Apr 2, 2012, 12:29 AM EST
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…
- M. Basketball. Notre Dame vs. Indiana - Five Things To Know
- Football. Quenton Nelson Named 34th Unanimous All-American In School History
- M. Tennis. Irish On Tour: Pro Round-Up
- W. Volleyball. DeJarld Named AVCA Honorable Mention All-American
- W. Soccer. Yu Garners United Soccer Coaches Academic All-Region Honors
- Cheerleading. Notre Dame Leprechaun Tryout Information
- Swimming & Diving. Where The Irish Stand At The Break
- M. Tennis. Kempin, Lebedev Named Irish Men's Tennis Captains
- Football. Quenton Nelson Named First-Team Sporting News All-American
- Fencing. Irish Fencers Excel At December NAC
Fighting Irish on YouTube
- Ranked victories ➕ program records ➕ NCAA qualifying times = stellar fall for @NDSwimDive! #GoIrish und.com/sports/c-swim/… 41 minutes ago
- 1️⃣ A valuable degree 🎓 2️⃣ Close to family 3️⃣ Elite, competitive basketball 🏀 @ndwbb met every one of @NatAchon… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… 1 hour ago
- While at Notre Dame to speak about empowering female student athletes, @espnW's @SarahSpain and @LauraCGentile spok… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… 2 hours ago
- 🏃💨 @NDXCTF breaks down Jake Dumford’s school record in the 1,000! Take a look 👀 at Jake’s feat! ⤵️ #GoIrish https://t.co/n9TfCf7i2K 3 hours ago
- Did you miss Monday's @MuffetMcGraw Radio Show presented by @Tire_Rack? Catch up now, @ndwbb fans! 🔗… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… 4 hours ago