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…
- Baseball. Irish Head To Peach State For Final Non-Conference Tune-Up
- W. Basketball. Inside The Game: #4 Notre Dame 87, Pittsburgh 59
- W. Basketball. Notre Dame Women's Basketball Quotes
- M. Basketball. IRISH EXTRA: Senior Leadership Helps Keep Irish Train on Track
- W. Lacrosse. Fortunato and Sullivan Named to Tewaaraton Award Watch List
- Track. Irish Complete Day One At ACC Championships
- W. Basketball. #4 Irish Top Pittsburgh, 87-59, To Clinch Share of ACC Title
- M. Swimming. Irish Finish Day Two of ACC Championships, Earn Several NCAA B Cuts
- M. Basketball. An Evening With Notre Dame Basketball Set For April 13
- Baseball. Notre Dame Baseball Weekend Update
Fighting Irish on YouTube
- RT @NDJackNolan: Thanks to @ThatGrant22 for turning in a #POY Performance on tonight's @NDMikeBrey Radio Show! Vid archive posted Fri http:… 9 hours ago
- RT @ndwbb: One point shy of a Big Mac, Irish clich a share of the @accwbb title! ND defeats Pitt 87-59. 🍀🍀🍀 FINAL INFOGRAPHIC: http://t.co/… 9 hours ago
- RT @NDXCTF: Recap the Day 1 action at #ACCITF Championships. Running prelims & field events continue Fri.: und.com/sports/c-track… http://t.… 9 hours ago
- .@NDwbb seniors have won a share of the ACC title. This class has won 4 conference titles in a row #TheMoreYouKnow #GoIrishGo 11 hours ago
- Shot attempted at the buzzer to score the crowd Big Macs and it comes up short. @NDwbb 87 - Pitt 59. Next up- NC State on March 1 #GoIrish 11 hours ago