Fourth time the dagger

NEW ORLEANS - Notre Dame dug a hole early in Sunday night's Final Four game against all too familiar rival UConn, and Diggins and the Irish had no answers for the Huskies' stellar defense and hot shooting from Breanna Stewart.

Freshman Breanna Stewart scored 29 points to lift UConn over Notre Dame 83-65 on Sunday night to advance to the NCAA championship game.

Notre Dame All-American Skylar Diggins finished with just 10 points on 3-15 shooting from the field and 0-3 shooting from behind the arc.

The Huskies stole momentum before the break on a 16-5 run, and the Irish couldn't recover. The closest Notre Dame got to closing the gap in the second half was six with 6:26 remaining, but UConn would have an answer each time Notre Dame showed signs of life.

Notre Dame and UConn had faced each other three times in 2013 prior to Sunday night, with Notre Dame emerging as the victor in all three matchups, but by slim margins each time, including a triple overtime game. However, UConn won the game that really mattered.

"Once you get here you're only gonna beat great teams," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. "And the reason Notre Dame has beaten us seven of the last eight times is because they're really, really good. For one night, that's what's great about the NCAA tournament, for one night, for just this night, we just needed to be better than them, and we were."

Hometown hero Diggins will end her career with the Irish coming up empty-handed after three consecutive Final Four appearances.

"I just want to be remembered as someone who left all on the court and someone who loved her school and embraced everything it stood for," Diggins said after the loss." [Geno Auriemma] told me not to let this define my career because he said I've done more for women's college basketball than some people who have won four championships."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories