Buzzer beaters, national titles and thrillers
Elite programs will try to add to legacy Sunday in South Bend
UConn and Notre Dame have a long history — a rivalry that blossomed as UConn and Tennessee stopped playing each other on a regular basis.
The Huskies have gotten the best of the Fighting Irish and lead the series, but UConn hasn’t always been the more dominant team in the rivalry. Meetings between two of the best women’s college basketball programs in the country have produced buzzer beaters, triple overtime and multiple national titles.
Here’s a look at some of the most significant years and games of the rivalry, which will continue when the two meet on Sunday in South Bend, Ind.:
2000-01: A Sue Bird buzzer beater and a Notre Dame national title
This was a year of ups and downs for UConn in the rivalry. It started with a 92-76 loss in the regular season and led to the Huskies and Fighting Irish meeting up in the Big East championship game.
Tied at 76 with just 40 seconds left in the game, UConn legend Sue Bird hustled down the court before pulling up and knocking down a jumper at the buzzer to give the Huskies the win, 78-76.
UConn and Notre Dame would meet up again, this time in the Final Four. The Fighting Irish got their revenge, beating UConn 9075 and going on to win the
2005: The Huskies’ dominance begins
After losing one of three games against Notre Dame in 2004 and going on to win the national title, UConn started its long winning streak in the rivalry in 2005. UConn would win every game — eight total — between 2005 and the beginning of the 2010 season.
2010: Notre Dame and the years of Skylar Diggins
UConn was on a hot streak for five straight seasons, but the Fighting Irish started to make the rivalry competitive again in 2010.
UConn won the first three games against Notre Dame that season, including a three-point win in South Bend. Kelly Faris scored 20 points and made the final shot to secure the Huskies’ 79-76 win that night, while Maya Moore put up 31 points.
In March, the Fighting Irish were ready for UConn. Behind Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame upset the Huskies 72-63 in the Final Four and went on to the national title game. Diggins scored 28 points, and Moore finished her final game in a Huskies uniform with 36 points.
2012: UConn snaps losing streak
Notre Dame’s win in 2010 led to a string of losses for UConn in the rivalry. The Huskies didn’t beat Notre Dame in a single game in 2011, but they pushed the Fighting Irish into overtime twice. The start of the 2012 season was much the same.
It started with a one-point loss in January. The Huskies were leading at the half, but Diggins willed Notre Dame to a win, scoring 19 points and drawing a late foul that gave the Fighting Irish the 73-72 win.
The next time the two teams met in 2012, the game went to triple overtime in South Bend. UConn had a six-point lead in overtime and a five-point lead in double overtime, and still gave up the win. Notre Dame forced 35 turnovers. UConn coach Geno Auriemma said his team couldn’t handle pressure, and Diggins walked out of the arena for the final time after scoring 29 points.
They met a third time, this time in the XL Center, and Notre Dame walked away with yet another win — 61-59 — and the Big East championship.
After three losses — seven in the past three seasons — UConn found a way to beat Notre Dame when it counted most. They met in the Final Four, and thenfreshman Breanna Stewart gave the world a glimpse of what she would become. She scored 29 points, pulling the Huskies out to a big halftime lead that would eventually land them in the national title game, which they won. The losing streak was snapped.
2013: The Huskies beat Notre Dame for the title, begin second reign in series
With the losing streak finally snapped, UConn began its second dominant run in the series. The Huskies met Notre Dame just once in 2013, in the biggest game of the year.
Behind Stewart, who would become to UConn what Diggins was to Notre Dame in the rivalry, the Huskies won their second consecutive national title. Stewart scored 21 points to help UConn to a 79-58 win.
2018: An Arike Ogunbowale buzzer beater
The Huskies’ dominance in the rivalry lasted from 2013 until their final game of 2018, when they were crushed with an overtime buzzer beater in the Final Four for the second year in a row. This time, it just happened to be at the hands of Notre Dame.
After beating Notre Dame 80-71 in the regular season, the teams met up again in the national semifinals. It was a competitive game, with both teams going back and forth. In overtime, thensophomore Crystal Dangerfield hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 89 after Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale missed two free throws. With a second left, Ogunbowale stepped back and hit the winning shot as time expired, ending UConn’s season. Notre Dame would go on to win the national championship.
UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson (33) chases a loose ball against Notre Dame’s Marina Mabrey (3) and Kathryn Westbeld. Notre Dame won 91-89 in overtime to end the Huskies’ season in the national semifinals.