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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane native Lexie Hull scores 20 points to lead Stanford over Texas and into Final Four

Stanford's Lexie Hull (12) and her sister Lacie Hull (24) celebrate after their win against Texas in the NCAA Women's Elite Eight game at the Spokane Arena on Sunday, March 27, 2022. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

Stanford is back in the Final Four, in no small part because of two special players from Spokane.

With the game on the line Sunday night and the Arena crowd cheering them on, Lexie and Lacie Hull made some of the biggest plays in the final minutes as Stanford beat Texas 59-50 to win the regional championship.

The defending national champion Cardinal were clinging to a two-point lead with 2½ minutes left in the game when Lexie made a driving layin and a foul shot.

But Stanford wasn’t home free until Lacie ended the next two Texas possessions with two of the biggest rebounds of the season.

Moments later, the celebration began. The players and Coach Tara VanDerveer hit the court to a shower of confetti.

The party lasted almost half an hour, and it ended with Lexie Hull wearing the net after scoring a game-high 20 points.

“It was super special to hear the crowd get super loud with us,” Lexie Hull said. “I remember looking out in the gym, and in every section I saw someone I knew.”

The win sends Stanford (32-3) to Minneapolis, where it will face either N.C. State or Connecticut in the national semifinals on Friday.

“I’m just super proud of our team and sticking together and being gritty, really proud of how well we played,” Lexie Hull said.

The Cardinal committed 20 turnovers – the same as in a 61-56 home loss to the Longhorns in November. They also made just three of 17 shots on long range.

However, Stanford outrebounded the Longhorns 42 to 28. They also made 18 of 22 free-throw attempts, while Texas was 11 for 20.

“What a tough game that was for us,” VanDerveer said. “We battled and it really showed how much we have improved.”

The game was tight throughout.

In the first half, Stanford committed nine turnovers and made just one of eight long-range shots. They also got just 5½ minutes out of starting forward Cameron Brink, who for the second straight game was in foul trouble.

Yet somehow the Cardinal led 30-27 at halftime thanks to Lexie Hull and first-team All-American guard Haley Jones.

By halftime, Lexie Hull led all players with 12 points; and Jones was well on the way to another double-double with six points and nine boards.

Lacie Hull chipped in with three first-half assists, including a crowd-pleasing bounce pass to Lexie that helped Stanford to an early 5-2 lead.

Texas led 14-10 late in the quarter, but Jones hit a 15-footer at the first-quarter buzzer to tie it at 14.

Texas shot just 37% in the first half, but was 4 for 6 from long range.

Brink made up for lost time after intermission, scoring the first five points of the third quarter, including a plus-one on a pass from Lexie Hull.

However, she picked up two quick fouls early in the third quarter and took a seat on the bench.

Joanne Allen-Taylor brought the Longhorns back, tying the game at 37 on a pair of foul shots. But seconds, later, Brink hit a 3, then stuffed a layin attempt by UT post Lauren Ebo.

Jones hit three foul shots after a last-second foul on Aaliya Moore to put Stanford ahead 45-40 going into the fourth. That also gave Jones a double-double with a quarter to play.

Jones, the most valuable player of the regional, filled the stat sheet as she usually does: 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

She also forced the Longhorns to foul in the paint, and she responded by making 10 of 11 foul shots.

The Cardinal also got 10 points from Brink in 21 minutes.

The Longhorns got 15 points from Allen-Taylor, who played almost 40 minutes. Guard Rori Harmon played every minute and finished with 14, though she needed 18 shots to get them.

Texas (29-7) got off only nine shots in the fourth quarter, making three.

“We had a hard time scoring, we had a bad fourth quarter,” Schaefer said.