Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 07, 2014

UConn vs. Notre Dame: Battle for perfection

Could it end any other way?

All season UConn and Notre Dame were thought to be the nation's two best teams. The Huskies and Fighting Irish overcame all challengers, survived injuries to key players and now they are ready for a piece of basketball history.

"It was almost , it looked to me like, as the season went on, it almost looked like it was inevitable," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

When the teams play in Tuesday's national title game, it will be the first time two undefeated Division I teams will square off for all the marbles.

"We have worked all year to be undefeated and get here so it is pretty cool," UConn senior center Stefanie Dolson said. "Everybody is going to be able to see a great game."

Stanford and Maryland, known as the other two teams in the Final Four, came to Nashville eager to spoil the dream matchup. For a while it seemed as if Stanford might actually pull it off.

With UConn missing 15 of its first 20 shots, the Huskies twice trailed by six points before ripping off runs of 12-0 in the first half and 14-0 in the second half to pull away.

"I think it is awesome," Hartley said. "You compete for this every year and in your last year you want to go out on a high note."

Hartley became UConn’s all-time leader in minutes played and Dolson set the NCAA Division I women’s basketball record for most career games started.UConn matched the program’s best record with a 39-0 mark with the hard-fought win setting up with first national-championship game between a pair of undefeated teams.

Notre Dame (37-0) rode the hot shooting of All-American Kayla McBride to a convincing win over Maryland in the first national semifinal as the Fighting Irish advanced to their third national-championship game in the last four years.

“I'm just so proud of this team,” McBride said. “I think we've been through a lot of adversity, especially after losing Ace (Natalie Achonwa to a season-ending knee injury) in the Elite Eight.  But I think it's this team's mentality. I think we're very fearless, we have a certain toughness about us. I think we're ready for anything.”


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