UConn Huskies Enter Columbus As Big Favorites In Final Four

Geno Auriemma

Geno Auriemma

It was the second straight year that the Huskies lost on a last-second shot in the Final Four, with Mississippi State's William dashing their flawless season a year ago.

In the title game of the 2013 season, with both teams unbeaten, the Huskies beat the Irish.

Friday night it was Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale who made the game's biggest play, as her jumper with one second remaining gave the Fighting Irish the 91-89 overtime win in Columbus.

She finished with 27 points and Jackie Young had a career-high 32 to lead the Irish back to the championship game for the first time since 2015.

We're guessing Notre Dame will take its chances with the so-called karma gods and continue to celebrate before turning their attention to Mississippi State for Sunday night's national championship game.

The Fighting Irish snapped the Huskies seven-game winning streak in their rivalry, and UConn has now never won a game in overtime in NCAA tournament history. "We can't seem to beat them in the final". "There are no bad teams".

In 2017, UConn's women's team suffered a historic upset to Mississippi State. I think I'll remember this one just a little bit more.

What struck me then was how much Auriemma wanted his team to be great and how much his players wanted to be great themselves. This is their 11th consecutive Final Four and a chance to add their 12th National Championship to the record books.

A roller coaster of emotions doesn't even begin to explain Friday's contest between Notre Dame and CT. They already beat their Final Four opponent, Notre Dame, in December by nine points - a mediocre margin by their standards.

"I tried to get a good shot", she said. Again, the Huskies have been left to contemplate going home empty-handed, this time despite having won 147 of their last 149 games. "That's the world we live in", Auriemma said. "We worked so hard to get ourselves back in this situation and were prepared to make the most of it".

Coach Vic Schaefer, a former assistant coach at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said the Bulldogs are tempered by the fight in last year's tournament and a long, rigorous season that saw them to go 32-0 until losing to SC in the SEC Tournament. UConn had five players in double digits, led by Napheesa Collier with 24.

Mississippi State is in a familiar position: one win away from a national championship.

"Women are not just saying I'm going to CT; they're going everywhere now,"Buffalo Coach Felisha Legette-Jack said". After Notre Dame turned it over with 3.6 seconds left in regulation, Williams' runner was short, sending the game to overtime.

McCowan broke the Final Four single-game rebounding mark set by Charlotte Smith of North Carolina in 1994 when the 6-foot-7 center grabbed her 24th.

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. According to Her Hoop Stats, the Huskies' turnover rate Friday on 97 plays was 17.6 percent, as opposed to 14.4 percent for the season. I made this comment before that, when your team gets to the Final Four, it's not your talent, and it's not your team that's going to beat the other team.

Stat of the game: Notre Dame was the more aggressive offensive team for all 40 minutes, and it helped put the Irish at the free throw line, where they shot 19-of-23.

The teams traded shot for shot in overtime before the Irish led 86-84 with 2:37 left in the extra period.

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