Notre Dame delivers a stunning Final Four blow to UConn
Skylar Diggins led Notre Dame with 28 points.
Around the Web
INDIANAPOLIS – In a night of upsets during the NCAA Division I Final Four, Notre Dame delivered the eveningâ€™s finale in a stunning defeat of No. 1-ranked Connecticut in front of a crowd of 16,421 at Conseco Fieldhouse Sunday night. Led by the fearless play of sophomore point guard Skylar Diggins, the Irish ended a 12-game losing streak against the Huskies defeating them for the first time since January 30, 2005.
â€œI think this is my week for exorcising demons and getting over the hump of some of the best programs in the game. This is an incredible victory for our team and our program to beat a quality team with a great player like Maya Moore,â€ said Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw. â€œBut I thought Skylar was just amazing, simply amazing today. Natalie Novosel had a terrific game. We made big shot after big shot and we answered the runs. We were resilient and just really did a great job at the defensive end and rebounded really well in the second half. â€œ
It was a back and forth game during the first half. Notre Dame scored the first points of the game from a layup by freshman guard Bria Hartley but Natalie Novosel jumperâ€™s tied it up and from then on there were twelve lead changes and three ties before the break. UConn went into halftime with a 32-26 lead. The Huskiesâ€™ courtside entourage of fans included Diana Taurasi, who led the Huskies to three consecutive national championships (2002, 2003 and 2004).
Coming out of the break, UConnâ€™s Maya Moore scored first giving her team its biggest lead in the half, 34-26 at 17:56. In a balanced scoring attack, Diggins, Natalie Novosel, Devereaux Peters and Becca Bruszewski helped the Irish whittle away at the deficit until they managed to get a one point lead at 14:49. A free throw by Hartley tied the game up but Diggins made a jumper at 13:17 and began Notre Dame’s march to victory. Her jumper was a turning point in the game and the Irish kept the lead until the buzzer.
With a sizeable contingent of Irish fans in the audience, Notre Dame fed off of their supporters.
â€œIndiana is amazing,â€ said freshman forward Natalie Achonwa. â€œThere is tremendous support for us, fans that weren’t even initially supporting us, stayed after the first game and wanted us. I feel like our team and our coaching staff, we give off a vibe that brings people together. I think Indiana is an amazing basketball state and they support their basketball and athletics a lot and it’s great to have a great fan base here for us."
Diggins finished with 28 points. Natalie Novosel scored 22.
For UConn, Maya Moore had 36 points. Bria Hartley was the only other UConn player in double digits. She scored ten points.
The Irish face Texas A&M on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed on ESPN3.com.
- Notre Dame is now 2-0 all-time against UConn in the NCAA tournament, with both wins coming in the national semifinals.
- The Irish will meet the Aggies for just the second time ever. In the first meeting, Texas A&M won 88-84 in overtime on December 3, 1995, at the Kona Women’s Basketball Classic in Kona, Hawai’i.
- With the Irish win, it will only be the the third time in NCAA history that a team has played a title game in its home state.
Around the Web
- Notre Dame upsets UConn in semifinals (stamfordadvocate.com)
- Notre Dame Keeps Cool and Topples UConn (nytimes.com)
- Irish dethrone Connecticut (southbendtribune.com)
- Notre Dame upsets UConn in national semifinals (theday.com)
- Some Final Four fun (wsbt.com)