Paige Bueckers scored 14 points and UConn advanced to the national championship game with a 63-58 win over defending champion Stanford on Friday night.
The UConn women will now move onto the finals and take on South Carolina Sunday night.
It’s UConn’s first trip to the championship game since 2016, when the Huskies won the last of four straight championships. Since then, the team has suffered heartbreaking defeats in the national semifinals, losing twice in overtime.
UConn (30-5) will be seeking its 12th national championship, and the Huskies have never lost in an NCAA title game.
They had to work to get to the finals. Leading by 52-44 with 1:26 left, Stanford made a furious rally thanks to a few costly UConn turnovers.
Cameron Brink’s layup with 18.4 seconds left got the Cardinal within 60-58. UConn was able to work seven seconds off the clock before Christyn Williams was fouled with 11 seconds left. The senior guard calmly swished both free throws to restore a two-possession lead.
Ashten Prechtel completely missed a tough contested 3-pointer from the wing with 5.4 seconds left and the Huskies held on for the win.
Haley Jones led the Cardinal with 20 points.
Stanford and UConn have met on the biggest stage in women’s basketball many times over the past 27 years.
It's a rivalry between the two storied programs led by Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma and Tara VanDerveer, five years after their previous meeting.
VanDerveer and Auriemma have played in the Final Four or national championship game against each other five times, with UConn winning four of the meetings.
The two teams met in the Final Four 27 years ago to the day in Minneapolis in 1995.
UConn sophomore star Paige Bueckers grew up 10 miles from Minneapolis. Many friends and family came out to support her at the game.
People in Connecticut cheered on the team at watch parties across the state.
Many came out to see the game while enjoying food and beverages at Buffalo Wild Wings in Wethersfield.
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