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. Irish Score Two In The Ninth To Earn 4-3 Road Win Over Toledo
- Softball. #21/22 Irish Enjoy Historic Offensive Night In 17-2 Win Over Toledo
- W. Golf. Notre Dame Plays In Its First ACC Championship This Weekend
- M. Basketball. New Jersey Guard Matt Farrell Set To Join Notre Dame Men's Basketball Program
- Fencing. Fencing Signs Five Freshmen To Next Year's Team
- W. Lacrosse. Women's Lacrosse Loses at No. 13 Ohio State, 12-9
- Softball. #21/22 Irish Close Homestand Against Toledo Wednesday
- W. Rowing. Rowing Recap: Onward To Michigan
- Baseball. Winter Weather Postpones Baseball Game At Michigan State
- Baseball. Baseball Jumps Back Into Action This Week At Michigan State And Toledo
Fighting Irish on YouTube
2013 Season Preview - Notre Dame Men's Soccer
Length: 2:20 | August 22, 2013
2013 Season Preview - Notre Dame Women's Soccer
Length: 1:52 | August 19, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:08 | August 1, 2013
Irish In The ACC - Swimming & Diving
Length: 3:09 | July 31, 2013
- .@NDSoftball and @NDBaseball beat Toledo tonight! #DoubleTrouble #GoIrish 5 hours ago
- RT @NDSportsBlogger: Name the @NDFootball connection ... RT@SAStars: A future San Antonio basketball legend meeting a current one! http://t… 5 hours ago
- RT @NDsoftball: Congrats @NDBaseball on the win vs. Toledo! #dejavu 5 hours ago
- RT @NDBaseball: Irish Win! Hissa induces a ground out and makes the toss to 1st himself ... 4-3 Notre Dame win over the Toledo Rockets Wedn… 5 hours ago
- As you can see @NDBaseball & @NDSoftball are in full swing! Make sure you have the gear to cheer them on- bit.ly/1eF69tJ #GetYours 5 hours ago