UW coach Mike Neighbors was an assistant at Xavier in 2010 when Stanford stunned the Musketeers with a last-second victory to go to the Final Four.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — It would be difficult to script a more cruel way to lose.
The setup: Washington coach Mike Neighbors was an assistant on Kevin McGuff’s staff at Xavier in 2010 when they matched up with top-seeded Stanford in the Elite Eight in Sacramento.
Xavier, seeking its first Final Four berth in the NCAA women’s tournament, had not one but two prime chances to break a late tie, only to see guard Dee Dee Jernigan miss two layups in a frantic final 15 seconds.
Jernigan collapsed on the court, with Neighbors the first to greet her and bring her to the bench as Stanford called a timeout with 4.4 seconds left.
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The result: Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen raced the length of the court in those 4.4 seconds, releasing a layup just a touch before the final buzzer, to score and send Stanford to the Final Four.
The rematch: Neighbors, in his third season as UW’s coach, leads the seventh-seeded Huskies (25-10) against fourth-seeded Stanford (27-7) at 10 a.m. PT Sunday in the Lexington Regional final at Rupp Arena. Washington is seeking its first-ever Final Four berth. Stanford is playing for its 13th Final Four trip.
“There’s a long history with Stanford, not just with Washington and this particular team, but that (Xavier) game,” Neighbors said. “To be in a similar situation now, it’s eerie to flash back.”
They split their two meetings earlier this season. Stanford won at home, 69-53, on Jan. 29. The Huskies won in the Pac-12 semifinals, 73-65, on March 4.
The Huskies advanced to their first Elite Eight since 2001 with an 85-72 victory over host Kentucky on Friday night.
Stanford knocked off top-seeded Notre Dame, 90-84, in Friday’s late game.