Reining Champions of Women’s NCAA basketball the Stanford Cardinal hold up the Championship Trophy going all the way defeating the Arizona Wildcats at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Sun Apr 4, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Barbara Mason
Sunday afternoon the Stanford women took on the Arizona Wildcats in search for a championship: the first ever all Pac-12 NCAA basketball title game. Stanford coming off a wild game that went right down to the buzzer winning over South Carolina who had a real shot at winning the game. That score was 66-65. One thing you could say about the Cardinal they kept it close again edging out the Wildcats for a 54-53 Championship victory in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Stanford was able to pull off the win but the Cardinal will need everyone on board for the title game. Arizona has made a lot of noise beating No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 Indiana and No.1 Connecticut.They have the title in their sites. Aari McDonald & Co. will be ready for this one and will be gunning for the No. 1 overall seed Stanford.
The Cardinal will need Kiana Williams totally onboard for the game. She has struggled the past few games and her team will really need her to step up in this one. Haley Jones had an amazing game against South Carolina and hopes to pick up right where she left off on Friday in the Final Four. Ana Wilson will bring her defensive prowess along with Lexie Hull and Ashsten Prechtel who was great off the bench.
Stanford won both of their regular season matchups and got the third win against the Wildcats in the Championship Tournament. If trends prove true, it is especially difficult to beat a team three times in one basketball season. Both of those games were one-sided. Arizona has made great strides to come into this game with outstanding defense and was considered extremely dangerous.
Stanford was looking for their third national title under Head Coach Tara VanDerveer who won titles in 1990 and1992.
At the half Stanford led by the score of 31-24. They had been able to keep Aari McDonald under wraps allowing only five points. The high score for Arizona came off the bench from Shaina Pellington with seven points.
Lexie Hull had eight points for the half followed by Ashten Prechtel who again had a great first half off the bench. Every starter for Stanford turned in points in the half for a well-balanced first half. They were two quarters away from a national title.
Arizona outscored Stanford in the third and fourth quarters but came up just shy with Stanford winning another blockbuster game 54-53. These girls just hung in there and willed themselves to win giving Tara VanDerveer her third national title.
Aari McDonald came up with a big 22 points in the loss. Shaina Pellington had 15 points off the bench in a terrific outing for Arizona. The Wildcats had a great game coming up just short as time expired.
Stanford had some great numbers from their starters. Haley Jones had 17 points, Lexi Hull with 10 and Cameron Brink also with 10 points. The ever consistent Ashten Prechtel had seven off the bench.
It has been an amazing season for Tara VanDerveer and her team as they celebrate their third title. They played an awesome tournament withstanding a lot of pressure and rising to the occasion in every game. A big congrats to Stanford Women’s basketball and we all look forward to next season.