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A heartbreaking finish capped Stanford’s 66-65 win over South Carolina in the Final Four of the NCAA Division I women’s college basketball tournament on Friday in San Antonio.
South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston stole the ball from Stanford forward Cameron Brink with the Cardinal up one and seven seconds remaining.
The ball found its way to South Carolina guard Brea Beal, who missed a running layup with a couple seconds left.
Boston then flew in for the rebound and got a game-winning shot attempt before the buzzer, but the ball bounced off the back rim and onto the floor.
Before the sequence, South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson went on a personal 6-0 run to turn a 64-59 deficit into a 65-64 lead. Stanford guard Haley Jones (24 points on 11-of-14 shooting) responded by grabbing an offensive rebound and nailing a baseline jumper with 32 seconds left for the 66-65 edge.
Stanford got a stop on the other end, forcing South Carolina to play the foul game in hopes of putting the Cardinal on the line, but Boston got the steal instead, leading to the end.
South Carolina isn’t getting as far as it did without Boston, who was named one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the best women’s and men’s collegiate basketball players.
The sophomore entered Friday averaging 13.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for a 26-win South Carolina team. Boston was also phenomenal again in the Final Four, posting 11 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
And obviously, South Carolina would have had a much harder time putting itself in position for the win if not for Boston’s game-ending defense.
As for Beal, the sophomore has been excellent on the boards, averaging 7.4 for the tournament. She also led South Carolina with three steals on Friday.
After the game, Las Vegas Aces star, WNBA MVP and ex-South Carolina standout A’ja Wilson tweeted the following:
As for Stanford, the Cardinal will advance to the national championship to face Arizona.