What you saw is what you get from Candice Wiggins. The emotion that spilled out as the final seconds ticked off the clock in Spokane was as genuine as the talent that fueled her second 40-plus-point performance of the first four rounds.
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Two weeks ago, the NCAA selection committee told Stanford it was second-rate, creating a captivating piece of theater when the Cardinal women were captured on national television with expressions that ranged from hangdog to livid while, on the other side of the split television screen, Maryland wildly celebrated its No. 1 seed.
Player of the night
Sylvia Fowles posted 21 points and 12 rebounds for her SEC-record 85th career double-double, leading LSU past No. 1 seed North Carolina, 56-50, in New Orleans. But with all due respect to the Lady Tigers' star -- whose team advanced to its fifth consecutive Final Four -- Stanford's Candice Wiggins
gets the call. The senior scored 41 points on Monday to lead the Cardinal past Maryland, 98-87, and to its first Final Four since 1997. But Wiggins -- as reported by ESPN researcher Brett Edgerton -- also became the first player to post a pair of 40-point games in the NCAA tournament (she netted 44 points -- the third-best single-game effort in NCAA tournament history -- vs. UTEP in the second round). Even better, Wiggins is the only player to have multiple 40-point performances for her career in the tournament.
Only eight other players have scored at least 40 points in an NCAA tournament game, which Wiggins has now done twice in three games.
And Candice -- we loved your postgame interview. Don't ever apologize for that unbridled emotion. -- ESPN.com
LSU knocks off No. 1 seed North Carolina
Offensive juggernaut Carolina held to season low
NEW ORLEANS -- North Carolina's 50 points in its loss to LSU on Monday was the fewest the Tar Heels have scored this season -- by far.
Their previous low was 71 points against UConn on Jan. 21 -- which also happens to be the last time North Carolina lost before falling in the regional final.
"We played like -- excuse my language -- like (expletive) on offense," UNC's Erlana Larkins said, using what little kids sometimes refer to as the "s-word." We can't print it here, but we trust you can guess.
"We didn't move the ball like we were supposed to. At times we did a great job getting LaToya [Pringle] the ball inside, but for the most part, we did not move. We stood still."
Pringle said, "I agree. It wasn't necessarily their defense. We played against great defense in the ACC, but I just feel like it was us not moving on offense. We didn't move as fluidly as we usually do. I don't know what contributed to that."
LSU knew, however. It really was
"I think it's the best we've played all year," LSU's Sylvia Fowles said of her squad's defense. "We were focused and ready for everything they threw at us."
And Erica White said, "I think our defense in this game last year was excellent, and this team is a veteran group."
She was referring to the effort last season in the Elite Eight, when LSU also held UConn to the same amount of points as it did Carolina on Monday. LSU won that game 73-50, and another thing that was similar was how dominant Fowles was.
Against UConn in the Fresno Regional final, she had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots. Monday, she had 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
"I thought Sylvia was outstanding," said LSU coach Van Chancellor, whose team committed just 14 turnovers. "She was tremendous on Larkins; she held her to five points.
"I told [the players] that if we didn't turn the ball over more than 15 times, that was the first key, because that fuels their offense. And I thought their offensive rebounding did not hurt us."
-- Mechelle Voepel
Candice Wiggins gets emotional over win
A little research goes a long way
• Rashanda McCants and Erlana Larkins rank first and third, respectively, for UNC in scoring. But they didn't show it Monday. The two combined for just 14 points on 6-for-24 shooting (25 percent). Larkins (2 of 11) had five points, while McCants added nine. The two were especially ineffective in the second half. Larkins was held scoreless (0-for-7) and McCants scored five points on a pair of late buckets.
• Stanford's 98 points against Maryland ties the most points ever allowed by a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament. In another Elite Eight game 20 years ago, second-seeded Long Beach State posted 98 against top-seeded Iowa (which was coached by Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer). The score was the exact same as Monday's: 98-87.
• Stanford's 14 3-pointers against Maryland (14 of 28) were the most ever in any game beyond the second round. It's also tied for the third-most in any tournament game behind Harvard's 16 treys against Vanderbilt in 1996 and Iowa State's 15 3-pointers vs. St. Francis (Pa.) in 2000.
• North Carolina was held to fewer than 30 points in a half three times all year -- including twice Monday (21 in the first, 29 in the second). The only other time it happened was in a loss to UConn (27 points in the second half) in January.
• For as much as LSU made its matchup with UNC a defensive battle, Stanford and Maryland had no problem generating offense. In the first eight minutes of Spokane's regional final, the Cardinal and Terps combined for as many points (45) as LSU and UNC did in the entire first half of the New Orleans final.
• LSU joins Connecticut (2000-04) as the only programs to advance to five consecutive Final Fours. But though the Huskies won three national titles during that stretch, the Lady Tigers haven't made it out of the semifinals.
• Stanford's win Monday snapped a six-game losing streak in the Elite 8 for the Pac-10, and sends a conference team to the Final Four for the first time since the Cardinal went in 1997. In fact, this is the first time since '97 that a team west of Austin, Texas, has reached the Final Four.
-- ESPN researcher Brett Edgerton
Monday's Sweet 16 scores
• NEW ORLEANS
LSU 56, North Carolina 50
Stanford 98, Stanford 87
Cardinal headed to first Final Four in 11 years
On Tap For Tuesday
(all times Eastern)
• OKLAHOMA CITY
No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Tennessee
(ESPN, 7 p.m.)
No. 2 Rutgers vs. No. 1 Connecticut
(ESPN, 9 p.m.)
Hornbuckle as important as Parker
When you have a player as great as Candace Parker -- someone who doesn't just do everything, but does it all incredibly well -- it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking it doesn't matter who surrounds her.
Parker could have won a national championship and be trying for another Final Four no matter who she had as a supporting cast, right?
and she would be the first one to say that. Or maybe, before she even could say it, Pat Summitt would emphatically state, "You've gotta be kidding."
Because there's one player without whom Tennessee simply would not be Tennessee. The Orange Crush always has seemed to have at least one inextinguishable energy source on all its championship teams. This group has Alexis Hornbuckle.
Here's how Summitt, whose program goes for its 18th Final Four on Tuesday (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET) against Texas A&M, described Hornbuckle during Monday's news conference in Oklahoma City: "I think her game starts with defense, and just her commitment to get in the passing lanes. She's great on the ball. She is even more dangerous off the ball because she does have great awareness, great anticipation, and she is a risk taker.
She'll gamble, but for the most part, she's so heady in making those reads, and [is] one of the best all-around guards I've coached at Tennessee." More from Mechelle Voepel