the things we got through, we're excited to win the COVID championship," VanDerveer said. "The [last] one was not quite as close. But we're really excited."

Advertisement

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement