By Carl Adamec
NEW ORLEANS — The University of Connecticut and Notre Dame women’s basketball teams have met three times in 2013 with the Irish winning all three. Here’s a look back at those contests heading into the teams’ national semifinal game Sunday night at New Orleans Arena.
Notre Dame 73, UConn 72
Jan. 5, 2013 (Gampel Pavilion)
Skylar Diggins hit two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to lift Notre Dame past then-No. 1 UConn before a sellout crowd of 10,167. Kayla McBride led the winners with 21 points.
The Huskies had three chances to win the game. Breanna Stewart had a shot blocked by the Irish’s Ariel Braker and then missed a jumper in the lane. UConn got one more opportunity but Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ open 3-point try from the corner in front of the Huskies’ bench hit the front rim. Notre Dame rebounded and ran out the clock.
Notre Dame 96, UConn 87 (3OT)
March 4, 2013 (Joyce Center)
Seeking a share of the Big East regular season title, UConn led by one with the ball with 0:32 left in regulation, by four with 0:21 to go in the first overtime, and by five in the second overtime. The Huskies lost all those leads and then the game in the third overtime before a sellout crowd (9,149) in South Bend.
Diggins had 29 points and McBride 26, including a 3-pointer that forced overtime No. 2. Mosqueda-Lewis had 26 points for UConn, which lost starters Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley to fouls in a five-second span of the last minute of regulation on questionable calls by referee Dennis DeMayo.
Notre Dame 61, UConn 59
March 12, 2013 (XL Center)
Natalie Achonwa’s layup with 1.8 seconds left gave Notre Dame its first Big East Tournament crown before 9,085 in Hartford. McBride had 23 points and was the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player.
UConn trailed by 13 in the first half and nine at intermission but rallied to take a lead on Stewart’s basket with 9:45 left. The Irish came back and led 59-53 before a 6-0 run got the Huskies even. UConn then had the ball with 18.6 seconds left and the 30-second shot clock off. But Mosqueda-Lewis couldn’t handle a Kelly Faris pass and her attempt to save the ball went right to Diggins. Hartley hacked at Diggins as UConn had a foul to give. But no call was made and Diggins found Achonwa for the layup. The Huskies did not use one of their two remaining time outs and Faris’ try from 75 feet away missed.