Notre Dame women shock No. 1 UConn 73-72

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm •  Published: January 5, 2013
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Finally, with the Irish down by one with 49 seconds left, she got fouled on a drive and calmly sank both free throws. It would be the last points of the game.

"I think Skylar has changed things for us," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "She believed we can win and has the confidence and that is contagious."

The Irish women were headed down South after the game to get ready for Tuesday's contest against South Florida. Notre Dame was going to first spend a day in Orlando.

McGraw laughed at the thought that her team would head to Disney World after beating the No. 1 team in the country. She put the victory in perspective.

"It's great to win when they are ranked No. 1," she said. "It's great for our team, but it's still January 5. We're just trying to get better."

The Huskies had come into the game unbeaten and a week earlier had stunned then-No. 1 Stanford 61-35 on the Cardinal's homecourt ending their 82-game home winning streak. They had already beaten five ranked teams by an average of 24 points.

UConn trailed by two at the half and took a 48-44 lead on Dolson's layup with 16:18 left in the game. The Huskies led 63-60 with 8 minutes left before Notre Dame scored five quick points.

Neither team could get more than a two-point lead the rest of the way.

Stewart, the high school player of the year last season, scored all 10 of her points in the second half after missing her first five shots. She also had six blocks and nine rebounds.

"She looked out of sorts a little bit, struggled a little bit," Auriemma said. "But then again you think about what she did, 10 points, nine rebounds, six blocks, that's not a bad day. I think that's what we expect from her. Shots she missed we come to expect she'll make all those."

The Irish won both regular-season meetings last year, before being blown out in the Big East championship game. They won the decisive meeting in the Final Four, 83-75, in overtime.

Notre Dame's lone defeat this season came at home to No. 2 Baylor, 73-61, on Dec. 5.

The two teams, who have played 12 times over the past four seasons, will play again in South Bend on March 4, in the final game of the regular season.

It's not certain if the two teams will play again after Notre Dame leaves for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

UConn led 18-15 midway through the first half before Notre Dame went on a 12-2 run sparked by Kayla McBride, who led Notre Dame with 21 points. She had back-to-back jumpers. Michaela Mabrey hit a 3-pointer and Natalie Achonwa a free throw to cap the burst.

Mabrey's second 3-pointer of the half gave the Irish a 34-26 lead with 5 minutes left in the half before UConn closed with a 12-4 burst to make it 38-36 at the break.

___

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