LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kelsey Plum scored 26 points and Chantel Osahor had 24 points and 18 rebounds Sunday as Washington defeated Stanford 85-76 in the NCAA Lexington Regional final to earn its first women’s basketball Final Four appearance.
The seventh-seeded Huskies scored the game’s first 12 points and stayed ahead the rest of the way. Washington (26-10) will play either Syracuse or Tennessee in an NCAA semifinal April 3 in Indianapolis.
Stanford, the No. 4 seed, was seeking its 13th Final Four appearance overall, and seventh in the last nine years.
Lili Thompson scored 19 points for Stanford (27-8). Erica McCall added 17 points — all in the second half –and 15 rebounds.
This marked the first regional final between two Pac-12 schools since Stanford beat Southern California 82-62 on its way to winning the national championship in 1992, when the conference was still known as the Pac-10.
Osahor, who had shot a combined 3 of 13 and had averaged just 4.5 points in Washington’s two previous games with Stanford, was a model of efficiency Sunday.
She shot 8 of 11 from the floor to match her career high in scoring. Osahor’s physical presence early in the game also helped Washington stifle McCall, who went scoreless in the first half Sunday after scoring a career-high 27 points against Notre Dame.
Thompson shot 5 of 10 and scored 13 points in the first half, but her Stanford teammates were a combined 5 of 24 for 13 points.
The Cardinal shot much better in the second half and cut Washington’s lead to 67-63 with 7:19 left after Karlie Samuelson, Thompson, Marta Sniezek and McCall hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions.
Stanford had the ball with a chance to cut further into the lead when Plum made a steal and drove to the basket. Although Plum missed her layup, Talia Walton delivered a putback that made it 69-63 with 6:23 remaining.
The Cardinal made one more charge in the closing minutes, but Washington wouldn’t fold.
Walton had 12 points and Alexus Atchley added 11 for Washington. Samuelson scored 12 points and Sniezek added 10 points and six assists for Stanford, who shot 14 of 33 from 3-point range.
Washington: In its only two previous regional final appearances, Washington had fallen 76-50 to Auburn in 1990 and 104-87 to Missouri State (then known as Southwest Missouri State) in 2001.
Stanford: Samuelson shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range before fouling out. She ended up shooting 14 of 23 on 3-pointers in the tournament.
Washington faces either Syracuse or Tennessee in an NCAA semifinal April 3 in Indianapolis.