Duke coach McCallie breaks down women's Final Four

Kristopher Nichols
April 1, 2018

Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale celebrates after making the game-winning basket during overtime against CT in the semifinals of the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament, Friday, March 30, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.

With both teams ranked in the top 20 in the country in offensive and defensive efficiency, this has the potential to be one of the best matchups we have seen all year.

Whatever grandiose word or phrase one wants to use, it would be fitting following the 91-89 Fighting Irish overtime triumph against No. 1 and then 36-0 Connecticut Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.

She finished with 27 points and Jackie Young had a career-high 32 to lead the Irish back to the championship game for the first time since 2015.

Notre Dame's opponent in the title game will be Mississippi State who also needed overtime to win its semi-final over Louisville.

Morgan Williams' buzzer-beating shot from Mississippi State's win a year ago had been show on repeat since the tournament started.

The Cardinals won the ACC regular season and conference tournament for the first time in school history. "There are no bad teams".

That'd be the case if the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team was the opposite gender. I think we had a better game this year. Victoria (Vivians), she's a great player.

When most teams play CT, they play the uniform and not the players. This is their 11th consecutive Final Four and a chance to add their 12th National Championship to the record books. At 9:30 p.m., perennial powerhouse UConn faces longtime rival Notre Dame.

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They will re-evaluate him Wednesday morning to determine if he needs to enter the NBA's concussion protocol. In his first four games back, Love averaged 20.3 points and 10 rebounds. "We got down.

"I tried to get a good shot", she said.

Then it looked as if Notre Dame had it won again with another five-point lead in the last 40 seconds of overtime before the Huskies tied it again on a 5-0 run, setting the stage for Ogunbowale's heroics.

"It was kind of a dogfight, I thought, just both teams throwing punches", McGraw said.

"I think it's a little better now, there's a little bit of distance in the rivalry, not playing them four times, although that's when we had our most success so maybe that's not a good thing", Irish women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw said.

In that early December matchup, the Fighting Irish actually led going into the fourth quarter, before the Huskies went on a 26-6 run to end the game. Four of those games were against Notre Dame. With 26 seconds left in the extra period, UConn's Crystal Dangerfield made a 3-pointer, giving Notre Dame the final possession. UConn had five players in double digits, led by Napheesa Collier with 24.

And Azura Stevens, the 6-foot-6 post player who transferred from Duke and played her first season with the Huskies this year, had 19 points and eight rebounds in her first Final Four game.

Collier had 24 points for the Huskies, and go-to playmaker Katie Lou Samuelson had 16 but was limited down the stretch because foul trouble sapped her ability to play with aggression.

"I know I just had to shoot it at the last minute", Ogunbowale said.

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