April 19, 2021

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Stanford nips Arizona, wins first women’s NCAA basketball championship since 1992

2 min read

SAN ANTONIO — Stanford is three for three.

The Cardinal won its third NCAA women’s national title, and first in 29 years, by beating Pac-12 rival Arizona 54-53 on Sunday night. It was the Cardinal’s third win over Arizona this season, but far more competitive than the previous two, decided by a combined 41 points.

The championship capped a grueling year for top-seeded Stanford, which spent the entire season on the road because of local COVID-19 restrictions. The title also came the same year as coach Tara VanDerveer became the all-time winningest women’s coach, now with 1,125 victories. VanDerveer also has the largest gap between titles, men or women.

Stanford players celebrate after winning the 2021 NCAA Tournament championship game, defeating Arizona, 54-53.

Stanford made just one field goal in the last 6:02, but it was a big one. Haley Jones scored on a floater and was fouled by Bendu Yeaney. She made the free throw to convert the three-point play and give Stanford a 54-50 lead, which was enough for the Cardinal to hold off a last frenzy from Arizona.

Aari McDonald went three-for-four from the line, and the Wildcats harassed Stanford into a shot-clock violation with 6.1 seconds left. But the Cardinal wouldn’t give Arizona an inch, and McDonald’s last-second heave didn’t come close.

Jones led three Stanford players in double figures with 17 and won Most Outstanding Player. The Cardinal overcame 21 turnovers by outrebounding Arizona 47-29 and keeping McDonald in check. After averaging 30 points in the previous three games for the Wildcats, McDonald had 22 but was just 5-of-20 from the floor.

Follow reporter Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour


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