Notre Dame denies UConn again in 81-76 victory to advance to national title game

Photo Credit: Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times

Has the UConn dynasty met its match courtesy of Muffet McGraw’s team from South Bend, Indiana?

The last two seasons UConn has been denied a national championship, both occasions came at the hands of Notre Dame in the Final Four. This year, the season for Geno Auriemma’s Huskies ended in defeat once again to the Fighting Irish as Notre Dame prevailed 81-76.

In fact, the last three seasons UConn’s season has come to a close in the Final Four – an unusual turn of events for a team, coach, and program more than accustomed to cutting down the nets at season’s end.

The two leading scorers for the Fighting Irish were Arike Ogunbowale and Jessica Shepard. Ogunbowale, who was the hero for Notre Dame last year put in 23 points and Shepard added 20 to the Irish cause.

That is enough to make the whole town of South Bend bust a move.

Almost midway through the fourth quarter, it looked precarious for McGraw’s Fighting Irish as they trailed 64-55 with just around seven minutes to play. Notre Dame managed to outscore UConn 26-12 through the remainder of the game, in large part because of Ogunbowale, Shepard, and a returning Brianna Turner.

Turner also chimed in with 15 points as well as 15 rebounds to go along with a 13-board effort from Shepard. Jackie Young scored 11 points and Marina Mabrey had 12 points.

As for UConn, Katie Lou Samuelson scored 20 points, Christyn Williams added 19, Naphessa Collier pitched in with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Megan Walker contributed 14 points.

And because the Notre Dame coach is a whole mood…

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