• December 6, 2021

Irish win Big East regular season title with triple overtime epic victory over Connecticut, 96-87

Notre Dame head coach Mufffet McGraw. Photo: John Dlugolecki
Notre Dame head coach Mufffet McGraw. Photo: John Dlugolecki

It was not always pretty. It was, however, fierce.

Two great teams, number two and number three in the country, that have had amazing games again and again in the Big East, going head-to-head to determine if Notre Dame would have sole custody of the Big East regular season championship and the top seed in the upcoming tournament, or whether Connecticut would earn a share of the regular season title and the top seed due to tiebreakers.

It took 55 minutes over three overtimes before the Irish wore down the Huskies. Neither team could shake the other, making and missing big shots at the same rate, and committing more turnovers than either would like to admit.

In the end it was All-American Skylar Diggins, who will most likely be named conference player of the year shortly, making the big plays and big shots in the final overtime to finish with 29 points to lead both teams in scoring, while playing all 55 minutes.

Diggins was ably assisted by “Husky Killer” Kayla McBride who had 26 points prior to fouling out, including the big three-point shot forcing a second overtime.

For Connecticut, star guard Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also played all 55 minutes, and led the team with 26 points. However, Notre Dame held Mosqueda-Lewis not only scoreless but also out of the Husky offense for long stretches of the game.

Kelly Faris contributed 21 points and 13 rebounds, and in the final overtime was the only Husky that was aggressively attacking the basket. Missed foul shots in the first overtime by Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart seemed to affect the play of the freshmen, who had played well in that first overtime. After their misses, they seemed reluctant to shoot the ball, leading to a stagnant offense that could not break through the Notre Dame defense. The Irish forced the Huskies into a season-high 34 turnovers.

While winning the regular season title is obviously quite an achievement, the outcome of this game does not have a large impact on the upcoming Big East tournament. Notre Dame will be the top seed, and play Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. Connecticut, the number two seed, plays Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

2013 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Field

Friday, March 8 – First Round (BE.tv)

Game 1             4 p.m.               #12 Seton Hall vs. #13 Cincinnati
Game 2             6 p.m.               #15 Pittsburgh vs. #10 Marquette
Game 3             8 p.m.               #14 Providence vs. #11 Georgetown

Saturday, March 9 – Second Round (BETV and BE.tv)

Game 4             Noon                #5 St. John’s vs. Game 1 winner
Game 5             2 p.m.               #8 USF vs. #9 Rutgers
Game 6             6 p.m.               #7 DePaul vs. Game 2 winner
Game 7             8 p.m.               #6 Villanova vs. Game 3 winner

Sunday, March 10 – Quarterfinals (ESPNU/BETV)

Game 8             Noon                #4 Louisville vs. Game 4 winner
Game 9             2 p.m.               #1 Notre Dame vs. Game 5 winner
Game 10           6 p.m.               #2 Connecticut vs. Game 6 winner
Game 11           8:30 p.m.          #3 Syracuse vs. Game 7 winner

Monday, March 11 – Semifinals (ESPNU)

Game 12           6 p.m.               Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner
Game 13           8 p.m.               Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner

Tuesday, March 12 – Championship (ESPN)

Game 14           7 p.m.               Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner

BETV – BIG EAST Regional Sports Network; BE.tv – streamed online at www.BIGEAST.tv; All times are Eastern

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