Notre Dame beats UConn, will face Mississippi State in NCAA Women's Championship

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Notre Dame (34-3) used a jumpshot from junior guard Arike Ogunbowale with one second remaining in overtime to defeat CT (36-1), 91-89, successfully putting an end to the Huskies' pursuit of perfection.

After shocking the sports world previous year and beating the Huskies in the Final Four, the Bulldogs lost to conference rival SC in the title game.

Arike Ogunbowale's jumper from the corner with a second left lifted Notre Dame to a 91-89 overtime victory over UConn on Friday night in the national semifinals. Jackie Young led the Irish with 32 points and 11 rebounds.

UConn was seen as the favorites past year right up until Mississippi State ended both their 111-game winning streak and run of four straight national titles in the national semifinals.

"Known as the team that ended UConn's 111-game winning streak last season, Mississippi State (36-1) is led by Teaira McCowan, a 6'7" center who grabbed 13.6 rebounds a game this season. They are the most likely ones to beat CT because they have done it in the past. There are no bad teams, no bad players.

The undefeated University of Connecticut's women's basketball team enters Friday as the overwhelming favorite to win their 12th national title.

"They've weathered every storm that's come their way, worn a bulls-eye on their back from what they accomplished a year ago", Schaefer said. Victoria (Vivians), she's a great player. "And they had a lot of players that could decide the game", Auriemma told the media following the game.

Tennessee, an eight-time national champion, has not reached the Final Four since Coach Pat Summitt retired and died from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

But now CT, coached by Geno Auriemma, and Notre Dame, coached by Muffet McGraw, are in different conferences and that intensity has diminished. She said the game compared to UConn's 80-71 comeback victory over the Irish in December because of the way Notre Dame never backed down. "It's got to be the best one". Last year, Mississippi State ended UConn's 111-game game winning streak in the semifinals before losing to SC in the title game.

"It was kind of a dogfight, I thought, just both teams throwing punches", McGraw said.

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A jumper by Collier and a three-pointer from Crystal Dangerfield made it look as if the semifinal was headed to a second overtime before Ogunbowale hit her shot.

When the Huskies got an offensive foul, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma had to be held back by assistant Chris Dailey. Let's start by going to the final 20 seconds of the fourth quarter, in which the Fighting Irish had a five-point lead.

Notre Dame moves on to the national title game.

UConn pulled off an unbelievable comeback in the final seconds to send its national semifinal against Notre Dame to overtime, but fell short in the extra period, 91-89.

The loss does give him one hollow win: He was right about what he's been saying all week about it getting harder and harder to win a title as the competition gets better and the struggle to stay on top gets harder.

Collier scored in the lane with 38.4 seconds to cut the Irish lead to three, 89-86.

"I would say it's hard to believe". Ogunbowale missed her two free throws a few seconds later.

Huskies forward Gabby Williams launched a Hail Mary pass to junior Katie Lou Samuelson at the end of the game, but Samuelson's attempt was off target.

"You know, one or two players really make the difference at this time of the year". "There's no need for us to be scared of anybody".

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