Published: Sun, April 01, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Women's Final Four: Notre Dame beats UConn in OT

Women's Final Four: Notre Dame beats UConn in OT

Twelve months later, the Huskies lost again in overtime of the NCAA Tournament semifinals as Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale hit a contested jumper with one second left in overtime to lift the Fighting Irish to a 91-89 victory Friday night at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus and into Sunday's NCAA championship game.

"There was a time when the Final Four was limited to certain schools", Auriemma said this week in Columbus, Ohio, where UConn played a national semifinal Friday night against Notre Dame.

Meanwhile, women's college basketball was left to deliberate whether UConn's stumble represented an anomaly or a hint of something larger - the beginning of a shift toward greater parity in the game, which has developed on a track parallel to the men's game.

When McGraw and Ogunbowale entered the shrieking bedlam that comprised the winning locker room, yet another round of screams erupted.

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. Young then made three free throws over the next 2 minutes to give the Irish a five-point lead with 43 seconds left. All-American Teaira McCowan, the 6-foot-7 center, had 21 points and a NCAA Final Four record 25 rebounds and played all 45 minutes for the Bulldogs (37-1).

As the Irish found out at the end of regulation, it doesn't pay to leave any time left on the clock for Geno Auriemma's crew - and so they didn't in the overtime. This time, it was Notre Dame scoring a huge upset win. Both years, they were going for the program's seventh flawless season, but came up short. Fellow junior Napheesa Collier had 24 and five.

A three by the Huskies' Katie Lou Samuelson at the horn to end the first quarter began a 13-0 run, but more pivotal was the insertion of 6-6 Duke transfer Azura Stevens.

First the Irish were up, leading by 10 after the first quarter.

For Notre Dame, it's been an improbable run to the title game.

Collier nailed a 3-pointer to give UConn life.

Like Notre Dame has done much of the tournament, it was the better team in the second half. Azura Stevens had 10 points during the run as UConn took over, much to the delight of the sellout crowd of almost 20,000 fans.

Notre Dame is getting the upper hand so far in its women's semifinal game against unbeaten UConn.

Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale hit the one shot that UConn couldn't come back from. The four teams share just six losses and two conference tournament championships between them, and it might've been one more had Notre Dame not had to face the Cardinals in the ACC tournament final.

The Irish held for the final shot and Ogunbowale delivered. Williams and Nurse played their final games at UConn, losing just twice.

"I would say it's hard to believe". The Irish had hit five of their last seven shots to lead 77-74.

The Huskies are trying to extend their recent domination of the Fighting Irish.

An immediate UConn foul sent Ogunbowale to the line at:20.1. She was injured in the national semifinals her freshman season in 2016 and wasn't able to play in the final that the Huskies won against Syracuse. Then Nurse, the 2018 national Defensive Player of the Year, made a steal and layup to tie it. "We're going to finally be wearing our dark uniforms, so I think maybe that will make us feel a little different coming out". Ogunbowale missed two free throws and Crystal Dangerfield tied it before Ogunbowale's game-winner.

That is what Notre Dame is facing after this euphoria. I made this comment before that, when your team gets to the Final Four, it's not your talent, and it's not your team that's going to beat the other team.

Amid all the chalk, the intrigue tonight lies in two diametrically opposed matchups: Notre Dame and CT will meet for the 48th time overall and the seventh time in the Final Four. That's the world we live in, " Auriemma said. "But I'm smart enough that I didn't need to learn this crap two years in a row". Mississippi State ended UConn's 111-game winning streak past year in the national semifinals before losing to SC.

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