No. 2 Notre Dame 93, Kansas 63

By the time Kansas figured out the problem, Skylar Diggins and

Notre Dame were already in the zone.

The Notre Dame point guard scored 22 of her 27 points by

halftime Sunday and the Fighting Irish used a 16-2 run on their way

to a 93-63 victory in the semifinals of the Norfolk Regional.

”We didn’t put a lot of pressure on them,” Jayhawks senior

point guard Angel Goodrich said. ”You’ve got to make a team like

that feel uncomfortable, and we didn’t disrupt them at all.”

Goodrich struggled, too, saying ”I just didn’t have my mindset

right,” and in a game hyped in part for the matchup of skilled

point guards, which put the Jayhawks at a decided deficit with

Diggins scoring at will.

”She took over and took control of the game,” Kansas coach

Bonnie Henrickson said.

The Jayhawks became just the second No. 12 seed to get this far

in the women’s tournament. Henrickson said they need to see past

the ending and build on the accomplishment.

”We’ll find that mojo and find a way to build on this,” she

said. ”It’s just hard to do right now.”

Meanwhile, Diggins because Notre Dame’s career scoring leader.

Perhaps spurred by talk the regional was full of great point

guards, she made it look easy, too. She added nine assists and

three steals, and scored nine straight during a 16-2 first-half run

that put the Irish (34-1) ahead to stay.

The victory was the 29th straight for Notre Dame, and left the

Irish one victory shy of a third consecutive trip to the Final

Four. They have lost in the title game each of the last two

years.

Carolyn Davis led the upstart Jayhawks (20-14) with 25 points on

11-for-17 shooting.

Notre Dame led 40-27 at halftime and started the second half

with a 22-9 run.

Goodrich had seven points and 13 assists, but her head-to-head

duel with Diggins never materialized. When Goodrich, a senior like

Diggins, finally scored with 5:48 left in the first half, Diggins

already had 16 points and her team was about to make another run

before halftime.

It came in the final 4:30 of the half, a 10-2 burst capped by

two 3-pointers by Diggins.

Natalie Achonwa added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame,

Big East freshman of the year Jewell Loyd scored 15 and Kayla

McBride 13 as the Irish shot 54.4 percent from the field, making 37

of 69 attempts.

Monica Engelman added 10 points for Kansas on 4 of 16 shooting,

and Chelsea Gardner added eight points on 4 of 6 shooting.

The Irish trailed 15-11 when Loyd made a 3-pointer with 14:37

left and then Diggins took over. She hit a 16-footer, a 17-footer,

a 3-pointer and then had a steal and layup, making it 23-15. After

Davis’ putback for the Jayhawks, Ariel Braker scored inside and

Diggins did, too, posting up Goodrich.

The 16-2 run gave the Fighting Irish a 27-17 lead, and the

spread stayed about the same until late in the half when Diggins

hit a 3-pointer, then followed a turnover with another 3 from the

right side.

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