Connecticut, Cards Advance
Connecticut center Stefanie Dolson (31) takes a shot against Notre Dame defense in the first half of the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament semifinal, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
New Orleans — Breanna Stewart scored 29 points to help Connecticut beat Notre Dame 83-65 last night to advance to the NCAA women’s basketball championship game.
The Huskies will face Louisville in the title game tomorrow night in an all-Big East final. The Cardinals rallied to beat California 64-57 in the earlier semifinal. UConn will be going for its eighth national championship to match Tennessee for the most in women’s basketball history.
The Huskies (34-4) and Irish had played three thrilling games this season, with Notre Dame coming out on top by margins of one point, two points and in triple overtime. This one wasn’t as close, ending the brilliant career of Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins.
UConn built a 10-point halftime lead and Notre Dame (35-2) could only get within six in the second half, ending the Irish’s school record 30-game winning streak.
Antonita Slaughter scored 18 points on six 3-pointers and Louisville clawed back from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat California.
Bria Smith scored 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Cardinals (29-8), who were a No. 5 seed and became the first team seeded worse than fourth to win a Final Four game. They join Louisville’s men’s team in playing for a national championship.
“Right now anything can happen,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “Why not us?”
Layshia Clarendon scored 17 for Cal (32-4), which had won the Spokane Region as a second seed. Gennifer Brandon added 12 for the Golden Bears and Brittany Boyd added 10 points.