Published: Sun, April 01, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Can shorthanded Notre Dame stop UConn?

Can shorthanded Notre Dame stop UConn?

The top ranked and undefeated UConn women's basketball team is out of the Final Four after a last second shot in overtime by Notre Dame.

A year ago, the University of CT women's basketball team lost a heartbreaker at the buzzer in overtime to Mississippi State in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament and UConn coach Geno Auriemma smiled.

Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale hit a step-back jump shot over Napheesa Collier with one second left in overtime, dealing the Huskies a 91-89 loss in what will go down as a thrilling showcase for the sport and a sickening loss for the Huskies.

Jackie Young notched a double-double with 32 points and 11 rebounds for the Fighting Irish, while Ogunbowale finished with 27 points.

Next up for Notre Dame will be Mississippi State, which beat Louisville in overtime in the first semifinal matchup. Both shots proved UConn is killable after all, no matter how unstoppable they look early in the tournament. There are no bad teams, no bad players.

We always remind that maybe the greatest upset in American sports annals - the 1980 United States hockey team stunning the invincible Soviet Red Army - was not the gold medal game.

"I just feel like this year we have execute and finish it out", Vivians said.

That's what happens when you coach two of the nation's best teams and play in the same conference.

"They're a great team, we're a great team", Ogunbowale said. Notre Dame (33-3) won its only tournament championship in 2001.

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The most heartbreaking of all was defeating Tennessee and UConn back-to-back in 2011, but losing to Texas A&M in the ultimate the-one-that-got-away game. Last year, Mississippi State ended UConn's 111-game game winning streak in the semifinals before losing to SC in the title game.

"It was the second or third time we beat them in the semifinal, that's been our lucky charm", coach Muffet McGraw said.

"There's nothing you can say to a college kid after experiencing this two years in a row that's going to make them feel any better about, you know", Geno Auriemma said.

UConn has won 12 national titles since 1995. Then it was Ogunbowale's turn, scoring six quick points to put Notre Dame up by five with 21 seconds left. According to Her Hoop Stats, the Huskies' turnover rate Friday on 97 plays was 17.6 percent, as opposed to 14.4 percent for the season.

Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan has 18 points and 18 rebounds.

"I mean we're going to use this as motivation", Samuelson said.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 16 points, making four 3-pointers in a game where UConn otherwise struggled from the perimeter.

Asia Durr hit a pair of late 3s to give Louisville a 48-46 lead over Mississippi State heading into the fourth quarter of their women's Final Four semifinal. Notre Dame raced out to a first quarter lead, UConn came back to lead at the half, and the two teams exchanged hay-makers during the second half.

CT built a nine-point lead early in the third quarter before Notre Dame started hitting its shots more consistently.

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