Erica McCall scored a career-high 27 points and No. 4 seed Stanford stunned No. 1 seed Notre Dame, 90-84, on Friday night in an NCAA Lexington, Ky., Regional semifinal, ending the Fighting Irish’s bid for a sixth straight Final Four appearance.
Stanford (27-7) advanced to the regional final Sunday against No. 7 seed Washington, which upset No. 3 seed Kentucky, 85-72, in the other semifinal. Stanford beat Washington during the regular season and lost to the Huskies in the Pac-12 tournament.
After trailing by as many as 15 points, Notre Dame (33-2) cut it to 81-78 on Madison Cable’s basket with 2:05 left. Stanford’s Karlie Samuelson, who scored 20 points, answered by banking in a three-pointer as the shot clock was expiring with 1:31 remaining.
Stanford stayed ahead by at least four the rest of the way and overcame Notre Dame’s uncanny ability to win close games.
Before Friday, Notre Dame had won its last 27 games that had either been decided in single digits or had gone to overtime. The Fighting Irish hadn’t lost a game by a single-digit margin since falling, 63-54, to Connecticut in the 2012 Big East tournament.
Lindsay Allen scored 20 points for Notre Dame. Brianna Turner added 16 points — all in the second half — and 10 rebounds. Cable had 12 points.
Kaylee Johnson had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Stanford, which shot 55.9% (33 for 59) from the floor. Lili Thompson and Marta Sniezek each added 11 points.
Syracuse 80, vs. South Carolina 72: Brianna Butler scored 10 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 3:01 left, and the Orange upset the No. 1 seeded Gamecocks in the Sioux Falls, S.D., Regional semifinal.
Syracuse trailed by as many as 13 late in the first half and was still down 11 in the middle of the third quarter before coming back to stun a South Carolina team that looked destined to make another appearance in the Final Four.
Instead, the fourth-seeded Orange (28-7) head to a regional final for the first time after winning for the 14th time in 15 games. Syracuse plays Tennessee on Sunday in the regional final.
Alexis Peterson scored 25 points to lead the Orange, Brittney Sykes added 17 and Briana Day had 13 rebounds.
Alaina Coates had 18 points and 16 rebounds for South Carolina (33-2). A’ja Wilson had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Tina Roy added 17 points off the bench for the Gamecocks.
Washington 85, Kentucky 72: Talia Walton scored 30 points, Chantel Osahor had 19 points and 17 rebounds and the seventh-seeded Huskies beat the third-seeded Wildcats in a Lexington Regional semifinal.
Kelsey Plum added 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds to help Washington reach its first regional final since 2001. The Huskies (25-10) will seek their first Final Four appearance in school history Sunday when they face Stanford in the regional final.
Makayla Epps scored 30 points for Kentucky (25-8). Evelyn Akhator had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Alexis Jennings added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Tennessee 78, Ohio State 62: Mercedes Russell scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and the Lady Vols continued their surprising run in the women’s NCAA tournament with a victory over the Buckeyes in a Sioux Falls Regional semifinal.
The Lady Vols (22-13), who upset No. 2 seed Arizona State last Sunday, beat the No. 3 Buckeyes (26-8) to reach the Elite Eight for the fifth time in six years. They’ll play Sunday against No. 4 Syracuse.
Russell finished 12 for 16 from the field, and Bashaara Graves, who was six for nine, had 14 points and nine rebounds. Te’a Cooper added 16 points and Jaime Nared had 11 rebounds.
Ameryst Alston led the Buckeyes with 21 points and Kelsey Mitchell had 20 while playing all 40 minutes.