SAN ANTONIO – In a No. 1 seed battle in the first semifinal of the Women’s Final Four on Friday, Stanford survived 66-65 against South Carolina to advance to Sunday’s championship.
Hailey Jones, who led Stanford with 24 points, made a leap to give the Cardinal a one-point lead with 32 seconds left in a game that had a wild finish.
“I just saw the ball bounce and most of my teammates hit some bodies to open it. “I just let it fly and said, ‘Please, Jesus, come in,’ and he did,” Jones said of what you would end up winning the game. “And then we just had to move on to the next game, there is no time to underestimate, we had to go back to defense.”
After a time limit, South Carolina accepted the ball. Aliyah Boston had a shot blocked by Cameron Brink, but got his own rebound before stealing the ball from Ashten Prechtel, who returned it to Stanford.
After a foul by South Carolina, the Cardinal invaded the ball to Brink, but left it and the Gamecocks had a chance in the winning basket. Brea Beal missed the shot in a move to the basket, and Boston followed with a buzzer failure that it also lost.
“Bre had a great shot. Aliya, we should have taken her out, she had a great shot. “Fortunately, he did not go and we are moving forward on Sunday,” Jones said.
Both teams struggled to face each other’s strong defense, but the Gamecocks were particularly affected, finishing 11-of-37 in color. Stanford will go for the program’s third NCAA title on Sunday.
The Cardinal will face the winner of the UConn-Arizona game.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.