TAMPA, Fla. The bigger the stage, the better Candice Wiggins performs.
Wiggins continued her electrifying run through the NCAA tournament, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while getting some timely help from Kayla Pederson and JJ Hones as Stanford shocked Connecticut 82-73 in Sunday night's national semifinals.
Back in the Final Four for the first time in 11 years, the Cardinal (35-3) avenged an early-season loss to the Huskies (36-2) and advanced to Tuesday night's title game, where they'll put a 23-game winning streak on the line against Tennessee.
"This is my last time with this group," Wiggins said. "We didn't want the season to end. That's what's driving us."
Wiggins, the first player to have two 40-point performances in the same NCAA tournament, finished five assists shy of the first triple-double in women's Final Four history.
She didn't shoot particularly well, going 7-for-19 but made two huge 3-pointers to help Stanford pull away for good after UConn trimmed a seven-point halftime deficit to 47-46 and appeared to be taking control.
Down the stretch, the Cardinal's lone senior starter got lots of help from her supporting cast.
Hones hit a deep 3-pointer to put Stanford up 10 with 3:20 to go, then Pederson answered a 3-pointer that drew UConn within 71-66 with a long jumper of her own to send Cardinal fans into celebration mode.
Pederson finished with 17 points, and Jayne Appel added 15. Maya Moore led UConn with 20 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
TENNESSEE 47, LSU 46: Alexis Hornbuckle's only basket of the game was enough to get Tennessee back in the championship game. Hornbuckle's putback with seven-tenths of a second left lifted the Lady Vols to a 47-46 victory over LSU in Sunday night's national semifinal. It was the lowest-scoring game in Final Four history.
"I couldn't make a shot all night, but honestly, that was the only one that mattered," Hornbuckle said.
Candace Parker did all she could with her bum shoulder, scoring 13 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to lead the Lady Vols. Tennessee (35-2) moved within a win of its eighth national championship. To do it, the Lady Vols will have to beat Stanford on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, LSU's Final Four drought continued. The Lady Tigers, who have been a Final Four staple the last five seasons, again failed to make it to the championship game. LSU, only the second team to play in five straight Final Fours, matching the feat accomplished by Connecticut from 2000-04, has lost all five appearances.