| || Wednesday, April 6 |
10:00 AM - Some final thoughts while packing up from the self-proclaimed Racing Capital of the World...
Notre Dame had a hell of a season and has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in its performance last night. Numerous coaches commented that it was a great game for the sport of women's basketball and for the BIG EAST to have two Final Four teams in the mix of it all is just another example of why the Conference is the best. The BIG EAST finished the year with a record nine teams in the NCAA Championship, including the Final Four appearance by Connecticut and Notre Dame.
The BIG EAST also went 19-9 during the NCAA Championship. The 19 wins ties the highest mark a conference has ever had during one tournament along with the ACC (2006) and SEC (1996 and 1997).
Notre Dame finished the year by posting the second-highest win total in school history (31) and just its third-30 win campaign.
Sophomore Skylar Diggins cemented herself as one of the top underclassmen in the country and has to be among the favorites for next year's preseason All-America team as well as BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year. If nothing else, this national title appearance tripled her Twitter followers.
Also, Indy seems like a fine city to host a Final Four. While San Antonio is still among the best, there's no reason to think that in 2016 it would be a good visit. A tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was among the highlights we were able to sneak in over the weekend.
Congrats again to the Irish on a season well-done!
Notre Dame finished the season with 31 wins, tied for the second most in school history and its third 30-win season overall, joining teams from 1997 and 2001, which went 31-7 and 34-2, in those years, respectively.
All eight of Notre Dame's losses have come to teams ranked in the top 15 nationally, and by a combined total of 120 points (7.4 per game).
With 23 points, Skylar Diggins has 51 points in the Final Four, tied for the sixth-most combined in a single Final Four.
The combined point differential in this year's Final Four was 16 - the fewest of any Final Four in history. This also marks just the second time in Final Four history that all three games have been decided by single digits. The only other time it happened was 1991 when Tennessee defeated Stanford, 68-60, and Virginia defeated Connecticut, 61-55, in the National Semifinals; and the Lady Vols downed the Cavaliers, 70-67 in OT in the title game.
2011 Final Four All-Tournament Team
Maya Moore, Connecticut
Deveroux Peters, Notre Dame
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame
Tyra White, Texas A&M
Most Outstanding Player
Danielle Adams, Texas A&M
| || Tuesday, April 5 - NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMEDAY! |
10:00 AM - Well its Game Day here in Indy and following the national championship performance by the UConn men's program last night, expectations are high! Notre Dame squares off against Texas A&M at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Today's preview story is available here.
BIG EAST staffers had a great dinner with a bunch of the league coaches and administrators last night. It is events like that which truly foster the family atmosphere of the BIG EAST. Some fans might be surprised to know that while there is intense competition on the court, many of the league coaches also are friends off of it.
We stopped by the Basketball Writers annual awards breakfast this morning had gleaned a few insights from the speakers, including outgoing NCAA WBB Selection Committee chair Marilyn McNeil. ESPN's Carol Stiff formally received the Mel Greenberg Award and had some positive things to say as well.
In addition, Memphis guard Bilqis Abdual-Qaadir was honored as the USBWA "Most Courageous" award winner.
Other awards handed out last night saw UConn's Maya Moore grab the Naismith Award presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Moore becomes the first two-time College and two-time Naismith High School Player of the Year award winner.
Moore edged Nneka Ogwumike (Stanford), Danielle Adams (Texas A&M) and Brittney Griner (Baylor) on the final ballot. She was recognized by Kathy Betty and Mary Brock of the Atlanta Tipoff Club and Kris Rinne of AT&T at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Awards Banquet at the 2011 Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.
Here's an interesting tidbit from our friends at ESPN and former colleague Rachel Margolis.
Did You Know: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world, with more than 250,000 permanent seats.
| || Monday, April 4 |
5:30 PM - As we move on toward tomorrow's national title tilt, both Notre Dame and A&M will carry high hopes and new expectations with them. The Irish are making their third appearance in the title game and first since they won it all in 2001. A&M is making its first appearance.