After a thrilling Sunday of action in the women's NCAA tournament, we are set for an all-Big East final, as Connecticut and Louisville will battle for the title on Tuesday in New Orleans.
Sunday featured one upset and one thrilling second-half comeback.
Connecticut 83, Notre Dame 65
Freshman Breanna Stewart stole the show for UConn. She went for a career-high 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and added four blocks in the win.
"Given the stage, and what was at stake I don't know that I've seen any bigger performance,'' head coach Geno Auriemma said of her forward's game (via the Associated Press). ''I know there's been NCAA tournament games that we've had certain individuals play great, but I don't remember a player having a better game in this environment.''
This allowed the Huskies to reverse a major losing trend against Notre Dame. The Huskies were eliminated the last two years by the Irish in the national semifinals, and lost all three of their previous encounters this season.
The Huskies jumped ahead early and led the Irish at halftime, 39-29.
Notre Dame was hurt by an off game from star Skylar Diggins. She dropped just 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting to bring her marvelous college career to a close.
Louisville 64, California 57
Louisville launched a massive second-half comeback to earn a trip to the title game. Cal took a 37-27 lead into halftime, but they couldn't hold on, as Louisville put the clamps down on defense and caught fire from the field.
Louisville's Antonita Slaughter led all scorers with 18 points, with all coming by way of the three. She was 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, and that accounted for all but one of her shots on the day.
Bria Smith also came up huge for the Cardinals, as she scored 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.
The No. 5 seed, Louisville became the lowest seed ever to advance to the final.
''No one expects us to be here,'' said Slaughter after the game. ''No one expects us to be in the championship game. Just come together as a team and win as a team.''
Championship Game Preview
As we discussed, the championship game features a couple of Big East teams. However, Connecticut and Louisville have met just once this season—an easy, 72-58 victory by the Huskies in mid-January.
UConn used a balanced attack in that game, as four of its five starters hit double digits in scoring.
However, as we've seen with their run to the title game, this is an entirely new Cardinals squad this postseason.
UConn certainly has history on its side, as it will be going for its eighth national championship. That would equal Tennessee for the most championships in women's basketball.