Diggins helps Notre Dame dump top-seeded Tennessee


DAYTON, Ohio -- No team has ever been so happy to be 1-20.

Skylar Diggins scored 24 points, and second-seeded Notre Dame made up for 28 years of beatings at the hands of Tennessee, upsetting the top-seeded Lady Vols 73-59 Monday in the Dayton Region final of the women's NCAA Tournament.

"We went into the locker room after the game, and the first thing the team said was, '1 and 20! 1 and 20!' " coach Muffet McGraw said with a laugh.

The Fighting Irish (30-7) came in 0-20 all-time against the Lady Vols. But the operative number on this night was 3-0 -- Notre Dame's record in regional championship games. The Irish are headed to the Final Four for the first time since 2001, when they won the national championship.

"This is what you work for," said Diggins, a first-team All-Big East performer. "I said all day, this team has so much camaraderie. It's been like that all year. We just rallied around each other."

Natalie Novosel added 17 points, and Becca Bruszewski -- who didn't practice Sunday and was listed as questionable to even play with a knee injury -- had 13 for the Fighting Irish. Brittany Mallory chipped in with 10 points.

Notre Dame advanced to play the winner of today's game between top-ranked Connecticut (35-1) and second-seeded Duke (32-3).

Taber Spani and Shekinna Stricklen had 13 points for the Lady Vols (34-3). Glory Johnson added 12.

"Obviously, I'm very upset, I'm very disappointed in our basketball team," coach Pat Summitt said after being stuck with loss number 199 of her career, against 1,071 wins. "I don't think we came here with the focus. Don't ask me why. I'm kind of at a loss for words. We were exposed today."

■ Stanford 83, Gonzaga 60 -- At Spokane, Wash., Nnemkadi Ogwumike dominated the inside with 23 points and 11 rebounds, sister Chiney Ogwumike chipped in with 18 points, and the top-seeded Cardinal ended the surprising run of the 11th-seeded Bulldogs in the Spokane Region final.

Stanford (33-2) now heads to the Final Four for the fourth straight year, where it will meet the winner of today's Baylor-Texas A&M game.

The Ogwumike sisters scored seemingly every way around the basket. Whether grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring on putbacks or powering through the arms of the Bulldogs' defense, they were not going to be slowed.

It didn't help that Gonzaga (31-5) started the second half missing 11 of 12 shots and saw Stanford's lead balloon to 21. Gonzaga got no closer than 18.

Courtney Vandersloot finished her remarkable career at Gonzaga with 25 points, including 18 straight at one point in the first half.

 

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