Car­di­nal ral­lies from 16 points down to win


The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Gary B. Graves

lex­ing­ton, ky.» Even af­ter Alanna Smith and Stan­ford pulled off a huge rally to put Stan­ford in po­si­tion to reach the Fi­nal Four, there still was work to do.

That’s when Erica McCall stepped up and blocked Notre Dame’s path.

Smith’s layup with 23 sec­onds left capped Stan­ford’s come­back from a 16-point deficit in the sec­ond half, McCall swat­ted a last-sec­ond shot and the Car­di­nal edged top-seeded Notre Dame 7675 Sun­day for its first Fi­nal Four trip since 2014.

The Ir­ish had the ball un­der their own bas­ket with 2.2 sec­onds left, and there was a se­ries of time­outs be­fore play re­sumed. Akire Ogun­bowale caught the in­bounds pass and drove to the bas­ket, and McCall blocked the shot from be­hind.

“She took a drib­ble, and I’m like, I’m go­ing for it whether I get the foul or not,” McCall said. “I got a nice clean block off of it. We get the win. Whew, so I’m ex­cited.”

Brit­tany McPhee scored 27 as the sec­ond-seeded Car­di­nal won its eighth in a row over­all. This was the third straight year Stan­ford and Notre Dame have met in the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Stan­ford’s Alanna Smith bat­tles Notre Dame’s Jackie Young, left, in their re­gional ti­tle game Sun­day in Lex­ing­ton, Ky. Ti­mothy D. Easley, The Ass­so­ci­ated Press

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