UConn finally beat Irish when it counted in 2013 Final Four

Here are some key moments from the past four seasons that have keyed UConn's last three national titles drives:

2012-2013

Jan. 5, 2013: This was the first of four games during the season when the "Notre Dame has UConn's number" narrative began.

The Irish beat the Huskies for the fifth time in six tries at Gampel Pavilion. Skylar Diggins scored 19 points, hitting big shot after big shot in the second half to lift fifth-ranked Notre Dame to a 73-72 victory. At the time, Notre Dame ended UConn's previous two seasons in the Final Four.

March 4, 2013: The third-ranked Huskies squandered a six-point lead in the first overtime in South Bend and a five-point lead in the second before falling 96-87 to Notre Dame in three overtimes, leading the second-ranked Fighting Irish to the Big East regular-season title outright for the second straight year.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma blamed the loss on UConnt's inability to handle the pressure Notre Dame's defense put on the ball, forcing 35 turnovers.

"We just need to take care of the ball better," he said. "Unless we get better at that, then this is going to be it for us. This is going to be the story of our season. We're going to come up a little bit short."

March 12, 2013: For the third time of the season the Huskies came up short against Notre Dame, this time in the Big East title game at the XL Center.

"What can I say, I feel really bad for these guys," Auriemma said. "They played an amazing second half and we put ourselves in a big hole in the first half. They deserved to win because they made one more play at the end than we did."

Natalie Achonwa's layup with 1.8 seconds left lifted No. 2 Notre Dame to a 61-59 victory. The Irish won for the seventh time in the last eight tries. No team has ever dominated the Huskies like that since UConn won its first national championship in 1995.

April 7, 2013: Freshman Breanna Stewart scored a career-high 29 points to go with four blocks and was seemingly everywhere in leading the Huskies back to the national championship game with an 83-65 win over Notre Dame in the national semifinals.

The Huskies would go on to defeat Louisville in the national title game.

"Once you get here you're only going to beat great teams. And the reason Notre Dame has beaten us seven of the last eight times is because they're really, really good," Auriemma said. "For one night, that's what's great about the NCAA tournament, for one night, for just this night, we just needed to be better than them, and we were."

 

2013-2014

Jan. 13, 2014: UConn coach Geno Auriemma was as anxious as anyone to see how his top-ranked Huskies would handle a close game, in what had been a season of blowouts.

They responded with a 66-55 victory at Baylor, snapping the Lady Bears' national-best 69-game home winning streak.

April 8, 2014: Connecticut and Notre Dame played the first national championship game between undefeated teams and the Huskies routed Notre Dame 79-58. It was Auriemma's record ninth national title, breaking a tie with Pat Summitt.

Breanna Stewart, the Associated Press Player of the Year, scored 21 points and Stefanie Dolson, who would be drafted by the Washington Mystics in a few weeks, had 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.

The victory also meant that UConn became center of the college basketball again with both the men's and women's teams winning the championship in the same year for the second time. The men's team beat Kentucky in the title game the night before. This pair of victories came a decade after the Huskies became the only school to accomplish the feat.

 

2014-2015

Nov. 17, 2014: UConn suffered a stunning 88-86 overtime loss at Stanford in the second game of the season.

"It was a shock. I was frustrated. There's things you wish you could have done better," Stewart said. "It was mixed emotions in the locker room and after the coaches came in we talked about it and just pointed out, 'Things need to change.' We need to know how to react when things aren't going our way."

New-look Stanford snapped the two-time defending champion and top-ranked Huskies' 47-game winning streak. The Huskies hadn't lost a game in November since falling to North Carolina on Nov. 21, 2004.

"We're missing two things from last year that need to be addressed, and they weren't addressed tonight," Auriemma said. "It was probably good that it was tonight, in November, on the road against a really good team. They know, this is the way it's going to be. They're going to have to make shots and relieve some of the pressure (on Stewart)."

April 7, 2015: The Huskies didn't lose again after Stanford, earning the 10th national title after a 63-53 win over Notre Dame in the national championship game.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, playing her final game, and Moriah Jefferson scored 15 points apiece.

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