Last Updated 12:13 PM, July 02, 2021

Stanford wins 2021 NCAA championship in a thriller over Arizona

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Recap: No. 1 Stanford wins third NCAA title by beating No. 3 Arizona in thriller
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2:07 am, April 5, 2021

Recap: No. 1 Stanford wins its third NCAA title over No. 3 Arizona

After a year without the NCAA women's basketball tournament, we finally crowned a 2021 national champion. No. 1 overall seed Stanford hoists the championship after a season filled with adversity due playing through the COVID-19 pandemic, including not having the luxury of playing on its home court. Despite the challenges, the Cardinal earned its third national title and first since 1992. NCAA.com's Autumn Johnson's recaps the 2021 NCAA women's basketball championship game: 

Recap: No. 1 Stanford wins third NCAA title by beating No. 3 Arizona in thriller

Here are the results and Highlights of the championship game: 

Stanford defeats Arizona, 54-53

No. 1 Stanford def. No. 3 Arizona, 54-53 | Highlights 

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12:15 am, April 5, 2021

Stanford wins the national championship in thriller over Arizona

No. 1 Stanford won its first NCAA title since 1992 in a nail-bitter against No. 3 Arizona, 54-53. This makes Stanford the first team in tournament history on both the men's and women's side to win the semifinal and final games by one point. Haley Jones won the Most Outstanding Player after a dominant performance, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. Lexie Hull and Cameron Brink combined for 20 points for the Cardinal. 

It was a game of runs, but Arizona's defense began to the favor the Wildcats in the second half, turning that defense into offense. The Wildcats forced the Cardinal to finish with 21 turnovers. The Wildcats used those opportunities to score in transition and found themselves trailing by only three points heading into the fourth quarter to remain remain competitive against the No. 1 overall seed.

Stanford sent their entire team to take away Arizona's go-to scorer Aari McDonald, but she started to find ways to make Stanford's interior defense pay by attacking the basket. A crucial 3 and three free throws made it a one-point game to list the Wildcats' hopes of winning their first national championship, but McDonald couldn't get the buzzer beater to fall. McDonald ended her final game with 22 points. 

11:59 pm, April 4, 2021

4Q: No. 1 Stanford 54, No. 3 Arizona 53

Aari McDonald hits a crucial three to push a 10-2 run against Stanford. With less than a minute to go, three free-throws McDonald makes it a one-point game with 5.5 left on the clock in hopes of hoisting the national championship for the first time. 

11:40 pm, April 4, 2021

End of 3Q: No. 1 Stanford 43. No. 3 Arizona 40

No. 3 Arizona's lock down defense got this team to the championship stage, and the Wildcats continues to suffocate its foes to help them cut the deficit against Stanford to make it a three-point game for a chance to win the NCAA title. Arizona racked up 10 steals in the first three quarters and has forced Stanford to turn the ball over 17 times. The Wildcats were able to convert their defense into offense in the final stretch of the third quarter to put up six points in transition.  

11:24 pm, April 4, 2021

3Q: No. 1 Stanford 41, No. 3 Arizona 31

Stanford has taken away Aari McDonald's ease to get to the basket, but that hasn't stopped McDonald. She's making sure she picks up some contact along the way to get her points from the charity shot. Four of McDonald's seven points have came from the free-throw line, including a crucial three that kick started her scoring in the third quarter. McDonald has 12 points, so far, which records 93-straight games she's scored in double-figures. This is the longest streak in the nation.
10:59 pm, April 4, 2021

Halftime: No. 1 Stanford 31, No. 3 Arizona 24

No. 1 Stanford goes on an 11-3 run to take the lead over No. 3 Arizona, 31-24. Lexie Hull's AND-1 from the three shifted the entire momentum of the run, as she completed the four-point play. Hull is leading the Cardinal's offense with eight points. A key piece of Stanford's starting line was benched as Haley Jones and Cameron Brink picked up two early fouls. Ashten Pretchel has been huge off the bench, scoring at all areas on the floor as a big. Pretchel has seven points, so far. 

However, Stanford has been plagued by mistakes caused by Arizona's pressure defense. The Cardinal turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, but the Wildcats have to find a way to capitalize on those opportunities to create offense from its defense to remain competitive in the second half. Arizona's Aari McDonald will have to find a way to get her shot off as Stanford holds the offensive threat to only five points. 

