The series between UConn and Notre Dame has emerged as the top rivalry in women’s college basketball. The latest chapter did not disappoint.
All American Skylar Diggins made two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to give the fifth-ranked Irish a 73-72 win over the top-ranked Huskies before a sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion. Notre Dame has now won five of the last six meetings in the series.
UConn Class of 2013 commit Saniya Chong and Class of 2014 target Brianna Turner were in attendance.
UConn and Notre Dame have met four times in each of the past two seasons. This was the 12th meeting since Jan. 16, 2010.
Kayla McBride led the Irish (12-1) with 21 points. Diggins added 19 points (4-of-15 FG), six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson (six assists) each had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies. Kelly Faris has 13 points (4-of-11 FG), 11 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
The Huskies had defeated the Irish by a combined 45 points in the last two games played at Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies trailed by as many as nine in the first half. They used a 10-4 run to close to within 38-36 at halftime despite shooting 35.9 percent from the field.
UConn trailed 68-67 after a 3-pointer by Michala Mabry with 4:18 left. But Mosqueda-Lewis converted a pass from Hartley for a layup and a three-point play 36 seconds later.
The Irish did not quit. Diggins gave the Irish a 73-72 lead with two free throws with 49.4 seconds left.
UConn retained possession at the other end after Stewart was tied up by Ariel Braker. Faris then rebounded a missed jumper by Breanna Stewart and called a timeout with 21.1 seconds left.
But coming out of the timeout, Mosqueda-Lewis front-rimmed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with six seconds left. The Irish controlled the rebound and Diggins ran out the clock, heaving the ball in the air shortly before the buzzer sounded.
STAR OF THE GAME: Diggins. She continues to burn the Huskies.
KEYS TO THE LOSS: UConn shot 39.4 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers. … Notre Dame was 17-of-24 from the free throw line. UConn was 11-of-14. … UConn was out-rebounded 45-44, allowing 18 offensive rebounds. … Breanna Stewart had 10 points (5-of-17 FG) and nine rebounds.
NEXT: Wednesday at Georgetown, 7:30 p.m. (SNY)