By Carl Adamec
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team was 0-2 coming into Monday night when facing the Big East first-place team in its final game with a chance to share the regular season title.
Could it be a little Huskies’ history?
Instead history repeated itself in more ways in one.
After coming from behind at the end of regulation and the first two overtimes, second-ranked Notre Dame took control in the third extra session to win its second straight outright Big East regular title.
The Irish’s 96-87 triple-overtime win over No. 3 UConn at the sold-out Joyce Center Monday night was their sixth win in the last seven games over the Huskies. In all six losses, UConn led in the second half and in four, including the last three, it led in the final minute
The Huskies (27-3 overall, 14-2 Big East), had more than one lead in the final minute of this one. UConn led by one with 53 seconds left of regulation, by four with 21 seconds left in the first overtime, and by five in the second overtime and lost each lead.
Skylar Diggins’ free throw with 27.2 seconds left forced the first extra session. Kayla McBride got the friendly rim on a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds to go to get the sellout crowd to the second overtime. Kaila Turner’s hoop with 47.5 seconds remaining tied it again for the third overtime.
Notre Dame (28-1, 16-0) used an 11-0 run, including four points each by Jewell Loyd and Diggins, to take a 93-83 lead and capture its 23rd straight win.
Diggins had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Irish while McBride had 26 points before fouling out. Diggins played all 55 minutes. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also played all 55 minutes and had 26 points. Kelly Faris went 53 minutes and had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
UConn will be the No. 2 seed for the Big East tournament and will play its opener Sunday at 6 p.m.