Lexie Hull leads Stanford to Elite Eight win in her hometown

(Photo by Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Stanford is headed back to the Final Four, with the No. 1 seed and reigning national champion securing a 59-50 win over the No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns.

It was a rematch between the two teams following a November contest in which the Longhorns spoiled Stanford’s ring night celebration of last season’s title. In that game, a fourth-quarter comeback led Texas to a 61-56 win.

A similar story played out Sunday night, as the Cardinal took a five-point lead into the fourth. Texas cut the lead down to two before Lexie Hull was fouled and converted the three-point play. Stanford never looked back.

“It was a big play, no doubt about it,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said.

This marks the second straight year that the Longhorns have been eliminated in the Elite Eight.

Lexie Hull had 20 points for the Cardinal while sister Lacie contributed five rebounds and four assists. Afterward, Lexie Hull called it a “gritty” win.

“I’m just super proud of our team for staying with it, sticking with each other and being gritty,” Hull said. “I think it really comes down to who was the grittier team.”

Playing in their hometown of Spokane, the Hull sisters were the last to cut down the nets in the postgame celebration.

“I just remember after the game looking out and in pretty much every section of the gym, I knew somebody,” Lexie Hull continued. “It was super special. Tara told us at the end of our game in Spokane that if we [won in] Spokane, Lacie and I would get the nets. So we were really excited to have that opportunity tonight and really felt the love and support from everyone.”

As part of a full team effort by the Cardinal, Haley Jones added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double. Cameron Brink scored 10 points in the third quarter after sitting most of the first half in foul trouble. Francesca Belibi contributed 11 rebounds before fouling out.

Joanne Allen-Taylor had 15 points for Texas before fouling out. Rori Harmon added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Turnovers were an issue for Stanford. The Cardinal gave the ball away 20 times, including 11 in the second half. But the Longhorns didn’t capitalize, scoring just 15 points off the turnovers. Texas also struggled with free throws, making just 11 of 20.

“When you’re going to play in these games, y’all, you’ve got to make free throws, and we’ve done that until today,” Schaefer said.

Following the win, the Cardinal danced in celebration.

“I think it just loosened people up and showed them that I had confidence in them,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “And they know I can’t dance so they’re watching me and laughing, so it was all good.”