Candice Wiggins checked off the one accomplishment missing in her career at Stanford — getting the Cardinal back to the Final Four.
The three-time Pac-10 player of the year, Wiggins scored 41 points, and got some help from unlikely sources as the second-seeded Cardinal pulled away from No. 1-seed Maryland 98-87 on Monday night in the Spokane Regional final.
Playing with a swagger and confidence bred from Stanford being denied a No. 1 seed in the tournament, the Cardinal are back in the Final Four for the first time in 11 years. They will face either Connecticut or Rutgers in the national semifinals in Tampa.
“We knew coming in we were the underdogs,” Wiggins said through tears as her teammates jumped up-and-down on the NCAA logo as “All Right Now” was played by the Stanford band. “We stayed tough and did the things that got us here and we’re going to keep it going.
“It’s amazing. It’s the most incredible feeling.”
With a young supporting cast, Stanford took its cue from Wiggins, its senior star who failed in two previous regional finals as a freshman and sophomore. She bounced all over the court, providing problems for the Terrapins, whether hitting step-back 3-pointers or rising between defenders in the lane.
Maryland made one final charge. Toliver scored nine straight points to pull Maryland within single digits at 79-72 following a 3 with 6:19 to play. Wiggins answered with a 3 from the top of the arc moments later.
-- The Associated Press