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Two minutes before lineup intros and there is a national title ambiance in the building. The game has been sold out for several months.
Mother of freshman star Jewell Loyd sang the national title acapella. Well received and done.
Starting ND lineup has forward Ariel Braker, guard Kayla McBride, center Natalie Achonwa, freshman Jewell Loyd and Skylar's final introduction at Notre Dame, to a thunderous ovation.
UConn leads 6-4 at first media timeout (15:52). Lot of physical contact on both side, but refs seem to be letting them play.
Achonwa isn't in the flow early. Soph Markisha Wright comes in for her at 14:45 with UConn up 10-6.
Shots are not falling for ND as it falls behind 14-7. Achonwa back in at 12:10 and Dolson goes over her back for a rebound (not called).
Achonwa picks up second foul at 11:02. Huge call that is vociferously protested. That means she sits the rest of the half, and a three just put up UConn 17-9. Not a good flow right now at all for ND.
Geno gets the technical foul after a foul called on Dolson underneath. Skylar makes one of the two free throws to cut it to 19-14 with 8:21 left. No room for Geno to complain in this one. Irish have been getting pounded on a lot of plays with no calls.
Third media timeout at 7:46 with the score still 19-14. Connecticut's long limbs underneath presenting their share of problems. ND is 5-of-15 from the floor. Both teams have only four fouls (not to say that more haven't been committed).
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/4/2013 at 6:34 PM
McBride goes coast to coast to pull within 19-18, and then slices through the defense to make it 20-19 Irish, and then ties it on another lay-up at 22-22 with 4:40 remaining. 11 points and two steals so far for McBride.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/4/2013 at 6:36 PM
The 6-5 Stefanie Dolson hits a 15-foot jumper to put UConn ahead 24-22 right before the fourth media the out (3:55).
Just as crucial, McBride picks up her second foul, so ND has to be without her for the final stretch of the half.
Diggins picks up her second foul at 3:24 and UConn goes up 26-22. Sky stays in the game, though. Can't afford a third foul on her ... but can't have her out of the lineup either. She drives in for a score to pull within 26-24. Almost picked up her third going over the back.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who leads the nation in three-point percentage at just over .500 drills an open trey, and Breanna Stewart adds two free throws to make it 31-24.
Mosqueda -Lewis drillsanother three for a 34-28 cushion. Great stroke. Pretty evident why she's the best in the nation in that area.
Diggins' three misses right before the halftime horn. UConn 34, ND 28. Could be much worse considering Achonwa was out the final 11 minutes and McBride basically the final four.
UConn was 12 of 30 from the field (40 percent), 4 of 13 from three (30.8 percent), with Mosqueda-Lewis going 3-of-4 behind the arc for her 13 points. The Huskies also made all six foul shots attempted.
ND was 12 of 40 (30 percent), 0 of 6 from three and 4 of 6 at the foul line.
UConn held a 24-23 edge in rebounds, with Diggins' 5 leading the Irish.
DIggins and McBride had 11 points apiece, accounting for 22 of the 28. Loyd was 0 for 8 from the floor. Achonwa had no points or rebounds in her seven minutes.
Maybe most telling stat is ND had only three assists — none by Diggins — on their 12 baskets. UConn's defense has seemingly taken it out of an offensive flow. And when there were some decent looks (rarely), they misfired. Diggins was 5 of 18, meaning she took nearly half the shots. That's not Notre Dame's game (although Diggins did take over at Tennessee).
Conversely, all 12 of UConn's buckets had an assist.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Lou Somogyi on 3/4/2013 at 7:05 PM
It's SKY time!
Gringo Mafia VP of Guinness Intake, once drank Guinness under the table while drinking Guinness with Guinness! POTW 12/24/12 and 7/8/13
First Media TO of second half sees UConn leading 42-34 at 15:53. Mosqueda-Lewis nails her fourth three in five attempts to make it 37-30, and then Kelly Faris adds another trey to push it to 40-34. A steal and drive by Bria Hartley pushes it to 42-34.
Irish score three straight buckets to cut it to 42-40 at 13:21, forcing Geno to call time out. Much better passing and movement with the ball. Achonwa scores three times inside and Braker's rebound put-back cuts it to two. ND defense has also forced 9 UConn turnovers in the frist 6:39 of second half.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/4/2013 at 7:20 PM
Second media timeout (11:48) has UConn up 44-42 but ND in possession out of the timeout. Game flowing better in Notre Dame's favor, whereas in the first half it was constantly treading water.
Notre Dame takes first lead since opening basket on two McBride free throws, 48-46, with 9:46 remaining. Diggins then makes steal and score for a 50-46 advantage. Geno calls time out at 9:35 mark.
UConn answers with six straight points prior to 8-minute media timeout at 7:12. Faris also has a free throw coming for the Huskies after the time out. Game has ebbed and flowed for both sides.
Diggins goes coast to coast for go-ahead lay-up — and one — for a 57-55 lead with 4:38 remaining.She has 18 points and eight rebounds.
Buckle up for another wild finish. Last media timeout (3:55) has ND leading 57-55 and UConn with possession.
Mosqueda-Lewis just is a killer from 3. After driving for a bucket the previous possession, she connects on her fifth 3 to make it 62059 with just over two minutes left.
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