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MailTribune.com
  • Notre Dame rolls into title game

  • NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kayla McBride seemingly did whatever she wanted, and enjoyed herself while she did it.
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  • NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kayla McBride seemingly did whatever she wanted, and enjoyed herself while she did it.
    The All-American senior guard shed defenders with behind-the-back dribbles and quick cross-overs before scoring. She set the tone, refusing to let for Notre Dame's pursuit of a perfect season end and her Irish teammates followed her lead into Tuesday night's championship game.
    In one of the most impressive games of her career, McBride scored 28 points to lead Notre Dame to an 87-61 win over Maryland Sunday night.
    "She was truly special," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "She was having fun out there and that was the key. She was hitting shots from all over."
    The Irish (37-0) will play UConn, setting up a title matchup of undefeated teams for the first time in NCAA history. It's the third time in four years that Notre Dame has been in the title game. The Irish are looking for their first title since winning it all in 2001.
    "It means a lot as a senior," McBride said. "I'm so proud of this team. We went through a lot of adversity, especially after losing 'Ace'. We're going to go in and look at the film and be ready for the game."
    Notre Dame played without senior Natalie Achonwa, who suffered a torn ACL in the regional final victory over Baylor. The entire team wore shirts in warmups with Achonwa's No. 11 and the 6-foot-3 forward's nickname "Ace" on the back. She helped her team warm up, passing the ball and offering words of encouragement.
    Connecticut 75, Stanford 56
    At Nashville, Tenn., Breanna Stewart scored 18 points and undefeated Connecticut continued its march toward an unprecedented ninth national championship with a win against Stanford.
    The Huskies (39-0) also did their part in setting up the highly anticipated championship matchup of undefeated teams.
    They will play Notre Dame, an 87-61 winner over Maryland, on Tuesday night in the title game. It will be the first women's national title game between unbeaten teams.
    The Huskies also won their 45th straight game after overcoming another sluggish start. Stewart, the Associated Press player of the year, missed her first four shots and UConn was up just 28-24 at halftime.
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