When Notre Dame faced Uconn in the Final Four two years ago--the Huskies had won 11 games in a row in the series. Including all 3 previous meetings that season.
"I think we just got tired of losing," Irish coach Muffet McGraw says looking back.
"When we lost to them 3 times in a row, we were like no more," Irish senior captain Skylar Diggins explains.
Notre Dame ended the streak in the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2011. since then, The Irish have won 7 out of 8 games, including again in the Final Four last year.
"I think when they had that momentum--when they won so many in a row--it takes a mental toll on you," Diggins explains. "Maybe we've switched the tables. Maybe they think about us a little bit more when we step on the court."
The tables really are reversed. Now the Irish are the ones who have won all 3 meetings this season---including a triple overtime thriller for the Big East regular season title and a two point win for the conference tournament championship. Now it's Notre Dame trying to do the unthinkable and win for a 4th time when the arch rivals square off at 9pm Sunday night in New Orleans in the Final Four.
They are going to come out twice as aggressive, twice as ready and things like and we have to be three times as ready," Irish junior guard Kayla McBride says.
"It's a tough one," Diggins says of the task of beating UConn for a 4th time. "It's not like we won every game by 20 or any game by 20. It's been down to the wire every game."
Diggins says she knows Huskies coach Geno Auriemma is lighting a fire under his players like Muffet did with the Irish two years ago.
"It's going to be a battle," Diggins says. "The NCAA got what they wanted. It's going to be one for the ages."
No one would want it any other way.