NORFOLK, Va. - No. 1 seed Notre Dame (35-1) shook off a six-point halftime deficit (37-31) and surged past No. 2 seed Duke 87-76 in the Norfolk Regional Final. With the win the Irish advance to the Final Four for the third straight season. Senior Skylar Diggins led the Irish with 24 points. She also had nine assists, five steals and five rebounds and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Norfolk Regional.
Kayla McBride added 17 points while Jewell Loyd and Natalie Achonwa had 17 each as the Fighting Irishearned a fourth meeting with Connecticut. Notre Dame has won the first three this season and beaten UConn in the past two Final Fours.
Tricia Liston led Duke (33-3) with 19 points, but the Blue Devils had no answer when Notre Dame used a 15-2 run early in the second half to take a 50-42 lead. The Blue Devils lost in the regional finals for the fourth straight year, failing once again to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2006.
Notre Dame will take on UConn in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN on Sunday, April 7 in New Orleans. The teams have met in the NCAA semifinals in each of the last three years.
The Irish carry a school-record 30-game winning streak to the Crescent City.
With the win the BIG EAST improves to 22-9 all-time in the Regional Final round of the NCAA Championship (71-percent winning percentage). A BIG EAST team has not lost a game in the Regional Finals in five years (since 2008). The league has won its last nine Regional Final contests.
Norfolk All-Region Team
Kayla McBride, Notre Dame
Tricia Liston, Duke
Natalie Achonwa, Notre Dame
Alexis Jones, Duke
Most Outstanding Player
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame