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Irish nip DePaul, face UConn for title

HARTFORD, Conn. — Skylar Diggins had 19 points to help No. 10 Notre Dame beat No. 9 DePaul 71-67 on Monday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

The Irish will face top-seeded Connecticut tonight for the championship in a rematch of the famous 2001 final in which Sue Bird hit a jumper at the buzzer for the Huskies.

Notre Dame (26-6) hasn't been to the title game since.

Trailing 65-64 with 1:43 left, Diggins hit a lay-in to give the Irish a one-point lead. After Sam Quigley missed a lay-in, Diggins found Natalie Achonwa for a basket to make it 68-65.

Keisha Hampton, who had 31 points, got DePaul (27-6) within one with 27.6 left.

Diggins hit a free throw and Hampton turned it over on the next possession. Brittany Mallory hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds left to seal the win.

The teams have built quite the rivalry over the past few seasons. Five of their past seven meetings have been decided by five points or fewer.

The teams met Feb. 28 with the Blue Demons rallying for a 70-69 victory that gave them the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

NO. 1 UCONN 75, RUTGERS 51: Maya Moore had 22 points and Kelly Faris added 19 to lead the Huskies (31-1) to their 19th straight victory. UConn reached the championship game for the 21st time in the past 23 seasons.

Around the nation

ATLANTIC 10: Ta'Shia Phillips had 26 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:31 left, and No. 5 and top-seeded Xavier (28-2) pulled away for a 67-60 victory over Dayton in the title game in Lowell, Mass.

METRO ATLANTIC: Erica Allenspach had 21 points and No. 19 and top-seeded Marist (30-2) clinched its sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid with a 63-45 victory over Loyola (Md.) in Bridgeport, Conn.

SOUTHERN: Paige Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left, and No. 2 seed Samford (25-7) earned its first NCAA Tournament berth by edging Appalachian State 57-54 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

WEST COAST: Courtney Vandersloot had 18 points and 16 assists as 20th-ranked and top-seeded Gonzaga (28-4) beat Saint Mary's 72-46 in Las Vegas to claim its third straight conference tournament title.

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Irish nip DePaul, face UConn for title 03/07/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 7, 2011 10:42pm]
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