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NCAA women's tournament: Stanford erases 16-point deficit to beat Notre Dame

NCAA women's tournament: Stanford erases 16-point deficit to beat Notre Dame
Stanford's Erica McCall, left, battles Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale for a loose ball during the second half Sunday. (Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press) (Timothy D. Easley / AP)

Alanna Smith's layup with 23 seconds left capped Stanford's rally from a 16-point deficit in the second half, Erica McCall blocked a last-second shot and the Cardinal beat top-seeded Notre Dame, 76-75, Sunday to reach its first Final Four since 2014.

Brittany McPhee scored 27 points to help the second-seeded Cardinal (32-5) win their eighth game in a row. It was the third consecutive year that Stanford and Notre Dame met in the NCAA tournament, with the Cardinal winning twice.

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Trailing, 47-31, in the third quarter, Stanford surged to end Notre Dame's winning streak at 17 games. The Irish (33-4) had a final shot, but McCall blocked Arike Ogunbowale's drive from behind near the basket and Stanford grabbed the loose ball as time ran out.

"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."

The victory in the Lexington Regional final gives Stanford a chance to pursue its third national championship under Coach Tara VanDerveer.

"It took us a while to get going," she said, "but then when we got going, we were charging down that stretch and came across that finish line."

Ogunbowale finished with a team-high 25 points and the Irish put the ball in her hands at the end.

"It was a screen for Arike," Coach Muffet McGraw said of the final shot. "She was wide open and she probably could have shot it. That's hindsight."

Marina Mabrey scored 20 points for Notre Dame, which was seeking its sixth Final Four appearance in seven seasons.

Mississippi State 94, Baylor 85 (OT): Morgan William scored a career-high 41 points and the second-seeded Bulldogs knocked off the top-seeded Bears in the Oklahoma City Regional final.

William, a 5-foot-5 guard, was selected the most outstanding player of the regional. She set a school record for most points in an NCAA tournament game.

Victoria Vivians scored 24 points and Teaira McCowan had 10 for Mississippi State (33-4).

Kalani Brown scored 27 points and Nina Davis had 18 for Baylor (33-4), which lost in the Elite Eight for the fourth consecutive year.

William made a three-point basket to give Mississippi State a 73-68 lead in regulation, but Baylor responded with a 7-0 run, and Brown's basket put the Bears ahead by two points. William's layup with 22 seconds remaining tied the score, 75-75, and forced overtime.

There were 24 lead changes.

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