10:47 pm, April 4, 2021

2Q: No. 3 Arizona 21, No. 1 Stanford 20

Arizona begins to come alive in the second quarter, starting off with Cate Reese's back-to-back buckets in the paint. Stanford has been focused on taking away McDonald's ability to get to the basket and long-range shooting, so her teammates have stepped up to produce balanced scoring. Trinity Baptiste and Shaina Pellington have nine points together thus far. 

10:36 pm, April 4, 2021

End of 1Q: No. 1 Stanford 16, No. 3 Arizona 8

It's been cold shooting for Arizona in the first quarter as the Wildcats trail Stanford, 16-8. Arizona shot 16.7 percent, including its go-to-scorer Aari McDonald shooting 1-for-5 from the floor and 1-for-3 beyond the arc. However, Arizona's defense has kept them close in this matchup picking up two steals so far. The Wildcats have not been able to convert those steals into fast break opportunities on the other end. 

10:22 pm, April 4, 2021

1Q: No. 1 Stanford 12, No. 3 Arizona 3

No. 1 Stanford comes out blazing with consistent shooting, going on a 10-0 run against No. 3 Arizona. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Ashten Prechtel and Kiana Williams forced the first timeout of the game. Arizona's Aari McDonald was able to get off an early 3, but picked up her first offensive foul after forcing her way inside the Cardinal's paint. 

1:05 pm, April 4, 2021

National championship game is happening now

After starting with 64 teams in the 2021 NCAA women's basketball tournament, it comes down to No. 1 Stanford meeting No. 3 Arizona for the national title.

Here is the schedule and TV information for tonight

Stanford took down No. 1 South Carolina in its semifinal game and the Wildcats upset No. 1 UConn to set up an all Pac-12 national championship game. The Cardinal will look to win its first NCAA title since 1992, while the Wildcats will attempt to win it all in their first title game appearance.

Here's the Final Four results and highlights:

These two teams have played each other twice this season, with Stanford winning 81-54 back on Jan. 1 and 62-48 on Feb. 22. Stanford is 71-14 vs. Arizona all-time and is 9-1 in the teams' last 10 meetings. 

Both teams boast impressive senior talent in Arizona's Aari McDonald and Stanford's Kiana Williams — but many different players have stepped at different times for each squad. If this game is anything like the semifinals, fans are in for a treat. 

4:54 am, April 3, 2021

The 2021 Women's Final Four, semifinals recap

After starting with 64 teams in the 2021 NCAA women's basketball tournament, it comes down to No. 1 Stanford meeting No. 3 Arizona for the national title.

The Cardinal took down No. 1 South Carolina and the Wildcats upset No. 1 UConn to set the Sunday, April 4 final. The Cardinal will look to win its first NCAA title since 1992, while the Wildcats will attempt to win it all in their first title game appearance.

Here's NCAA.com's Autumn Johnson recapping Friday's Final Four action: 

The 2021 women's Final Four, semifinals recap

Here's the Final Four results and highlights:

3:27 am, April 3, 2021

Arizona takes down UConn, advances to the national title game

No. 3 Arizona advanced to the 2021 NCAA women's basketball national championship after taking down No. 1 UConn, 69-59. The Wildcats used their defense to shut down the Huskies' offense, holding them to 35.7 percent shooting. 

Arizona will play Stanford for the title at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Aari McDonald continued her tournament dominance, finishing with 26 points. McDonald did not let up the entire game with four 3-pointers. She was also tasked with defending AP Player of the Year and freshman sensation Paige Bueckers, who finished with 18 points. Arizona's defense continued to force problems, with Trinity Baptiste getting the steal and capitalizing on the fast break opportunity to put the dagger in the game. 

3:13 am, April 3, 2021

3Q: No. 3 Arizona 56, No. 1 UConn 46

UConn takes a big loss as Christyn Williams fouls out with 3.51 seconds left on the clock with the Huskies down, 56-46. Williams leads UConn with 20 points. Paige Bueckers has 13, so far. 

 

2:40 am, April 3, 2021

End of 3Q: No. 3 Arizona 48, No. 1 UConn 39

No. 3 Arizona looks to upset No. 1 UConn heading into the final quarter, 48-39, for a chance to advance to the National Championship Game. Paige Bueckers and Christyn Williams started off the quarter with seven points to make it a four-point game. So far, the backcourt duo has combined for 28 points. But it wasn't long after that Arizona's defense left UConn scoreless for three minutes as the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run. The Wildcats' defense has been the story of this matchup, but it's been UConn's pressure that held Aari McDonald to only two points in the third quarter.