Notre Dame edges UConn in semis
- Author: Lawrence Cooper Apr 01, 2018,
Apr 01, 2018, 2:50
I've been saying for the last 15 or 20 years that winning national championships is hard. So there's people that have never seen a women's game, have never talked to a women's basketball player or coach and they have an opinion at this time of the year and their opinion usually involves CT. "And going in, you never know who they're going to be". But the semis have been the round that's gotten them, now for the eighth time.
What's next: Notre Dame twice beat UConn in the semifinals in 2011 and 2012, but each time failed to win the title, losing to Texas A&M and Baylor in the NCAA championship game. Except, at the end of regulation UConn's senior guard Kia Nurse stole the ball to score in the closing seconds to send it into overtime, and Notre Dame junior guard Arike Ogunbowale had the ball at the end of OT and sunk a three to win the game.
UConn (37-1) finished two victories shy of a national title, again, two victories shy of another flawless season.
His team had gone 36-0 that season but in many ways they had overachieved. "We can't seem to beat them in the final".
"You know, when you do something and it seems like it's so effortless, you do get numb and forget it's hard". There are no bad teams, no bad players. The Irish will be looking for the program's first national championship since 2001. And when you go back and watch both plays, the resemblance is actually eerie. But there were some cracks in the armor.
"You really can't describe what goes into - what goes into getting here and trying to win a championship", Auriemma said afterward. "You can't complain about it, though, because that's what you signed up for". "We stayed calm and we knew we could do it". "All of us have kind of accepted that". The first game between Louisville and Mississippi State needed overtime to settle things before the Bulldogs prevailed.
Years ago, in another sports writing lifetime, I covered UConn mbasketball for a paper in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Practices, Samuelson said, were stronger this year.
"Sometimes you have to be exposed to this and fail when it's all on you", he said after the Huskies' 91-89 loss in overtime on Friday. "It's just a different type of loss this year (than in 2017)". I think we had a better game this year. "We kept fighting back and fighting back".
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Samuelson had 16 points and seven rebounds Friday. No team has come closer than a dozen points against the Huskies since Louisville made it an 11-point loss on February 12.
Jackie Young notched a double-double with 32 points and 11 rebounds for the Fighting Irish, while Ogunbowale finished with 27 points. The Cardinals have their own inside player in Myisha Hines-Allen, but she'll have a tough time in the middle against the 6-foot-7 McCowan.
But now CT, coached by Geno Auriemma, and Notre Dame, coached by Muffet McGraw, are in different conferences and that intensity has diminished.
UConn was undefeated entering the game before falling to Notre Dame. Defending the post vs. the Bulldog's TeaIra McCowan, is the biggest key to limiting her touches while also defending on the perimeter as MSU shoots it almost 40 percent beyond the arc.
If Sunday's contest is anything like Friday's games, the fans in Columbus will be in for a treat. Young then made three free throws over the next 2 minutes to give the Irish a five-point lead with 43 seconds left. They look at the parade of elite players marching into Storrs, Connecticut, and question how a sport still fighting to gain the prominence of men's basketball can possibly benefit from having one team be so much better than all the rest. "And me, personally, I could have done a lot better job on defense for my teammates". They've been more aggressive at taking the ball to the basket.
Nurse and Williams were 148-3 in their careers, with two NCAA titles. "They didn't ever quit or question whether or not we could do it".
Asked if she could walk away at least feeling proud of the way she played, though, Stevens was blunt.
"Big shot by Arike, unbelievable", McGraw said. "So it doesn't really matter".