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. Getting To Know Baseball's Nick Podkul
- W. Golf. Irish Bound For NCAA Birmingham Regional
- M. Basketball. V.J. Beachem To Return For The 2016-17 Season
- Softball. #19/18 Irish Split Strikeout Cancer Series With #RV Louisville
- Baseball. Irish Fall In Sunday Doubleheader To Ohio
- M. Lacrosse. Sunday Brunch: Irish Are Right There—They Need to Make One More Play
- Track. Irish Relays In Fine Form at Drake Relay Meet
- Football. Sheldon Day Drafted on Day Three of 2016 NFL Draft
- Softball. Irish Softball Schedule Against Louisville Altered
- M. Lacrosse. #13 Duke Eliminates #4 Notre Dame in ACC Men's Lacrosse Semifinal
Fighting Irish on YouTube
- 🏀 V.J.'s BACK Goals ... 🎓 Graduate 🕶 Lead @NDmbb to the Final Four #NotDoneYet READ: und.com/sports/m-baskb… https://t.co/4gJ8aHNTUX 2 hours ago
- 🍀@NDSoftball Strikeout Cancer Weekend A series inspired by cancer survivor Tatum Gumpf Recap Game 1 vs Louisville. amp.twimg.com/v/b20b4060-139… 14 hours ago
- Nick Martin... 2-Time ND Captain 2nd Round NFL Draft Pick @HoustonTexans picked 1 of the top centers in the nation https://t.co/feTAwW9qZg 15 hours ago
- DID YOU KNOW? Nick & Zack Martin are the 1st set of brothers at ND to be selected in top-2 rounds of the NFL Draft. https://t.co/mWp31Tqfty 17 hours ago
- 2-Time Butkus Award Winner 34th Overall NFL Draft Pick @dallascowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith's Top ND Highlights: https://t.co/UId1V6tQvG 18 hours ago