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Stanford holds off Arizona to win 2021 national championship

The Cardinal hang on for their first national championship in 29 years and third in program history.

Haley Jones #30 of the Stanford Cardinals brings the ball up the court against Bendu Yeaney #23 of the Arizona Wildcats in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome on April 04, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In a dramatic finish, the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal held off the No. 3 Arizona Wildcats for a 54-53 win in the 2021 NCAA women’s basketball national championship game.

Cardinal Sophomore Haley Jones led all scorers with 17 points on 8-14 from the floor, as Stanford picked up their first national championship since 1992 and the third in program history, all under Basketball Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer.

Wildcats guard Aari McDonald had been the star of the tournament, but her defended heave from 19 feet as the clock expired hit the heel of the rim. McDonald finished with 22 points, but was just 5-20 from the floor. The Wildcats were a microscopic 17-59 from the field, and 6-22 from three-point range.

Stanford used their size to dominate on the glass, finishing with a 47-29 advantage. Cardinal Lexie Hull had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the only double-double in the contest.

With the win, Stanford stops a streak of 10-straight Final Four appearances without a victory.