NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT: Hassell, Georgia beat top-seeded Stanford
Andy Landers looked down at the stat sheet on the table in front of him. The numbers were almost exactly what the longtime Georgia coach anticipated.
Yes, even the final score: Georgia 61, Stanford 59.
Jasmine Hassell scored six of her 13 points in the final 3 minutes and fourth-seeded Georgia beat top-seeded Stanford 61-59 on Saturday night to reach the NCAA women’s regional finals for the first time since 2004.
Georgia overcame three major scoring droughts, including falling behind 9-0, to oust the No. 1 seed from the Spokane Regional and end Stanford’s hopes of reaching the Final Four for the sixth straight year.
Jasmine James led Georgia (28-6) with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 60-56 lead. It’s the 11th trip to the regional finals in Landers’ long tenure at Georgia.
“As we came down the stretch, our players, I think, figured out that they could make some plays and really did a nice job,” Landers said. “I think the thing that’s so good about the comeback and going ahead is that each one of those five players did something that was really significant as we did that. And they did something really significant on each end of the floor.”
Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford (33-3) with 26 points.
Tiaria Griffin scored 13 points, and Shacobia Barbee added nine as the Lady Bulldogs turned in another superb defensive effort to stymie Stanford and ruin any hopes of a Pac-12 showdown with No. 2 seed California in the regional final.
Georgia will play for a trip to the Final Four on Monday night against either the Golden Bears or No. 6 seed LSU. Georgia has not made the Final Four since 1999.
Georgia reached the round of 16 in 2005-07 and 2010-11, only to get ousted at that stage each time, including a 73-36 loss to Stanford in 2010.
Saturday night wasn’t so much about getting even with the Cardinal, as it was about getting Georgia back to where the Bulldogs believe they belong.
“To finally make the next step and go to the Elite 8 and now to be going into another game to try to compete to go to the Final Four is definitely back to where Georgia basketball needs to be, trying to compete for a national championship,” James said.
Whether it was the scoring droughts or the trouble slowing down Ogwumike in the first half, there was plenty of evidence that made Georgia’s late rally hard to fathom.
“The great thing about it is, we’re really good defensively and we rarely have droughts. So if we can just hang in there until somebody hits a shot, we’re going to be OK,” Landers said.
“That’s what I think happened tonight.”
CONNECTICUT 76, MARYLAND 50: Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 17 points, leading top-seeded Connecticut past Maryland in the regional semifinals.
Stewart got help from fellow freshmen Moriah Jefferson, 10 points, and Morgan Tuck, eight points, in sending the top-seeded Huskies (32-4) to their eighth straight NCAA regional final.
Alyssa Thomas, who had averaged 28.5 points in the tournament, had 13 to lead Maryland (26-8).
Maryland trailed 35-26 at the half and went scoreless for the first 3 minutes after halftime, allowing UConn to blow the game open.
The Huskies will play Kentucky in on Monday night in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
KENTUCKY 69, DELAWARE 62: Jennifer O’Neill scored 19 points and A’dia Mathies added 16 to help Kentucky hold off Delaware, ending Elena Delle Donne’s college career
The Wildcats (30-15) have already set a school record for victories.
Delle Donne had 33 points for Delaware (32-4) and finished her career as the fifth leading scorer in NCAA history.
She passed former stars Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdsclaw and Maya Moore on Saturday, but finished well short of Jackie Stiles’ record of 3,393 set at Southwest Missouri State from 1998-2001.