Mar 6, 2013, 10:51 AM EDT
Skylar Diggins and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s second ranked women’s basketball team outlasted the #3 Connecticut Huskies in a thriller that has come to be expected when these two opponents clash. It was a magnificent end to the regular season for the Irish, who finished as the BIG EAST regular season champions for the second consecutive year.
This game did not technically fall into the category of March Madness that is usually reserved for the NCAA tournament, but it qualified both components of the name, falling on March 4, and elevating to madness as one overtime led to another.
Monday’s game wasn’t Diggins’ most statistically impressive, nor was it the team’s best performance of the season, but it was a tremendous night for Diggins, as well as senior teammate Kaila Turner, each playing in their final game at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.
Notre Dame came out a little shaky, struggling to make routine field goals, and went into the half trailing, 34-28, but they were able to dominate the second half and even the score at 64 by the time regulation ended. From there, the Irish and Huskies seemed evenly matched, each putting up seven and then ten points in the first and second overtimes. It wasn’t until the third overtime that the Irish were able to assert themselves and close out the game, scoring 15 in the final five minutes compared to Connecticut’s six points.
Diggins shot 11-for-31 from the floor, with 11 rebounds, three assists, four steals, eight turnovers, and all 55 minutes played. Her 35.5% field goal percentage was well below her season average of 43.1%, and eight turnovers was more than double her average of 3.5 per game. It is worth noting these differences, but it’s not surprising considering players rarely have their best statistical nights against tough opponents.
Statistics aside, Diggins has always been an integral part of the team for intangible reasons that only athletes who have played on a team can understand–she has been an invaluable member and leader on the women’s basketball team at Notre Dame for the past four years. In terms of where her career will progress, one might say the Sky is the limit.
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