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Fighting Irish bid for their third straight Final Four and gun for their 30th consecutive victory.
First media timeout at 15:50, Notre Dame leads 8-4, with Duke at the line after the break. Both teams a little sloppy with their passing. Skylar Diggins picked up an early foul, so getting a second one would be a problem. She got it right before the break and now she has to sit — possibly the entire half. Damage control mode.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 4/2/2013 at 6:17 PM
Senior Kaila Turner taking over at the point. She came up big at the end of the regular season against Syracuse and UConn after overcoming an elbow injury. McBride hits two straight field goals to make it 12-6, ND.
Not looking good right now
Second media timeout at 11:48. Notre Dame hanging on to a 15-13 lead, with Ariel Braker going to the line to shoot two. Turner nailed a three from the corner to make it 15-11. Achonwa also picked up a foul and sat before the timeout, with sophomore Markisha Wright in for her. Don't want to have both Diggins and Achonwa sitting.
Duke takes first lead at 18-17 on a shot by Liston. Diggins checks back in at 8:37 with her two fouls. irish remain in a man-to-man when Liston drives for a 20-17 lead.
This will not be easy, we have our hands full.
Two time Poster of The Week, 2011 and 2013.
Duke on a 9-0 run for a 22-17 lead and takes a 30-second timeout with 7:35 left. Irish are treading water right now, out of sync offensively and struggled defensively on the last few possessions.
Third media timeout at 7:23. Duke commits offensive foul with 22-17 lead. McBride has missed seven straight from the floor but was about the only player involved offensively during Diggins' absence.
Duke up 26-17 at the 5-minute mark with a 13-0 run. ND has missed 12 straight shots and looking frustrated before Loyd hits a lob off the in-bounds pass.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 4/2/2013 at 9:54 PM
3:43 at last media timeout and Duke leads 26-20, with Notre Dame in possession after the break.
McBride is cold, Diggins is playing a little more tentatively, the Irish overall missed 12 straight shots ... but still treading water and not drowning. Win these last four minutes and you can feel relieved at halftime that it's not worse than it could have been.
Two threes by Diggins cut it to 28-26. That's what All-Americans do.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 4/2/2013 at 9:56 PM
Excellent basketball in last three minutes. Diggins hits an NBA three to cut it to 32-31, Duke extends it to 34-31 and ND has ball with 38.6 seconds left.
Big 3 by Duke right before halftime for a 37-31 lead at the intermission. ND didn't win the last 4 minutes, but found some life on offense late, mainly with three treys.
Duke is dominating the boards with a plus-1o advantage. Tricia Liston has been the player of the game with 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting, almost all on drives even though she is one of the elite 3-point shooters. Duke definitely controlled the tempo, especially inside. Irish offense needs to find a rhythm. Settling for a lot of jump shots, and can't keep relying on Skylar's threes. McBride is only 3-of-13, and Loyd and Achonwa haven't been able to get untracked either.
ND outscored 22-10 in the pain in the first half and outrebounded 23-16. Second half is now underway.
Diggins willing this team back again. 40-40 and Duke calls timeout. First she drains her fourth 3 in six attempts and then she drives the lane and dishes off to Achonwa for an easy lay-in to tie it up.
Huge change in momentum at first media timeout with 15:37 left. A Jewell Loyd free throw off a hustle play gives ND its first lead (43-42) since 17-16. Then strong Irish defense forces a bad shot as the shot clock winds down — and leads to a Duke offensive foul when charging into Braker. Irish lead 43-42 and will have possession after the break. Offense is moving much better and more patiently, highlighted by a bounce pass from Achonwa to Braker for a lay-up.
Also, Duke guard Alexis Jones picked up her fourth foul on the charge.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 4/2/2013 at 7:25 PM
Floodgates are opening again. Diggins gets back-to-back steals on Jones (4 fouls) and McBride drains a three to make it 50-42. Time out Duke. ND on 15-2 run, with the defense leading to offense.
Second media timeout at 11:46, ND up 52-47, with Duke shooting an and-one to complete a three-point play. They're not going away. Both teams are scrapping and clawing for everything now. ND's offense is operating in regular form again with crisp, patient passing.
Man, this team is fun to watch because it can explode so quickly. At 9:57, a Loyd free throw suddenly makes it 60-49.
Third media timeout at 7:49. Notre Dame 62, Duke 54, with the Blue Devils shooting two free throws after the break.
ND has forced 20 turnovers. What's hurting them is uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting. Diggins missed two in a row, Loyd was 1-of-2 and Achonwa missed a one-and-one. I think they're 9-of-16, well below their amazing 80-percent average.
Diggins hits improbable three point play on an off balance drive. Converts the free throw for 69-57 lead
Keeper of all Somogyi secrets and swell quotes.
Diggins makes an old-fashioned 3 and then Loyd hits one beyond the arc for a 72-59 lead and McBride hits another three to make it 75-59. This team just has some assassins on the court.
McBride helps put nail in coffin with another 3. Irish up big into time out!
Nice to see better athletes dominate the game. Now I know how other teams feel against our men.
Jimbo makes reservations for Nashville!
Whos #4? Shes has to be one of the most exciting players ever to watch.
This post was edited by carminedesapio on 4/2/2013 at 8:04 PM
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