The Notre Dame Fighting Irish took out the Connecticut Huskies on Sunday night to advance to the championship game at the 2012 NCAA Women's Tournament in Denver. A back-and-forth affair ended with a wild finish. The Huskies were down as many as seven points under 10 minutes to go in the game, but clawed back to force overtime. The Fighting Irish got hot beyond the arc after regulation, however, to win 83-75.
Regulation ended in a frenzy. With the game tied at 65 apiece, the Huskies turned the ball over but stole it back on the same possession. Kelly Faris sunk two free throws to give UConn a two-point lead. Natalie Novosel hauled in an offensive rebound off a missed Skylar Diggins jumper, and scored on a hook shot for the Irish to tie the game again with four seconds remaining. Tiffany Hayes had a chance to win the game at the buzzer for the Huskies, but time ran out as she passed the shot up.
The Huskies took the upperhand early in overtime, going up three points on a Bria Hartley 3-pointer. The Irish quickly turned the tide with treys on back-to-back possessions. Brittany Mallory hit the second, then hit another with 1:34 left to put UConn in a stranglehold down four points. Mallory finished with seven points in overtime coming off a scoreless second half.
Stefanie Dolson led the Huskies with 20 points and nine rebounds, and could have had more if she hadn't picked up her fourth foul just three minutes into the second half to force herself to the bench. Hartley finished with 18, and as a team the Huskies outshot the Irish 45.6 percent to 40.3 percent.
The Irish rebounded over half of their misses, however, and forced 22 turnovers to make up for the Huskies' shooting. Novosel scored 20 to lead the way, though she went just 5-for-19 from the field to get there. Devereaux Peters had 12 rebounds to go with 17 points for the game's only double-double.
With the win, the Irish advanced to championship where they will play the winner of Sunday's late semifinal between Baylor and Stanford.