Irish Douse UConn
South Bend, Ind. — Skylar Diggins scored 29 points and sparked a decisive run in the third overtime as No. 2 Notre Dame beat third-ranked Connecticut 96-87 last night to win Big East regular-season title outright for the second straight year.
The Fighting Irish (28-1, 16-0) went undefeated in the conference for the first time since joining in 1995-96 and became the first team to win six of seven games against Connecticut (27-3, 14-2) in more than two decades. Two of those victories clinched league titles and two more were in NCAA semifinal games. The only loss was in the finals of the league tournament last season.
Diggins added 11 rebounds. Kayla McBride added 26 points before fouling out.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led UConn with 26 points and Kelly Faris added 21. Stefanie Dolson added 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute and Bria Hartley, who fouled out seconds later, finished with 10.
Playing on the same court that the Notre Dame men’s team beat Louisville 104-101 in five overtimes back in February, the Irish didn’t lead in overtime until Kaila Turner hit a free throw early in the third to put the Notre Dame ahead 82-82.
After Faris answered with a bank shot for the Huskies to regain the lead, the Irish took over. Ariel Braker started it with a free throw, then Jewell Loyd muscled in a basket inside and nearly a minute later added a pair of free throws to give the Irish an 87-83 lead. Diggins then stole the ball from Breanna Stewart and scored on a fast-break layup.
Braker, Diggins and Natalie Achonwa each made a pair of free throws to put the game away.
No. 1 Baylor 90
Kansas St. 68
Waco, Texas — Brittney Griner scored a Big 12 single-game record 50 points in her final regular-season game at Baylor — including her first dunk at home since she was a freshman — to lead the top-ranked Lady Bears over Kansas State.
No. 4 Kansas 79
Texas Tech 42
Lawrence, Kan. — Jeff Withey scored 22 points and every senior had a big night at their last home game, leading No. 4 Kansas past Texas Tech.
No. 8 Louisville 67
Louisville, Ky. — Russ Smith scored 18 points and No. 8 Louisville gave Rick Pitino his 300th victory with the Cardinals by beating Cincinnati.
Pitino, who earned his 650th career win earlier this season against South Florida, picked up this milestone against Cincinnati counterpart Mick Cronin, a former Cardinals assistant in 2002 and 20’03.
The Cardinals (25-5, 13-4 Big East) picked up their sixth straight win and drew within one-half game of first-place Georgetown, which plays at Villanova on Wednesday. Louisville followed up last season’s victory over the Bearcats in the conference championship game that sparked a Final Four run.
Louisville’s trademark defense ignited this victory, as the Cardinals forced Cincinnati (20-10, 8-9) into a season-high 21 turnovers. Seven came during the first 10 minutes of the second half, including Kevin Ware’s steal and dunk for a 53-42 lead, part of a 23-4 run that put the game away.