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Quick Recap: Notre Dame beats UConn 81-76 to head back to the championship game


NCAA Womens Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-Connecticut vs Notre Dame Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and UConn Huskies are the best rivalry in the sport, and after all of the hype, there was a Final Four game to play in Tampa Bay.

The Irish got off to a slow start in the first half with both Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey really struggling from the field. After the first quarter, UConn held a 4 point lead — but then Jessica Shepard stepped and went on a monster 10 point run all by herself.

The Irish got a small lead, but when Brianna Turner was forced to sit down after her second foul, UConn took full advantage and drained a shot at the end of the half. As they went into the locker room, UConn held a 1 point advantage with a 30-29 score.

The 3rd quarter got a little nuts as there was 10 lead changes within that 10 minutes. UConn’s Katie Samuelson started to really step up her game and was a big problem for the Irish. When ESPN spoke with Muffet McGraw at the end of the third, she was really upset that Notre Dame allowed Samuelson to get the looks she was getting for her shots.

The Irish entered the 4th quarter down 52-50.

UConn quickly went on a run against the Irish and built up a 9 point lead before Jackie Young drained a three to cut it to 64-58. Notre Dame was able to tie it up with threes from Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey at 66 all. These two fantastic teams swung haymaker after haymaker. Lead change after lead change.

It was Notre Dame’s defense though late in the game that helped win the game. Up three with a minute left in the game, Brianna Turner had a MASSIVE block that lead to Arike getting fouled and put on the line. She drained both to put Notre Dame up 5.

With just 23 seconds left, Notre Dame had their largestlead of the game with the score 79-73. The Irish pulled away like champions in the end and finished the game (and UConn’s season) with the score, 81-76.

Next up are the Baylor Bears in the championship game.

More to come on One Foot Down!