Home U.S Analysis: Stanford's depth, grit are too much for Arizona as Cardinal win...

Analysis: Stanford's depth, grit are too much for Arizona as Cardinal win first womens' title since 1992


It wasn’t pretty, said coach Tara VanDerveer — but it was gritty. And that grittiness, combined with Stanford’s tremendous depth, ruled the women’s NCAA title game Sunday night. 

In a game of runs, lockdown defense and turnovers, Stanford came out on top, 54-53. 

Arizona’s Aari McDonald, who became the new darling of women’s basketball throughout the Wildcats’ run, missed a heave at the buzzer that would have won it. 

In the final minute, McDonald hit 3-of-4 free throws to bring Arizona within one, 54-53. After a timeout, Stanford inexplicably turned it over on a shot clock violation, seemingly unaware of the dwindling time. That gave Arizona, and McDonald, a chance.

Arizona called a timeout to advance the ball and inbounded to McDonald, whom Arizona rode all tournament. But Stanford trapped her, and McDonald couldn’t find space to get a clean look. Surrounded by three Stanford players, her contested, falling-away 3-pointer bounced long as she fell to the court, exhausted and heartbroken.

Stanford guard Kiana Williams (23) and Haley Jones celebrated after winning the national championship Sunday.

Stanford won its first national championship since 1992, the third of VanDerveer’s career.

“You know Tara and (assistant coach) Kate (Paye) always say, ‘No more nice girls from Stanford,’ and I think we proved that tonight with so much grittiness,” said Stanford point-forward Haley Jones, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. 

VanDeerver agreed. 

“We had to dig in,” she said. “I’m really proud of our team for doing that. Grit and resilience helped us cut the nets.” 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here