Georgia overcame three major scoring droughts, including falling behind 9-0, to oust the No. 1 seed from the Spokane Regional and end Stanford’s hopes of reaching the Final Four for the sixth straight year.
Jasmine James led Georgia (28-6) with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 60-56 lead. It’s the 11th trip to the regional finals for coach Andy Landers in his long tenure at Georgia.
Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford (33-3) with 26 points, but was held to eight points in the second half. She also had 12 rebounds.
Tiaria Griffin scored 13 points, and Shacobia Barbee added nine as the Lady Bulldogs turned in another superb defensive effort to stymie Stanford and ruin any hopes of a Pac-12 showdown with No. 2 seed California in the regional final.
Georgia will play for a trip to the Final Four on Monday night against either the Golden Bears or No. 6 seed LSU.
Georgia has not made the Final Four since 1999. Georgia reached the round of 16 in 2005-07 and 2010-11, only to get ousted at that stage each time, including a 73-36 loss to Stanford in 2010.
Amber Orrange added 17 points for Stanford, but was only 7-of-24 from the field. The Cardinal shot 29 percent in the second half and struggled to find open looks for Ogwumike, who was dominant with 18 points in the first half. Ogwumike simply didn’t have enough of a supporting cast. Second-leading scorer Joslyn Tinkle struggled with foul trouble in the first half and went more than 35 minutes of game time without scoring. She finished with five points.
Georgia overcame a 5-minute scoreless drought to start the game, another 5 minutes with just two free throws late in the first half and another 7-minute lapse in the second half with just one basket that allowed Stanford to build a 42-34 lead with 11:50 remaining.
Still, the Lady Bulldogs were hanging around because Stanford was just 3-of-20 to start the second half. Georgia scored eight straight points, capped by a basket from Hassell to pull even at 42 with 8 minutes left.
The lead then went back and forth over the closing minutes with neither team leading by more than four points. Orrange dropped in a 16-footer for a 50-46 Stanford lead with 4:22 remaining, before Georgia’s closing surge.
Barbee converted a three-point play and after Ogwumike followed Orrange’s miss with a basket, Anne Marie Armstrong knocked down a 3-pointer for a 52-all tie. Orrange hit a 3, but Hassell hit consecutive shots and Georgia was back in front 56-55 with 1:45 left.
Mikaela Ruef missed in close twice and was fouled on the third attempt with 1:21 left. Ruef, a 53 percent free throw shooter on the season, split the pair for the fifth tie of the game, but Hassell answered right away for Georgia for a 58-56 lead with 1:02 left. Tinkle then lost control of a pass underneath. Georgia ran the clock before Griffin missed a 3. Barbee got the offensive rebound and James was fouled with 23.5 seconds left. She hit the pair for a four-point lead.
Stanford struggled to get a good look, but Tinkle finally hit a 3 with 5.1 seconds left. Georgia threw long to James on the inbound pass and the Lady Bulldogs were able to run off all but the final 0.8 seconds before Barbee was fouled. She split her free throws for the final margin and Georgia ran off the floor celebrating the upset.