TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 points and led the Notre Dame rally of a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter when the defending Irish champion beat UConn 81-76 on Friday night to return to the title game.
The Irish will face Baylor for the crown on Sunday night, trying to become the fourth different school to win consecutive championships: UConn, Tennessee and Southern California have succeeded. The coach of Notre Dame, Muffet McGraw, danced a small squad in midfield after this victory back.
Baylor beat Oregon 72-67 in the first semifinal, establishing a rematch of the 2012 national championship game that Lady Bears won 80-61.
This game between the Huskies and the Irish was a rematch of the Final Four clbadic of last season that Notre Dame won in an Ogunbowale shot in the last second. This, the last chapter of the greatest rivalry in women's basketball in the last decade, provided an adequate encore.
Notre Dame (35-3) was down 64-55 at the start of the last quarter before scoring 13 of the next 16 to take a 68-66 lead in the Ogunbowale short jumper with 3:56 to play. Then, the teams exchanged the advantage five times in the following minutes, with Jessica Shepard hitting a shot from the foul line with 1:27 to play to put the Irish ahead 75-74.
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 20 points for coach Huskies Geno Auriemma (35-3).
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4/5/2019 11:29:19 PM (GMT -4: 00)