Apr 2, 2012, 12:29 AM EDT
It wasn’t always a pretty game. The Irish shot 40.3% from the field (Seven points below their season average). The teams combined for 37 turnovers, which at times, felt more like 67.
But style points mean nothing at this point in the season.
With a thrilling 83-75 overtime victory against Connecticut, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team is one win away from it second national championship, and it’s due in large part to hustle and heart.
A late rebound and putback from Natalie Novosel, a block from Skylar Diggins (yes, a block from the 5’9″ Irish point guard) and a pair of key three-pointers in overtime from Brittany Mallory have head coach Muffet McGraw’s team right where they wanted (and expected) to be on April 2, 2012 – in position to play for a title.
Watching tonight’s game, reading fans’ tweets and friends’ Facebook statuses, and now, checking out ‘One Shining Moment’ montages on YouTube as I write this, reminds me there’s nothing quite like college basketball.
The emotion and excitement of March Madness is unparalleled. The refuse-to-lose mentality of Diggins, the leadership of Novosel, the clutch shooting of Mallory, and the character of this Fighting Irish team make us proud to say we’re all a part of the same Notre Dame family.
March demonstrates how our connection to one another and to Notre Dame is strengthened through sports. At the arena, in a sports bar, or watching from our couch, we develop an emotional attachment to the teams and the games. Alum, student or fan, we feel as though we’ve been along for the journey.
In this year’s tournaments, we have seen both the highest of highs – the triumph of victory (tonight) – and the lowest of lows – the heartbreak of defeat (the men’s game vs. Xavier). As the teams fight back tears, we share their sorrow. And as the teams celebrate, we experience the same pure, unadulterated joy.
Tonight was a memorable night for the Fighting Irish, the fans in Denver, and those watching, blogging, tweeting and Facebooking across the world.
There is, however, still work to be done. Notre Dame will return to the court on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm ET when it takes on 39-0 Baylor in the national championship game.
Get some rest over the next 40 hours or so, and clear your schedule for Tuesday night. The table is set for an historic evening in the Rocky Mountains.
Five down, one to go…
- Baseball. Eric Jagielo Takes Home BIG EAST Player Of The Year Award As Irish Total Five All-BIG EAST Honorees
- W. Rowing. Irish Selected To NCAA Championship For Second Straight Season
- M. Swimming. Tallman Named CollegeSwimming.Com Assistant Coach Of The Year
- Track. Irish Set For 2013 NCAA East Regional
- W. Soccer. Notre Dame Announces 2013 Women's Soccer Schedule
- M. Soccer. San Jose To South Bend: Dillon Powers Aims To Attend Notre Dame Commencement Ceremony
- M. Lacrosse. #2 Notre Dame Drops 12-11 Decision To #7 Duke In NCAA Quarterfinals
- W. Rowing. Irish Claim Five Grand Final Titles To Earn 10th Consecutive BIG EAST Championship
- Baseball. Irish Baseball Open 2013 BIG EAST Tournament As No. 7 Seed
- Baseball. Irish Drop Regular Season, Series Finale At Cincinnati, 11-5
Fighting Irish on YouTube
2013 Student-Athlete Graduation Feature
Length: 3:54 | May 21, 2013
Eric Jagielo 2013 Big East Player of the Year - ND Baseball
Length: 1:49 | May 22, 2013
2013 BIG EAST Preview - Notre Dame Baseball
Length: 2:30 | May 21, 2013
Coach Kelly Sirius/XM Town Hall - 'Player Over Play'
Length: 1:26 | May 21, 2013
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