Stanford Falls to Connecticut in Final Four
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Stanford's stellar season came to a close Friday night, as the Cardinal fell to Connecticut, 63-58, in the national semifinal.
Haley Jones led the Cardinal (32-4) with 20 points and 11 rebounds, finishing a standout season with her 12th double-double and third in a row in the NCAA Tournament. Cameron Brink had 15 points and seven rebounds, while Lacie Hull grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
UConn had to work to get to the finals. Leading by 52-44 with 1:26 left, Stanford made a furious rally thanks to a few costly UConn turnovers.
Brink's layup with 18.4 seconds left got the Cardinal within 60-58. UConn was able to work seven seconds off the clock before Christyn Williams was fouled with 11 seconds left. The senior guard calmly swished both free throws to restore a two-possession lead.
Ashten Prechtel, who had two made triples on the night, missed a tough contested 3-pointer from the wing with 5.4 seconds left and the Huskies held on for the win.
This was the latest matchup on the biggest stage between Hall of Fame coaches Tara VanDerveer and Geno Auriemma, who are first and second on the all-time wins list in women's basketball. Their two teams met 27 years ago in Minneapolis to the day in the national semifinals and the Huskies also won that one. They went on to win their first title that year.
The game got off to a slow start as neither team really could find its shooting touch. UConn led 12-9 after one quarter and was up 27-26 at the half. The teams combined to shoot 36% (23 for 64) in the opening 20 minutes. Stanford was able to keep it close by outscoring UConn 20-6 in the paint.
The low-scoring half was reminiscent of the 2010 title game when the teams played in the Alamodome in San Antonio. The Cardinal led that one 20-12 at the half. UConn went on to win that one 53-47 - one of four victories for the Huskies over the Cardinal in the Final Four or championship rounds.
The Cardinal finishes the season with a 32-4 overall record, ending in the program's 15th Final Four appearance.