Standing in the way of that historic matchup are Maryland and Stanford. The Terps advanced to their first Final Four since winning the national championship in 2006.
“There was a lot of deja vu the last couple days,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “It brings back special memories from 2006. Really the teamwork is the same, when you talk about your players and your staff and support staff, very similar to ’06 in terms of just being lined up together.”
Frese doesn’t mind that all the talk seems to be about the two unbeaten teams.
“I love it. It’s par for the course,” she said. “We’ll just try to fly under the radar and be who we are. Nobody expected us to be able to pull off this upset. It’s easy to say that a team should win on their home court, but this team just keeps believing and they just keep staying grounded, and we’ll just continue to be true to ourselves.”
Maryland will have a chance to avenge an 87-83 loss to Notre Dame in late January. Both Stanford and Notre Dame advanced winning regional finals at home, while Maryland had to go into Louisville before 14,002 to move on.
“We had them at home and let it slip away,” Maryland’s All-American Alyssa Thomas said. “We’re a different team now and looking forward to the matchup.”
Reaching the Final Four was about the only thing missing from Thomas’ stellar career.
While it’s Thomas’ first trip to the big stage, All-American Chiney Ogwumike has the Cardinal back in the national semifinals for the sixth time in seven years after beating North Carolina 74-65.
Stanford was eliminated in the regional semifinals by Georgia last season ending a streak of five straight trips to the Final Four.
Now Ogwumike has the Cardinal back in the national semifinals.
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