- M.A. Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.
STANFORD, Calif. — The No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks survived in an overtime battle of the top-two ranked teams in women’s basketball on Sunday, defeating the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal 76-71 at a sold-out Maples Pavilion.
It was the third No. 1 vs. No. 2 game in NCAA women’s basketball history to go into overtime; the others were South Carolina vs. the UConn Huskies in 2021 (won by UConn) Stanford vs. the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in 1992 (won by Tennessee).
In a matchup of the last two national champions, the Cardinal nearly beat a No. 1 team on their home court for the fourth time in a row. The program previously defeated top-ranked Tennessee (2007) and UConn (2010, 2014) at Maples. Stanford led 54-44 going into the fourth quarter, but was outscored 17-7 in that period.
Stanford also made two critical mistakes in the last 10 seconds of overtime, with a five-second violation trying to throw an inbounds pass and a technical when Kiki Iriafen called a timeout the Cardinal didn’t have.
“It was very disappointing to have the lead that we had and not finish the job,” Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said.
Instead, South Carolina won its 16th consecutive game against a ranked foe. It is the second-longest streak in SEC history.
Sunday’s game matched two seniors currently projected as the top two picks in the 2023 WNBA draft: South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and Stanford’s Haley Jones.
Boston, last season’s national player of the year, had 14 points and 13 rebounds, including the game-tying basket with 2.1 seconds left in regulation. With 28.8 seconds left in overtime, Boston fouled out for just the second time in her career, and first time since her freshman season. But by that point, South Carolina had regained the lead.
“In the huddle, coach (Dawn Staley) kept saying, ‘We’ve got to fight,'” Boston said. “I think it will boost our confidence, but it shows we need to hit first. We’re very resilient.”
Jones had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists. But Cardinal junior forward Cameron Brink was the star of the game, finishing with 25 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. She fouled out with 3:01 left in overtime.
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