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
Carolyn Davis led the upstart Jayhawks (20-14) with 25 points on
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
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
Follow Hank on twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr