Notre Dame upsets UConn in national semifinals
Indianapolis - Skylar Diggins scored 28 points as Notre Dame stunned two-time defending champion UConn 72-63 Sunday night in the national semifinals of the NCAA women's basketball tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Irish, who lost three times to the Huskies this season, will play another surprise -- Texas A&M -- in Tuesday night's national championship game. The Aggies upset Stanford 63-62 in the other semifinal.
Maya Moore, playing the final game of her storied UConn career, scored 36 points in her final game.
At Conseco Fieldhouse,
Texas A&M 63, Stanford 62
Notre Dame 72, UConn 63
Texas A&M (32-5) vs. Notre Dame (31-7), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
UCONN VS. NOTRE DAME
Location: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
Tip-off: Approximately 9:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Records: Notre Dame 30-7, UConn 36-1.
Probable starters: Notre Dame, 6-2 Sr. F Devereaux Peters (11.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg), 6-1 Sr. F Becca Bruszewski (9.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg), 5-9 So. G Skylar Diggins (14.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.8 apg), 5-11 Jr. G Natalie Novosel (14.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 5-10 Sr. G Brittany Mallory (7.1 ppg).
UConn, 5-7 Fr. G Bria Hartley (12.5 ppg, 2.9 apg), 5-11 So. G Kelly Faris (7.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.7 apg), 5-10 Jr. G Tiffany Hayes (13.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.7 apg), 6-0 Sr. F Maya Moore (22.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.0 apg), 6-5 Fr. C Stefanie Dolson (10.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg).
Noteworthy: Ten years later, UConn and Notre Dame meet again in the national semifinals. Last time, 2001, Notre Dame won 90-75 in St. Louis on the way to its first national championship. And UConn topped Notre Dame in the Big East championship game that year, too, a game which prompted a recent book: "Bird at the Buzzer." "Muffet (McGraw, Notre Dame coach) mentioned something about that," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Saturday. This season, UConn has three wins over Notre Dame, two during the regular season and one in the Big East championship game at the XL Center in Hartford. This time, Notre Dame is playing in its home state. "It's great to be in Indiana. I don't perceive it as a home-court advantage, exactly. But it definitely is easier for our fans to get here. Just playing in the state of Indiana, I think it was kind of a motivating factor for some of the girls throughout the season," McGraw said. … UConn's Moore, with 3,000 points, is now seventh place all-time among Division I scorers but just 25 points out of fourth place. She is close behind Cindy Blodgett of Maine (3,005), Cheryl Miller of USC (3,018) and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee (3,025). … UConn is 7-4 all-time in national semifinals. … Notre Dame reached the Final Four, its third, despite losing four starters from last year's team which made the Sweet 16. … Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey was a member of the Irish's 2001 national championship team.
- Vickie Fulkerson