Chicago, IL – In all four of the NCAA Women’s Regional Championship games this year has been a No 1 seed versus a No 2 seed. The last game of the weekend was the Chicago Regional matchup between No 1 Notre Dame and No 2 Stanford.
Notre Dame advances to its 9th Final Four with a dominant 84-68 victory over Stanford. Now the Lady Irish are one-step closer of reaching the National Championship Game for the second straight year.
Coming off of Saturday’s 25% shooting effort, Stanford came out firing on all cylinders. Stanford had three players in double figures: Kiana Williams (20),Dijonai Carrington (18) and Alanna Smith (14) for a combined 52 points.
“I’d just say we came out, had a great game plan, and we executed it in the first half. I think we had a few slip ups in the second half, and they are a great team and they were able to exploit those”, said Dijonai Carrington.
The second half is where Notre Dame found their stride, capitalizing off of mistakes by Stanford and second chance opportunities in the paint. “Well, the difference in the halves, we weren’t knocking down shots, but we also gave them a lot of second chance opportunities. So I think once we hit the boards in the second half, that really changed it around” says Arike Ogunbowale.
Scoring only 26 points in the first half, Notre Dame doubled that in the second half with 52 points. The starting five of Notre Dame (78 points) became the first group (men’s or women’s basketball) in NCAA history to score 10,000 points, and adding to that total game with 10,070 points and possibly two more games to go.
Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw said in postgame interviews “I mean, it’s a milestone and certainly the first time it’s been done, men or women. It’s pretty amazing, but it really doesn’t mean anything, except they get a lot of shots”.
The Lady Irish will Face the Lady Huskies of UCONN in the National Semifinals in Tampa.