Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Sports

UConn beats Notre Dame, faces Louisville for title

NEW ORLEANS — Breanna Stewart had all the answers to help UConn finally vanquish Notre Dame.

The stellar freshman scored a career-high 29 to go with four blocks and was seemingly everywhere in leading the Huskies back to the national championship game with an 83-65 win over Notre Dame on Sunday night.

The Huskies will face Louisville in the title game Tuesday night, and it will be an all-Big East affair. UConn will be going for its eighth championship to match Tennessee for the most in women's basketball history.

No team has dominated Geno Auriemma's Huskies the way that the Irish had over the past few seasons. UConn (34-4) had lost the previous two national semifinals to the Irish and dropped three thrilling games this season to its rival.

Stewart and her teammates wouldn't let it happen again, ending the brilliant career of Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. She finished her last college game with 10 points, going a dismal 3-for-15 from the field.

"Once you get here you're only going to beat great teams. And the reason Notre Dame has beaten us seven of the last eight times is because they're really, really good," Auriemma said. "For one night, that's what's great about the NCAA Tournament, for one night, for just this night, we just needed to be better than them, and we were."

The Huskies built a 10-point halftime lead playing incredible defense and Notre Dame (35-2) could only get within six in the second half as its school record 30-game winning streak came to an end.

The Huskies and Irish have developed the best rivalry in women's basketball over the past few seasons, and this game might have been the final chapter between the two with Notre Dame headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

Two years ago, the Huskies won the first three meetings before Notre Dame shocked them in the national semifinals. Notre Dame had won seven of eight meetings before Sunday, and this one, for once, started slowly. With the teams so familiar with each other, getting easy baskets was difficult. Notre Dame went nearly 7½ minutes without a field goal, missing 14 consecutive shots.

Another Louisville upset

NEW ORLEANS — The more Louisville extends its remarkable run, the more coach Jeff Walz wants to make sure his Cardinals enjoy every moment.

As long as they have one more upset in them for the championship game.

The upstart Cardinals got 18 points, all on 3-pointers, from Antonita Slaughter, and they methodically clawed back from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat California 64-57 in the NCAA semifinals. For a team that has beaten Baylor, Tennessee and now the second-seeded Golden Bears, a little celebration was in order.

"We're going to go on Bourbon Street," said Walz, whose team has one last practice today before Tuesday night's title game. "I'll tell the kids, as long as they're back by 2, we're okay."

Bria Smith scored 17 on 6-of-7 shooting for the fifth-seeded Cardinals (29-8), who became the first team seeded lower than fourth to win a Final Four game. They'll meet Connecticut one night after the Louisville men's team plays Michigan for the championship.

"The way I look at it, I think the men are trying to feed off of our success," Walz said with a smirk before adding on a serious note that he'd received word from Atlanta that the Louisville men "were in the hotel lobby jumping up and down and cheering for 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 had 10.

"Credit Louisville, which obviously has been really hot," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "They outfought us in the second half."

It was the third straight upset by Louisville, which beat defending national champion Baylor and the powerful Vols to get to the Big Easy.

"No one expects us to be here," Slaughter said. "No one expects us to be in the championship game. Just come together as a team and win as a team."

Comments
Lightning beats Predators in overtime

Lightning beats Predators in overtime

NASHVILLE — Steven Stamkos’ celebration said it all.The Lightning captain delivered an emphatic fist pump after his rocket one-timer clanked in off the crossbar, tying the score with just over two minutes left at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. S...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 23

Tuesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 55, Canterbury 53Girls basketballBoca Ciega 65, Largo 19
Updated: 22 minutes ago

James joins exclusive group with 30K points

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — LeBron James became the youngest player ever with 30,000 career points, but LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 to lift the Spurs over the slumping Cavaliers 114-102 on Tuesday night. James had 28 while becoming the seventh member of the...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

NASHVILLE — Lightning rookie D Mikhail Sergachev was a healthy scratch Tuesday for the first time this season.Coach Jon Cooper didn’t elaborate before a 4-3 overtime victory over the Predators, just labeling it a "coach’s decision."It was a bold deci...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Predators

Steven Stamkos is showing signs of snapping out of his slump. Stamkos, who Tuesday snapped a nine-game goal drought, had more jump (and four shots) Monday. On Tuesday, Stamkos had a slick setup on a 2-on-1 for Vladislav Namestnikov’s goal. Stamkos’ 3...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMarquette at Xavier6:30 p.m.FS1South Carolina at Florida7 p.m.SEC; 1250-AMGeorgia Tech at Florida State7 p.m.FSF; 1010-AMBoston College at Syracuse7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Joseph’s at St. Bonaventure7 p.m.CBSSNNebraska at Rutgers7 p.m.Bi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Two quick goals in second lift Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Dominik Simon and Jean-Sebastien Dea scored 76 seconds apart in the second period, fellow rookie Casey DeSmith made 34 saves and the Penguins beat the Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night. Jake Guentzel added a goal midway through the third a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Back on right path, Robinson High’s Byron Pringle hopes to impress at Senior Bowl

Back on right path, Robinson High’s Byron Pringle hopes to impress at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. — Byron Pringle understands how easily his life could have gone another way."I’ve been through a lot, but I’m very blessed," he said. "What happened in the past, it made me who I am today. It’s made me realize you have to value the thing...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Downcast Nadal hobbles out, unable to finish fifth set

Downcast Nadal hobbles out, unable to finish fifth set

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal limped off the court after quitting in pain early in the fifth set Tuesday to send Marin Cilic into the semifinals of the Australian Open, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 2-0.The top seed, who had been treated on his upp...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Senior Bowl journal: Washington State teammates playing with heavy hearts after QB’s suicide

Senior Bowl journal: Washington State teammates playing with heavy hearts after QB’s suicide

MOBILE, Ala. — Washington State QB Luke Falk and G Cole Madison began their practices at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday with heavy hearts, still reeling from last week’s news that Cougars QB Tyler Hilinski had committed suicide.They remembered their frie...
Updated: 3 hours ago