March Madness: Ole Miss stuns Cameron Brink, No. 1 Stanford to reach Sweet 16

Stanford had been to the regional round of the tournament 14 consecutive times.

The first top-seeded team of the women's NCAA tournament has fallen.

No. 8-seeded Ole Miss stunned Cameron Brink and No. 1 Stanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday night at Maples Pavilion. The Rebels held on to take a 54-49 upset win, which moves them into the Sweet 16, in the Seattle 4 region, for the first time since 2007.

Stanford, which never led Sunday, is the fifth No. 1 seed since 1994 to be knocked out of the tournament before the second weekend. The Cardinal had reached 14 consecutive regionals.

"Just an incredible amount of gratitude ... We just love each other so much," an emotional Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said on ESPN after the win. "We've been waiting for a big one, and I'm on social media and everyone saying, 'Y'all can't win the big one.' So for our team to do this, I'm just so full of gratitude."

Ole Miss completely shut down Stanford’s offense for a big stretch of the game. The Rebels ended the first half on a 6-0 run. While that sounds relatively small, they held Stanford scoreless for more than six minutes. The Cardinal made just one field goal through the first seven minutes of the third quarter, too, as Ole Miss pushed its lead to double digits.

That didn’t hold as Stanford ended the third quarter on a 10-4 run to cut the game to 7 points. Haley Jones got the game to a single possession with just more than two minutes left, which was the closest the Cardinal had been since the opening minutes. Brink then tied it with a pair of free throws after drawing an off-ball foul with 76 seconds left on the clock, which capped an 8-0 run.

With a chance for Stanford to take its first lead of the night, Hannah Jump turned the ball over after an inbounds pass. The miscue sent Madison Scott to the free-throw line for the Rebels to put them back up with 22 seconds left.

Ole Miss then came up with another clutch stop after double-teaming Jones in the post and forcing the ball out of bounds. Ole Miss retained possession after a review confirmed Jones touched the ball last.

Marquesha Davis hit a pair of free throws after Stanford fouled quickly, which pushed the Rebels’ lead to 4. The Rebels picked up another stop after intercepting an inbounds pass, which sent them back to the line and eventually to the 5-point win.

"Another poetic ending to get a steal to finish it off. That's who we are," McPhee-McCuin said on ESPN. "I'm so proud of our team. I'm so proud. We make a lot of sacrifices, you know? So for us to be rewarded in this way, in this fashion, it means the world to me."

Brink had a dominant performance for Stanford, and almost finished with a triple-double on blocks. Brink dropped 20 points, and had 13 rebounds and 7 blocks in the loss. She missed the Cardinals’ opening-round game due to a stomach bug, but seemed back to full strength. Stanford shot just 2-of-7 from behind the arc. Jones added 16 points and eight rebounds in the loss. They were the only two Cardinal players to score more than 8 points.

Angel Baker led Ole Miss with 13 points and 4 rebounds, and Davis finished with 12 points. The Rebels shot less than 30% from the field as a team, but forced 21 turnovers and outrebounded Stanford by 5.

Ole Miss will now take on either No. 4 Texas or No. 5 Louisville in the Sweet 16 in Seattle on Friday. No. 2 Iowa, which edged out a win over No. 10 Georgia earlier on Sunday, is now the highest-ranked seed left in the region.