It’s not even March anymore but the Madness refuses to go away.
On Sunday evening, the one-seeded Stanford Cardinal Women’s Basketball Team took home its program’s third NCAA National Championship after beating heavy underdog, the three-seeded Arizona Wildcats, by a final score of 54-53. All-American point guard Aari McDonald had a chance to win the title at the buzzer for Arizona, but Stanford tripled-teamed her on the final shot, which clanked off the back of the rim.
The Cardinal last won a pair of titles back in 1990 and 1992, going 29 years before sealing the deal against the Wildcats.
— Stanford Women’s Basketball (@StanfordWBB) April 5, 2021
McDonald and Arizona were the Cinderella story of the postseason, making a surprise run to the Final Four and eventually knocking off UConn to reach the title game. Stanford was the overwhelming favorite coming into Sunday after beating fellow one-seed South Carolina, but the Cardinal needed all 40 minutes to end Arizona’s spectacular run. McDonald finished with 22 points as Arizona’s stifling defense kept the Wildcats within striking distance all night long.
For Stanford, sophomore Haley Jones, later named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, led the way with 17 points and eight rebounds on 8-14 shooting while star first-year player Cameron Brink added 10 points and six rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble throughout the night.
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, who is the all-time winningest coach in Divison I hoops, won both of the program’s previous titles and had gone to a string of five consecutive Final Fours from 2007-2011, but never won the big one until this year.