STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Stefanie Dolson came to Connecticut to play for national championships, but hasn't been able to do that yet, after losing to Notre Dame in the national semifinals in each of her first two seasons.
In fact, after winning 12 straight games in the series, the top-ranked Huskies have lost four of their last five meetings with the Fighting Irish heading into Saturday's first meeting between the programs this season in Storrs.
"There is a not a day you don't think about the same thing happening two years in a row in the Final Four against Notre Dame," Dolson said Friday. "That is something that is just going to fuel our fire."
The rivalry, which UConn leads 29-8, has grown into one of the biggest in women's college basketball, with the Irish replacing Tennessee on many UConn fans' most-hated list.
"I think the history of the two programs . you don't even have to tell the freshmen about it," Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins said. "They already know, coming into the rivalry, what it's become, especially they last couple of years."
This will be UConn's second game in a week against a top-five opponent. UConn stunned then top-ranked Stanford 61-35 in California last Saturday.
The Huskies have won five games this year over ranked opponents by an average of more than 24 points a game. They also have won 13 of their last 17 against those ranked in the top five, by an average of almost 15 points a game.