|Post-Game Coverage ||Video Content |
|Championship Central ||Highlights |
|Box Score ||Interview with Skylar Diggins |
|Notes ||Interview with Muffet McGraw |
|Quotes ||Notre Dame Press Conference |
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Kayla McBride scored 17 points and Skylar Diggins added 14 to help No. 2 Notre Dame beat 16th-ranked Louisville 83-59 on Monday night in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Women's Basketball Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters.
Notre Dame advanced to the championship game for the third straight year and its seventh since joining the conference in 1995. Coach Muffet McGraw hopes this will be the year her team can get its elusive first title.
The top-seeded Irish extended a school record with their 25th straight victory. Only top-ranked Baylor, which handed Notre Dame its only loss this season, has a longer active winning streak.
The Irish (30-1) led the Cardinals by six at the break before opening the second half with a 13-2 run to take command. It only got worse for Louisville (24-8) from there as the deficit kept expanding.
Notre Dame's lead ballooned to 31 before Louisville closed the gap against the Irish reserves.
Shoni Schimmel scored 20 points and Sara Hammond added 12 to lead the Cardinals, who were playing their final game in the Big East. They still will play next season in the new football conference before bolting to the ACC in two seasons.
Notre Dame will play either No. 3 Connecticut or 22nd-ranked Syracuse on Tuesday night in the championship game.
The Irish have lost to the Huskies in the past two Big East tournament title games, but have otherwise dominated the rivalry recently. Notre Dame has won every other game against UConn over the past few seasons, including two in the Final Four.
This season, Notre Dame went 16-0 in the conference, including a one-point win at Connecticut in January before a triple-overtime thriller last Monday night.
The Irish had no such trouble with Louisville. With the exception of a 5-minute stretch in the first half, they were in firm command.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 12-0 lead before Schimmel started heating up, tying it at 16 on her second 3-pointer of the half. Diggins answered with two 3s of her own to make it 26-20 and the Irish led 32-26 at the half.
The Irish handed the Cards their worst loss of the season with a 93-64 victory Feb. 11.