Stanford beats Arizona to win national championship
Stanford Cardinal players pose with the trophy after defeating the Arizona Wildcats in the national championship game of the women's Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Alamodome.  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford survived against underdog Arizona to win 54-53 in the national championship game of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Sunday. The championship marks Stanford’s first since 1992.

Stanford got out to an early lead in the game before Arizona momentarily took the lead at 21-20 in the second quarter. After the Cardinal retook the lead a few seconds later, it never surrendered it again, although Arizona did make it close.

Stanford led by double digits at points in the second half and led 54-50 in the final minute against the Wildcats. But the Cardinal shut down their offense over the final few possessions and acted as if they were just trying to kill the clock. The strategy nearly backfired, as Arizona ended up with possession for the final shot at the buzzer.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Aari McDonald was well defended by Stanford on the final shot, which hit off the rim and missed, giving the Cardinal the national title.

Stanford entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed. Its only losses this season came in conference to Colorado and UCLA. The Cardinal finished the season on a 20-game winning streak and won their final two games by a point each.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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