UConn breaks curse of the Irish

Buy Photo Tim Martin/The Day UConn players Caroline Doty, top, second from left, Morgan Tuck (3), Heather Buck, background, Kelly Faris (34), and Kiah Stokes celebrate after the Huskies defeated Notre Dame on Sunday.

New Orleans - Fate had something redemptive in mind for the UConn Huskies, who used their fourth opportunity Sunday to erase a season's worth of angst in one night.

Now all questions of whether they can actually beat Notre Dame are answered affirmatively.

They can.

They did.

And they are going to play Tuesday for the program's eighth national championship.

UConn, victims of three gut-busting losses to Notre Dame this season, exacted their revenge in the game that counted most, earning an 83-65 victory in the national semifinals at New Orleans Arena.

The Huskies (34-4) will play upstart Louisville in an all-Big East final Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

UConn had lost seven of eight to the Irish, including this year's Big East regular season and league tournament championship. But they are such duller aches today.

"What's great about the NCAA Tournament is that we had to be better than Notre Dame for one night," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "And for just this one night, we were. Notre Dame is a great team."

Breanna Stewart scored 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 16 points and Bria Hartley scored 16 as well.

Kayla McBride led the Irish with 16. Skylar Diggins scored 10 but on 3-for-15 shooting from the field.

UConn fans dotted the downtown landscape all day and occupied a good portion of the sellout crowd. They were positively giddy by the end.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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