STANFORD, Calif. - Tennessee's Alexis Hornbuckle's 3-point attempt was way off. It settled into the hands of Stanford's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who then put her fist in the air as the buzzer sounded. Gold-Onwude then raced to her teammates, shrieking with excitement, as a sell-out crowd at Roscoe Maples Pavilion erupted.
With that, 11 years of frustration for one of the top women's basketball programs in the country came to an end.
Stanford's 73-69 win over top-ranked Tennessee took a little longer than planned - the No. 5 Cardinal blew a four-point lead in the final 30 seconds of regulation. But in the end it was just as sweet.
Candice Wiggins was the star, scoring 22 points for the Cardinal, 16 after a relatively-quiet first half. Jayne Appel added 19 for Stanford (10-1).
Tennessee (10-1) forced overtime on a spinning shot by Candace Parker with 7.4 seconds left in regulation. The Cardinal had appeared to have the game won with a 63-59 lead with 30.4 seconds to go but Parker scored with 22.6 remaining and Wiggins then missed two free throws with 16.9 left.
Parker finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds on the night.
Stanford came into the game having lost 11 consecutive games in the series but the Cardinal used a gutty performance in the second half from stars Wiggins and Appel to make a game of it. Wiggins, a senior guard, rebounded from missing four of her six shots in the first half. Appel, a sophomore post, scored 11 of her points after the break.
A 19-5 Cardinal run spanning both halves not only got Stanford back in the game, but gave the Cardinal a 41-38 lead. From there, it was a tight game befitting a battle between top-five teams.
Tennessee looked like it was well on its way to a 12th consecutive win over Stanford in the first half, running at will on the Cardinals. The Lady Vols defense also shut down the Cardinal's two main weapons - Wiggins and Appel.
The twosome reflected Stanford's shooting woes - 10-of-25 (40 percent) for the half. Meanwhile, Tennessee was pushing the ball in transition, making 16 of 27 (59 percent).
It started on the opening tip with Parker tipping the ball to Shannon Bobbitt, who fed Alexis Hornbuckle for a short jumper. That started a 6-0 run to start the game. Stanford tied it at 6-6, then the Lady Vols took control of the half.
The lead built to 25-15 and then 33-22. Finally, in the final moments of the half, the Cardinal went on a mini-run to cut the lead to 33-27 at the break.
It portended a much more competitive second half.