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…
- M. Soccer. #1/2 Irish Stifle Pitt 2-0
- W. Swimming. Notre Dame Swimming and Diving Defeats Michigan State, Iowa to Open Season
- M. Swimming. Notre Dame Swimming and Diving Defeats Michigan State, Iowa to Open Season
- W. Tennis. Irish Open Season Strong At Wildcat Invite
- Cross Country. Rohrer Crowned Champion In Notre Dame Invitational
- M. Tennis. Need To Know: ITA All-American Championships
- M. Ice Hockey. #9 Irish Open Hockey Season With Exhibition Versus USNTDP
- M. Lacrosse. Notre Dame Men's Lacrosse Hosts Annual Steak & Hot Dog Game on Saturday at Noon
- Football. Notre Dame-Syracuse 2016: Five Things to Watch
- M. Soccer. #1/2 Irish Take On Pitt In Friday Keystone State Clash
Fighting Irish on YouTube
- ☘️ IRISH WIN! @NDMenSoccer's Jon Gallagher scores both goals in ACC win vs. Pitt. READ: und.com/sports/m-socce… https://t.co/5NpZk5CLJC 1 hour ago
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- "This has been one of our better weeks of practices." @NDFootball captain Isaac Rochell talks building a stronger… twitter.com/i/web/status/7… 8 hours ago
- 🏈 The game is won in preparation. We're ready. @NDFootball vs. Syracuse Saturday Noon | ESPN https://t.co/hab12nwyBC 12 hours ago
- 🏈 Top-5 QB Averaging 24 points per game, @NDFootball quarterback DeShone Kizer ranks 5th nationally in scoring. 👀… twitter.com/i/web/status/7… 1 day ago