You know what they say, the 21st time is the charm.
The Notre Dame women’s basketball team went into tonight’s Elite 8 match-up with Tennessee 0 for their last 20 against the Vols and their legendary head coach Pat Summitt. But the Irish were able to pull out a win when it counted most and are now headed to the Final Four with a convincing 73-59 win.
“We went into the locker room after the game and the first thing the team said was, ‘1 and 20! 1 and 20!'” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said to reporters after the win.
McGraw’s second-seeded team pulled off the upset thanks to a stellar performance from hometown hero Skylar Diggins. Diggins finished the game with 24 points followed Natalie Novosel (17) and the equally alliterative Becca Bruszewski (13).
The Irish took a five-point lead into the half. The Vols were able to pull within one to start the second, but a pair of clutch 3’s from Diggins gave her team a little bit of breathing room. Notre Dame rolled from there never giving up the lead in the half. They were ahead for more than 37 minutes of the 40 minute game.
It doesn’t get any easier for McGraw and her team in Indianapolis. They will likely face UConn (who faces Duke in its regional final game Tuesday night) in their next game on Sunday. The Huskies beat Notre Dame in all three of their meetings this season.
Monday night’s win capped one of the most successful sports weekends in recent Notre Dame memory. After hitting lows with the men’s team being upset and Michael Floyd’s arrest last week, the Irish bounced back with a women’s trip to the final four, the hockey team reaching the Frozen Four with a win over UNH Sunday night, big wins from the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs and a national championship from the fencing team. It was definitely a good weekend to be gold and blue, through and through.