Stanford survives against Arizona to win first NCAA women’s title since 1992

Stanford players celebrate with the trophy after the championship game against Arizona in the...
Stanford players celebrate with the trophy after the championship game against Arizona in the women's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, April 4, 2021, at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Stanford won 54-53. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)(Morry Gash | AP)
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:08 AM EDT
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(CBS SPORTS) - With a thrilling 54-53 win over the Arizona Wildcats in the national championship game Sunday night, the Stanford Cardinal took home their first title since 1992.

It certainly wasn’t the prettiest basketball game ever played, but it was an absolute battle that went down to the wire, and that’s all you can ask for. Arizona, who had the best defense in the tournament, forced Stanford into a whopping 21 turnovers, including a shot clock violation with 5.5 seconds left.

That stop gave Arizona the ball and a chance to win the game on the final possession, but Stanford’s defense came up with some heroics of their own. They knew that Arizona was going to give the ball to star point guard Aari McDonald, and multiple defenders swarmed her on the catch. With time running out, McDonald was forced to just heave the ball towards the basket, and her three-point effort didn’t go down.

Haley Jones led the way for Stanford, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds on her way to being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, while Lexie Hull chipped in with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Cameron Brink also added 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

On the Arizona side, McDonald went for 22 points, but really had to work for them. She picked things up in the second half to help lead the Wildcats’ comeback, but went 5-of-20 from the field. Shaina Pellington stepped up with 15 points off the bench, but no one else scored in double figures.