Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Notre Dame women reach Final Four

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame's quest for perfection will continue at the Final Four.

Jewell Loyd scored 30 and Notre Dame advanced to the Final Four for a fourth straight season with Monday night's 88-69 win over Baylor.

Natalie Achonwa added 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Irish (36-0), who will face Louisville or Maryland on Sunday night in Nashville.

Notre Dame became the sixth school to reach the Final Four in four straight seasons, joining UConn, LSU, Stanford, Louisiana Tech and Tennessee.

"I couldn't be prouder of this team," coach Muffet McGraw said. "This senior class came in unheralded and set all kind of records. To win it at home, to celebrate with our fans is special. Jewell Loyd, what a phenomenal game."

The loss ended the career of Baylor guard Odyssey Sims, who finished this season with 1,054 points — eight short of Jackie Stiles' NCAA record for a season. Sims scored 33 for Baylor (32-5), but had little help. Her teammates shot a combined 12-for-45.

"I had a great run. My four years, I've enjoyed it," Sims said. "Not one moment have I been unhappy at Baylor. I got to play with a lot of great players. This season is probably my most enjoyable."

The Irish took control in the first half with senior Kayla McBride on the bench with early foul trouble. Trailing 21-17 midway through the first half, Loyd and Achonwa got the Irish going. Achonwa, who had a double double in the first half, started a 14-0 run with a layup. Loyd then scored the next eight points, including a three-point play that made it 24-21 and whipped up the sellout crowd that included former Irish star Skylar Diggins.

By the time Sims hit a pullup in the lane with 5:32 left the Bears trailed 31-24. The Irish led 44-32 at the half as Loyd finished with 21 points in the first 20 minutes.

Sims rallied the Bears, scoring the first nine points of the second half to cut the deficit to 46-41. After a Notre Dame basket Baylor committed back-to-back offensive fouls — the eighth and ninth in the game — and coach Kim Mulkey let the officials know her displeasure. That earned her a technical foul.

The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes and Baylor closed to within 65-60 before Notre Dame went on a 16-4 run, helped by eight free throws. The Irish were 30-for-33 from the line in the game.

UCONN 69, TEXAS A&M 54: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis continued her splendid run with 17 points in Lincoln, Neb., and the Huskies advanced to the Final Four for the seventh straight year.

Connecticut (38-0), the defending national champion, won its 44th straight game. Its semifinal opponent Sunday in Nashville will be either Stanford or North Carolina.

Stefanie Dolson, who made her 150th career start to tie the NCAA record, had 14 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high eight blocks. Courtney Walker led the third-seeded Aggies (27-9) with 14 points.

Mosqueda-Lewis, who missed 12 games this season because of injury or illness, was named the region's most outstanding player. She provided a spark after the Huskies found themselves in an early hole.

Women's NCAA Tournament

Region semisRegion finalsFinal FourChampionshipFinal FourRegion finalsRegion semis
lincolnLincoln, Neb.1 UConn 701 Notre Dame 89South Bend, Ind.notre dame
1 UConn 69Nashville1 N. Dame 88
12 BYU 515 Oklahoma St. 72
1 UConn1 Notre Dame
3 Texas A&M 843 Kentucky 72
3 Texas A&M 542 Baylor 69
7 DePaul 652 Baylor 90
SundayApril 8Sunday
stanfordStanford, Calif.1 South Carolina 581 Tennessee 62Louisville, Ky.louisville
4 N. Carolina4 Maryland
4 North Carolina 654 Maryland 73
TonightTonight
3 Penn State 57About 9, ESPN 7, ESPN3 Louisville 73
2 Stanford3 Louisville
2 Stanford 827 LSU 47
Region semisRegion finalsFinal FourChampionshipFinal FourRegion finalsRegion semis
lincolnLincoln, Neb.1 UConn 701 Notre Dame 89South Bend, Ind.notre dame
1 UConn 69Nashville1 N. Dame 88
12 BYU 515 Oklahoma St. 72
1 UConn1 Notre Dame
3 Texas A&M 843 Kentucky 72
3 Texas A&M 542 Baylor 69
7 DePaul 652 Baylor 90
SundayApril 8Sunday
stanfordStanford, Calif.1 South Carolina 581 Tennessee 62Louisville, Ky.louisville
4 N. Carolina4 Maryland
4 North Carolina 654 Maryland 73
TonightTonight
3 Penn State 57About 9, ESPN 7, ESPN3 Louisville 73
2 Stanford3 Louisville
2 Stanford 827 LSU 47

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