After being named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament, Haley Jones said the Cardinal’s team chemistry helped them overcome the season’s difficulties (1:52)

It was worth the wait 29 years after winning its last NCAA title, Stanford is again a national champion, the Cardinal held in San Antonio before Arizona 54:53 on Sunday, and Wildcats star guard Aari McDonald missed one just before the buzzer Shot

The No. Stanford and coach Tara VanDerveer won their third championship at the third NCAA women’s basketball tournament in 2021 and contributed to the program’s titles in 1990 and 1992.The 29-year-old gap is the longest for any Division I coach in any sport

McDonald gutted 22 points and was harassed by Stanford’s defense all night, despite falling up to 11 points on each half, the Wildcats still had a chance to win it

How did Stanford win the title, beating Arizona for the third time this season? How did the Cardinal, displaced by improved COVID-19 guidelines and forced on a nine-week road trip through six different states, become the last team to stand after the most unique season in college basketball history? Our ESPN Com panel of Andrea Adelson, Charlie Creme and Mechelle Voepel takes a look at the Cardinal’s victory and takes a quick look at what to expect in 2021-22

Voepel: There have been a multitude of Stanford greats, but three won the Women’s Final Four for Greatest Player: Jennifer Azzi in 1990, Molly Goodenbour in 1992, and now Jones Azzi was a cornerstone of the program, just like Jones for that particular era of Stanford basketball

Legends are either made or faded in the Final Four, and Jones had some memorable moments here at the Alamodome, including her jump shot 32 seconds ahead that turned out to be victory points in Friday’s semifinals

Jones is from Santa Cruz, California, about an hour south of Stanford, and she got there with great expectations.She had a good academic year before she was injured, but then faced uncertainty as the coronavirus pandemic cut the season off and forced her home when she should have been on campus for physical therapy and rehab

“It was heartbreaking I’ve never been hurt like this,” Jones said. “It was very difficult I think a lot of my confidence came from working on the basics The Steph Curry Ball Dribbling Drill that we did in training I did it at home every day I dribbled with my mother in my garage and only did the little things to find love for my game again

“When you get hurt, it’s hard. You lose faith; why am I doing this? Where does the motivation come from? Doing little things with the people I love around me somehow helped me regain a passion for the game to develop, and my confidence somehow came from there “

Adelson: I’ll admit, by the middle of the fourth quarter, I had no idea who was going to win the most outstanding player, someone had to move up, and it was clear that Jones had to be that person for Stanford when they got into bad trouble in the first half struck, Stanford wasn’t nearly as effective on offense, allowing Arizona to get back into the game

And when Arizona got back in the fourth quarter, it seemed obvious that Jones was the only player the cardinal could turn to to save the day Arizona coach Adia Barnes spoke at length about why Jones did so is effective – because it’s so close to the basket. And when Arizona gave her some room to take a few shots, she did

“I didn’t have the best first half, I had bad problems that hurt me, the team,” said Jones. “I had to go back in the second half. Alyssa [Hieronymus] said to me:” This is your half , this is all you, this is your time “I just knew I had to shoot the ball when it came to me I had confidence in myself to get these shots”

Creme: There was a certain mood for McDonald to win the MOP award even though Arizona was running short, but Jones definitely deserved the honor Stanford is no national champion without her. In fact, the Cardinals don’t even play for without Jones Their performance against South Carolina in the semifinals was equally important. Stanford became the first team to win a championship with two one-point wins in the Final Four. It is no accident that Jones scored the last Stanford points in both games / p>

The 6-foot-1 runner-up scored 24 and 24 respectively in the two games 17 points, with each team performing at their best Jones also made it out of the field with an efficient 19-of-28 When a shot had to be made, VanDerveer ensured Jones had a chance late in the title game against Arizona, Jones also became the main ball handler on the back seat against Arizona’s pressure

VanDerveer used 11 players in the championship game, but senior Kiana Williams (five points, six turnovers) wasn’t herself, so Jones was the only Stanford player who could create her own shot, doing so three times in the fourth quarter and scored seven of Stanford’s 11 points in the last 10 minutes, including a brilliant three-point play on the lane that gave Stanford a 2:24 lead of 54:50 that’s MOP-like stuff

Stanford holds Arizona back late when Wildcats guard Aari McDonald’s shot off and the Cardinal wins the national title

Cream: After the game, VanDerveer admitted Stanford didn’t play too well but she may sell her team and herself in terms of the Cardinal’s defensive schedule and efforts

McDonald’s appearance went just like the other two Stanford-Arizona meetings and managed to collect their points, but it took inefficient shots to achieve this, and this weakened the Wildcats’ ability to put together anything sustainable throughout the game, a McDonald’s game-high 22 points with 21 shots were far from their 26 points in 17 field attempts against UConn or 33 points in 20 field attempts against Indiana in the Elite Eight

