This was a tremendous game for 39:15, and then it all fell apart for UNC. Bummed that Sylvia Hatchell won't coach this team on Sunday. :-(— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek) April 2, 2014
North Carolina gave Stanford just about everything they could, coming out hot from three point range while containing Chiney Ogwumike in the first half, forcing the prospect #1 draft pick into an uncharacteristic five turnovers, and winning the offensive rebounding battle.
But in the second half, Ogwumike's refined post game proved too much for UNC's younger players, UNC's hot three point shooting touch went cold, and mental mistakes down the stretch killed UNC.
The Tar Heels had their chances, but ultimately Stanford's experience (and home court advantage?) overwhelmed UNC in the second half en route to a 74-65 win to advance to their sixth Final Four in seven seasons.
Mikaela Ruef was awarded Most Outstanding Player and appropriately so: for her entire career she's done things that don't necessarily show up in the box score, but tonight she read UNC's defense perfectly and figured out a way to exploit every gap in the D for herself or by setting up others.