Notre Dame, Texas A&M surprise at NCAA women's Final Four

Both Notre Dame and Texas A&M, number-two seeds in their respective regions, upset top seeds Connecticut and Stanford on Sunday night to advance to the women's NCAA national championship game.

Amy Sancetta/AP
Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins (4) celebrates after Notre Dame's 72-63 win over Connecticut in a women's NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game in Indianapolis, Sunday, April 3.
Amy Sancetta/AP
Fans fill the stands at Conseco Fieldhouse in the first half of a women's NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game between Texas A&M and Stanford in Indianapolis, Sunday, April 3.

So, it was all set - the big rematch between Stanford and Connecticut in the NCAA women's national championship basketball game. Except somebody forgot to tell Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

The Aggies and Fighting Irish came back from second-half deficits in their NCAA national semifinal games to upset the Cardinal and Huskies Sunday night in Indianapolis.

The night began with Texas A&M, behind Tyra White's two key baskets inside the game's final minute, edging Stanford, 63-62, to earn the school's first national championship appearance.

Stanford's all-American Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 31 points. But A&M's full-court pressure and team defense in the second half helped them go on a 19-8 scoring run over the final five minutes to get the victory.

In the nightcap, UConn, behind their all-American Maya Moore, battled to a six-point halftime lead against Notre Dame.

But the Irish, who had lost three games to the Huskies this season, were not to be denied in the fourth meeting and beat their Big East foe, 72-63. Point guard Skylar Diggins scored 28 points as Notre Dame reached the title game for the first time since they won it all in 2001.

Take a look at the paint job on the floor of the Conseco Fieldhouse (see second image above). It featured the old-school touch of a key hole inside the free-throw lanes at either end of the court, just like basketball courts used to have up until the 1951-52 NBA season. Also, the rustic paint job around the court gave it a 'Hoosiers' feel.

As ESPN's Doris Burke mentioned during the UConn-Notre Dame game, it's healthy for women's college basketball to have teams other than UConn and Stanford competing for national titles.

It should be fun to watch two teams who've earned the right to be there go after the NCAA brass ring Tuesday night.

To receive Monitor recipes weekly sign-up here!

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.