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. Blue Tops Gold, 6-3, In First Game Of Annual Fall Series
- Football. Notre Dame's Jerome Bettis Named Walter Camp Man of the Year
- Football. IRISH EXTRA: Irish Know It's `Game On' with Midshipmen
- W. Volleyball. Irish Welcome In Georgia Tech For Halloween Showdown
- M. Soccer. Irish Place Three On Academic All-District 5 First Team
- Cross Country. Irish Eye Consistency At Hilly ACC Championship Race
- M. Soccer. #5 Notre Dame Draws With #12 Michigan State, 1-1
- M. Ice Hockey. Irish Icers To Play Host To Vermont To Close Out Eight-Game Home Stand
- W. Volleyball. Volleyball Update: Crunching The Numbers From Virginia
- M. Basketball. Fighting Irish Picked Seventh In ACC Preseason Poll
Fighting Irish on YouTube
- Votes have been counted, and with 80% of the fan vote, Julius Jones was the @Tire_Rack MVP of @NDFootball vs AF2000! http://t.co/za9xmsprhR 44 minutes ago
- Irish Sports Sched pt3 Away - @NDXCTF at @theACC Championships on ESPN3. Women 10am ET, men 10:45 am ET- theacc.co/XC14live #GoIrish 59 minutes ago
- Irish Sports Sched pt2 - @NDHockey vs Vermont, 8:05pm ET on @NBCSN- ntrda.me/1tnUMy7 ... 1 hour ago
- Today's Irish Sports Sched pt1 - @NDVolleyball vs Georgia Tech, 7pm ET on @WatchND- ntrda.me/1wNlGjC ... 1 hour ago
- RT @NDBaseball: Final here in game 1 ... blue beat gold, 6-3 ... we will play one more at 2 p.m. Sunday. 11 hours ago