Stanford turns back Louisville 78-63, advances to 14th women’s Final Four

If at first you can’t hit a 3, try, try, try again. Specifically, try a different player — like maybe one off the bench. 

Ashten Prechtel came off the Stanford bench to score 16 points, including 3-of-3 from deep, to lift the Cardinal to the Women’s Final Four, beating second-seeded Louisville 78-63. It is top overall seed Stanford’s first Final Four since 2017 and 14th overall. 

The Cardinal will play South Carolina on Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

It was a 27-point swing for Stanford, which trailed 38-26 in the first half. The Cardinal, led by Prechtel, Lexie Hull (21 points, nine rebounds) and Kiana Williams (14 points, five assists) outscored Louisville 52-25 in the second half. 

Louisville came out on fire in the first half — at one point they’d hit 6-of-8 from 3 (they finished the first half 6-of-10). The Cardinals were terrific from midrange and made Stanford pay every time it went under a screen, hitting 16-of-31 from the field for a 38-26 lead. 

Meanwhile, Stanford couldn’t have thrown a basketball in water if the Cardinal was standing on a boat. The Cardinal was 1-of-9 from 3 and shot just 28% (10-of-36) from the field. Ten offensive rebounds, which turned into just nine second-chance points, helped them stay within striking distance. 

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Stanford guard Haley Jones controls the ball while defended by Louisville guard Mykasa Robinson. (Photo: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports)

Then, in the third quarter, Stanford remembered how good — and deep — it is, and used a 17-2 run to climb back into the game. Louisville took a 50-48 lead into the fourth quarter, but another 3 from Prechtel gave Stanford a 51-50 lead. Stanford led the rest of the night. 

Louisville’s Dana Evans went 4-of-7 in the first half for 10 points — but her most impressive performance came in her defense of Williams. Evans, the ACC player of the year, held the Stanford guard to 1-of-11 from the field and 0-of-3 from deep, also forcing her into two turnovers. Williams, a San Antonio native, looked tight in the first half. But she calmed down in the second, hitting floaters and deep threes to lead her team to the win. 

Evans finished with 24 points for Louisville; she was the only UL player in double figures. Haley Jones chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Stanford. The Cardinal also turned 17 offensive boards into 23 second-chance points. 

Follow reporter Lindsay Schnell on Twitter @Lindsay_Schnell

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