LEXINGTON, Ky. — The seventh-seeded Huskies secured an 85-76 victory over No. 4 seed Stanford in the NCAA Lexington Regional women’s basketball final on Sunday.
This marked the first regional final between two Pac-12 schools since Stanford beat Southern California 82-62 on its way to winning the national championship in 1992, when the conference was still known as the Pac-10.
Washington scored the game’s first 12 points, had a 22-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Stanford (27-8) pulled to 78-73 on Lili Thompson’s 3-pointer with 1:07 left. An offensive foul on UW’s Kelsey Plum allowed Stanford to get the ball back, but Thompson missed a 3-pointer with a minute remaining.
Washington went 7 of 8 on free throws in the final minute.
“We dug ourselves too big a hole in the first quarter,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We just for some reason did not come out with the intensity and aggressiveness that we needed to. But I’m proud of our team. We had a great season.”
Thompson scored 19 points for Stanford (27-8), which was seeking its 13th Final Four appearance overall and seventh in the last nine seasons. Erica McCall added 17 points – all in the second half – and 15 rebounds.
This was the third meeting of the season between these two conference foes. Stanford won 69-53 at home on Jan. 29. Washington beat the Cardinal 73-65 on March 4 in the Pac-12 Tournament at Seattle.
Chantel Osahor’s physical presence early in the game also helped Washington hold McCall scoreless in the first half.
“Osahor was really the difference,” VanDerveer said.
Stanford cut Washington’s lead to 67-63 with 7:19 left after Karlie Samuelson, Thompson, Marta Sniezek and McCall hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions.
The Cardinal had the ball with a chance to cut further into the lead when Plum made a steal and drove to the basket. Although Plum missed her layup, Talia Walton delivered a putback that made it 69-63 with 6:23 remaining.
Stanford made one more charge in the closing minutes, but Plum wouldn’t allow Washington to fold. She scored 19 points in the second half to help Washington earn that Final Four bid she always believed was a realistic goal. — APCollege SportsLili ThompsonNCAAStanfordWashington Huskies