Irish headed to the Final Four!

Posted by RRR on Mar 28, 2011 at 9:12pm | Page Views: 2,328

With an exciting 73-59 win — the first win ever by Notre Dame over Tennessee in 21 tries — the Irish are headed to the Final Four in Indianapolis.

Led by sophomore point guard Skylar Diggins (SB Washington, left), who tallied a game high 24 points to go with five assists and four steals, Notre Dame will return to the Final Four after a 10-year absence, when the Irish won the national title in 2001. Notre Dame became the first team to claim a berth in the Final Four and will face either Connecticut and Kelly Faris (Heritage Christian) for the fourth time this season or Duke in the national championship semi-final. UConn and Duke will face off tomorrow in Philadelphia for a chance to make the trip to Indy.

Diggins was outstanding in the win, directing the offense with great shot selection, solid passing and timely steals. An alley-oop lob to teammate Devereaux Peters on a fastbreak was the play of the game, extending the Irish lead to 12 points with about 3 1/2 minutes to go and bringing the ND faithful to a frenzy.

Also contributing in the win with a gutsy performance was senior Becca Bruszewski (Wheeler, right), who logged 13 points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes of tremendous interior pressure and physical play.  The 6’1 forward injured her knee in her team’s 78-53 win over Oklahoma on Saturday. Taking the floor in a brand new knee brace, Bruszewski managed to make a tremendous impact for her team despite the bum knee. She was tough against the super-talented and physical Tennessee post rotation.

No. 1 seed Tennessee, who had relied upon the play of frosh phenom Meighan Simmons all season long, faltered as did their freshman, who finished the night with just two points and four turnovers in 19 minutes of play. The defense of the level-headed Diggins contributed greatly to Simmons’ struggles on the night.

Former St. Joe’s standout Sydney Smallbone ended her college career with the Lady Vols in the loss. Although not seeing action in the game, Smallbone was shooting 35.7% from the field and 36.8% from three-point for her final collegiate season. Junior Briana Bass (North Central) also did not play in the game.

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