UConn women stunned by Notre Dame, ousted from Final Four

UConn women stunned by Notre Dame, ousted from Final Four

UConn women stunned by Notre Dame, ousted from Final Four

The last two of Arike Ogunbowale's 27 points were the biggest of her career, as they sent the Huskies home in the national semifinals for the second straight year after entering the Final Four undefeated. The last four teams to defeat UConn in the national semifinals all lost in the championship game - notably the Fighting Irish in 2011 and 2012, and Mississippi State last season.

Arike Ogunbowale hit a jumper just inside the three-point line to give the Irish a 91-89 win in the national semi-final Friday night.

The teams traded shot for shot in OT before Jackie Young made three free throws to help Notre Dame open a five-point lead with 43 seconds left.

Last year, it was Mississippi State's Morgan William who beat them at the overtime buzzer. The Irish chipped away until they took a brief lead with 2:21 left in the period. There are no bad teams, no bad players.

Both teams finally found their shooting touch in the second half, and Mississippi State was a bit better than Louisville, taking a 31-30 lead into halftime of their women's Final Four semifinal. And when you go back and watch both plays, the resemblance is actually eerie.

As volleyball rises in popularity, siphoning some of the overall basketball talent pool, McCallie said, high-profile brands like UConn and Auriemma might see their recruiting advantages increase as other universities compete for a shrinking number of top players.

Most impressive was how Notre Dame kept its poise when it appeared to be on the verge of collapsing. "It's got to be the best one".

"We had a chance to lose in regulation and came back and tied it", UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

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Before the tournament began, Auriemma spoke to a group of UConn fans: Enjoy the Huskies' success, he told them, because "this isn't going to last forever". UConn had five players in double digits, led by Napheesa Collier with 24. A victory would give Notre Dame its second national title.

Notre Dame's knees have been a nightmare for head coach Muffet McGraw, whose team has advanced to the sport's final weekend despite losing four key contributors to this year's team to torn ligaments. The Huskies have won six national titles since 2009.

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

CT (89) Gabby Williams 6-12 0-0 10, Napheesa Collier 11-17 1-1 24, Crystal Dangerfield 3-11 0-0 2, Kia Nurse 4-13 0-0 10, Katie Lou Samuelson 6-12 0-0 16, Azura Stevens 8-12 3-5 19.

McCowan broke the rebounding mark set by Charlotte Smith of North Carolina in 1994 when Mississippi State's 6-foot-7 center grabbed her 24th board.

There was a stretch between 2010 and 2013 when the two squads played 15 times. If UConn's stats were compared the stats of the greatest men's teams without names or titles, everyone would look at UConn's resume as the superior one.

"The neat thing about it is after every game in December, now I will say to her all the time, 'I'll see you in March.' If I see you in March, it will be in the Final Four, so that's cool", Auriemma said.

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