NCAA BASKETBALL | Stanford Punches Ticket to Final Four

03/26/2017 04:17 PM

The #2-seeded Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team is heading back to the Final Four for the first time since 2014.

The Cardinal mounted a serious second half comeback against the #1-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday afternoon inside Lexington’s Rupp Arena.

Stanford, who trailed 45-31 at halftime, came back to win a 76-75 thriller. In fact, the Cardinal trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half.

Stanford took the lead for good on a jumper by Alanna Smith with 23 seconds remaining, giving the Cardinal the 76-75 lead.

The Irish then had a chance to score a game-winning basket with one second left, but Arika Ogunbowale’s shot was off the mark.

“I was talking to God the whole time,” said Stanford forward Erica McCall. “‘Please don’t let her make this shot!’”

The third quarter proved to be a major turning point in the contest with the Cardinal outscoring the Irish 24-12.

“We lost it in the third quarter,” said Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame head coach. “I don’t know what happened. We just couldn’t score, and we couldn’t defend. I think the more they got on a run, the tighter we got on offense. That was a killer.”

Stanford guard Brittany McPhee led all scorers with 27 in the contest. Fifteen of those points came from behind-the-arc as McPhee made five three-pointers in the game.

Joining McPhee in double-digits for the Cardinal were Karlie Samuelson and Alanna Smith, who each had 15 points.

Meanwhile, the Irish were led by guard Arika Ogunbowale’s 25-point performance.

Guard Marina Mabrey tacked on 20 points for Notre Dame, while fellow guard Lindsay Allen added 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Former Elizabethtown basketball star and Notre Dame forward Erin Boley finished her freshman season with a nine-point performance on Sunday.

After the game, Boley described what Stanford did differently in the second half that changed the game:

On deck for Stanford is the winner of Monday’s Stockton Regional Elite Eight battle between #1-seeded South Carolina and #3-seeded Florida State.

Andrew Chernoff

Andrew is a sports anchor and sports managing editor for Spectrum News. He covers sports all across the state of Kentucky for Sports Night, which airs weeknights at 6:30 and 10:30 on Spectrum News. Andrew was a sports anchor and reporter at KFDM/KBTV in Beaumont, Texas for four years before making the move back home to the Midwest. He is originally from Carmel, Indiana and majored in broadcast journalism and political science at Syracuse University.

When he’s not on the air or in the field covering sports, you can likely find Andrew playing golf, watching IndyCar and Formula 1 races, or exploring the state of Kentucky. His favorite sport is open-wheel racing. In fact, he has not missed an Indianapolis 500 since the early 2000s.

Whether he is working sporting events or not, he always loves talking sports. He is a prolific tweeter, so if you want to stay “in the know” about sports in the Bluegrass, follow Andrew on Twitter @ADChernoff. If you have a story idea for our sports team, send it to Andrew at Andrew.Chernoff@charter.com.

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