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Poised Irish, Diggins shock No. 1 Huskies

Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, who scores a team-high 28, tries to shoot over UConn’s Maya Moore in the second half.

Associated Press

Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, who scores a team-high 28, tries to shoot over UConn’s Maya Moore in the second half.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's not often Maya Moore meets her match. Skylar Diggins was up to the task, and Notre Dame will play for a national champion­ship because of it.

The sensational sophomore guard scored 28 and the hot-shooting Irish upset top-seeded UConn 72-63 Sunday night, ending Moore's stellar career and the Huskies' quest for a third straight national title.

Ten years after their last title, the Irish will play for another one Tuesday against Texas A&M.

Notre Dame (31-7) was 0-3 against its Big East rival this season, but the Irish had all the answers this time for the Huskies, who lost for just the second time in three seasons.

"We had to be poised. … We had to try to make Maya take tough shots, and I think she did," Diggins said. "And at the end we said, 'We have to stay poised on defense, and we have to execute on offense.' We showed a lot more poise than we did in the first three games against Connecticut."

Notre Dame had already beaten Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, ending a 20-game skid against the Volunteers and becoming the first team to knock out both titans in the same tournament.

Moore finished with 36 points, including 12 straight as she tried to rally the Huskies from a 12-point deficit in the final six minutes, but it wasn't enough for UConn (36-2).

"When you're playing against a good team at this time of the year, if you don't execute and play solid defense, you shouldn't win the game," Moore said.

The four-time All-American and AP player of the year was overshadowed by Diggins, the South Bend native who felt right at home in Conseco Fieldhouse, where she led her high school to three straight titles.

A&M stuns Stanford on shot with 3.3 left

Texas A&M's defense was good enough to topple two No. 1 seeds.

The Aggies will find out Tuesday if they are good enough to win a national title.

The second-seeded Aggies rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes against No. 1 Stanford, and Sydney Colson drove the length of the floor and found Tyra White for a layup with 3.3 seconds left to give them a 63-62 victory — and their first trip to the title game.

White scored 18 to help the Aggies (32-5) end Stanford's winning streak at 27.

The Aggies' other win over a top seed came against Baylor in a region final.

"It's time to make history," Colson said.

The Cardinal (33-3) was led by Nnemkadi Ogwumike's 31 points but went home empty-handed from the Final Four for a fourth consecutive year.

"It's hard," senior Kayla Pedersen said. "I mean, it's an awful feeling. The hardest part isn't losing the game, it's leaving these players."

Rare final: Notre Dame and Texas A&M are No. 2 seeds, making this only the second women's final without a No. 1. In 1994, North Carolina, a No. 3 seed, defeated No. 4 Louisiana Tech.

Coaching news: Xavier coach Kevin McGuff is leaving to take the same job at Washington.

.Fast facts

Championship

No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 2 Notre Dame, 8:30 Tuesday

TV/radio: ESPN; 1010-AM

Poised Irish, Diggins shock No. 1 Huskies 04/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2011 1:32am]
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