Muffet's Squad headed back to national title game after OT win over UConn

Skylar Diggins scored 19 points, Brittany Mallory hit two big 3-pointers in overtime and Notre Dame beat Connecticut 83-75 Sunday night in Denver to reach the national championship game for the second straight year.

Notre dame becomes the 6th program in women's basketball history to reach the title game in consecutive seasons.

"It was amazing to finally have shots fall," said Mallory of her late-game heroics, "especially in overtime and just getting back to that championship game. We've talked about it all year and we're just so excited."

"Brittany with those threes, just unbelievable," said fellow senior Natalie Novosel. "We're a senior team, a lot of leadership and veteran play, and I think that really showed tonight."

The Fighting Irish (35-3) also beat the Huskies (33-5) in the semifinals last year, before losing to Texas A&M in the title game in Indianapolis.

"It was a total team effort," said Diggins. "We all were just like, 'Look, let's just win this game to get to the National Championship game, and let's just beat Uconn too while we're at it.' "

Diggins added that her team is "sick of being in their shadow. We lost the last game. That put a chip on our shoulder. That's all we need."

"It's really special," added Irish head coach Muffet McGraw. "It means a lot to our program to beat a team like Uconn. It's great for the Big East to have two teams in. But we wanted that one. They played so well in the first half and I think we played a little better in the second."

The game was tied at 67 after regulation following an 8-2 run by UConn, which was led by Stefanie Dolson's 20 points.

The Huskies went up 70-67 on Bria Hartley's 3-pointer to open the first overtime at the women's Final Four since 2006, but Mallory hit back-to-back 3s and Notre Dame closed with a 16-5 run.

"There are really no words that can describe it," said senior forward Devereaux Peters. "Beating Uconn two years in a row to get to the National Championship and end your career this way, really, I don't know how to explain that."

The Irish will face undefeated Baylor for the national championship Tuesday night at 8:30. The Bears are led by 6'8" Britney Griner, the Associated Press Player of the Year. Baylor beat Notre Dame by double digits earlier this season.

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