The University of Connecticut reached the championship game of college basketball’s national women’s tournament for the eighth time with an 83-65 win over the University of Notre Dame.
Freshman Breanna Stewart scored a career-high 29 points last night to lead UConn, which had lost seven of its previous eight meetings against Notre Dame, including Final Four defeats in each of the previous two seasons.
“For 40 minutes, we competed and played as hard as we’re capable of,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said at a news conference. “I couldn’t be happier or more proud of them. We’ve come a long way and this is really rewarding.”
Connecticut (34-4) will play Louisville (30-8) in tomorrow night’s title game in New Orleans after the Cardinals beat California 64-57 in yesterday’s other national semifinal. UConn is 7-0 in NCAA championship games and can match Tennessee for the most women’s titles in college basketball history.
Connecticut opened a 10-point halftime lead against Notre Dame (35-2) and continued to pull away in ending the Fighting Irish’s school-record 30-game win streak. The Huskies, who had lost all three previous meetings against Notre Dame this season, held Skylar Diggins to 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting. Diggins is the leading scorer in Notre Dame history.
“Notre Dame is a great team,” Auriemma said. “You don’t beat us seven out of eight times without being a great team. My hat’s off to them for the kind of year they had, but tonight was our night.”