The difference was Stanford’s experience in defending McDonald’s and the ability to run a game plan to slow them down. Anna Wilson, who was battling to defend South Carolina’s Zia Cooke in the semifinals, was very good at putting McDonald’s in on the floor which the Cardinal had preferred to run, the length of Jones, Cameron Brink, and Ashley Prechtel on the edge did the rest

Adia Barnes, the Arizona womens basketball coach, is proud to represent mothers and black women and grateful for the opportunity to make it onto the biggest stage

Adelson: Charlie Made It In addition to that plan, what I found most interesting about what McDonald later said was that Stanford was even more physical than the teams’ first two meetings, so I asked VanDerveer why this was part of the schedule this time

“In the NCAA tournament, it’s very physical,” she said, “South Carolina is very physical Louisville is very physical The state of Missouri is very physical So we got more physical over the course of the tournament”

Arizona only shot 29% for the game, and Barnes later noted that what Stanford likes to do defensively is just not a great matchup for what the Wildcats want to do on offense, “Playing against Stanford in the quarterfinals , Arizona is not an advantage, “Barnes said.” If we go downhill and play fast in transition, our defense, which creates our offense, is an advantage for Arizona, we have not been able to convert some of these things “

Voepel: Stanford won two regular season meetings with the Wildcats with 27 and 14 points. This was, as expected, so much more difficult for Stanford to win. The reason VanDerveer is now 65-11 against Arizona after today’s win is That she had one of the best defensive teams she’s ever had that says something if you had teams of defensive players the caliber of Val Whiting and Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, but this Stanford team showed a tenacity VanDerveer asked of them, and that applies to both internal and external defense

Relive the excitement and relive the greatest moments of the women’s NCAA tournament as Stanford goes all the way to becoming the 2021 champion

Cream: The top two recruiting classes include UConn and South Carolina, and neither team is losing key contributors. It would be hard to bet against one of the two Final Four favorites in 12 months. I had a great feeling this season that this would be was the year the Huskies were brought in because they might be close to another big series of championships With the arrival of Azzi Fudd in Storrs, talent jumps to another level in UConn’s most dominant years, depth was always the only question That won’t be the case next season. The Huskies are my favorite to win the title

The Big Ten and NCAA tournaments were a great showcase for Iowa We saw the excitement of the Hawkeyes’ offense and the incredible skills Caitlin Clark possesses. When the Hawkeyes feel a player is a more serious Final Four contender before a breakthrough Lisa Bluder could land a center or striker who can defensively control the color and protect the rim, Iowa could be next year’s Arizona

Adelson: I agree with Charlie UConn is my early favorite, although I think it’s fair to question whether the huskies should think about how this season ends.We know the huskies are giving back a lot of talent – including Paige Bueckers – but coach Geno Auriemma also admitted after losing to Arizona that his team needs to work on the many intangibles that make up championship programs that includes Bücker

Auriemma plans to make it back to the Final Four, but to win it all the Huskies need to develop better leadership and more mental toughness, along with a work ethic that doesn’t allow them to take anything for granted in this one For that matter, I’ll definitely keep an eye on South Carolina. The Gamecocks would be my next pick

Voepel: I think the missed setback in the national semifinals will propel Aliyah Boston of South Carolina all summer and she is already extremely motivated and talented. The core of the Gamecocks in Boston, Zia Cooke and Brea Beal will be juniors, and I think they’ll be on a mission next season.They’re my first pick to be champions in 2022, but I won’t be surprised if Stanford repeats that group of cardinals didn’t talk about the 29-year drought when this would be a huge burden on your shoulders, but you know that they were feeling the pressure to finally get another title for VanDerveer With this pressure Stanford was able to come back very well and win that title again Of course UConn will be there as usual

Cream: With seven of the ten players on the ESPN 2021 All-America teams returning next season, including Bueckers, the race is wide open, Bueckers must be at the top of the list, as is Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard who was the favorite this season, but Baylors NaLyssa Smith is the player I put at the top of my list, her athleticism is off the charts Smith’s overall play and confidence seemed to be catching up with her raw skills in the second half of the season, she seems ready to one reaching another level, which could make Smith, who won the Wade Trophy this season, the best player in the country

Adelson: Bueckers and Clark will get a lot of preseason love after their first season, but I’ll keep an eye on Michigan’s Naz Hillmon, whose career with the Wolverines has been on an uptrend since they arrived in Ann Arbor Hillmon to score this season a double-double (23) 6 PPG, 114 RPG) on average, and I think she will have the opportunity to be as dominant – if not more dominant – than Smith

Voepel: It’s going to be a fascinating race, and the preseason nod might actually go to Smith. Along with the aforementioned Charlie and Andrea, Boston from South Carolina, Jones from Stanford and Ashley Joens from Iowa State will also compete against each other may not have consensus for the award as there is a lot of talent

Stanford Women’s Basketball, Arizona Women’s Basketball, Stanford v Arizona, Haley Jones

World News – USA – How Haley Jones helped Stanford win the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship