Mar 24, 2013, 2:55 PM EST
Skylar Diggins and the Fighting Irish (31-1, 16-0 BIG EAST) kick off their tournament play Sunday night at 5:05pm at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, IA against Tennessee-Martin (19-14, 11-5 OVC), looking to win the elusive last game of the season.
Notre Dame has lost in the championship the past two years–to Texas A&M in 2011, and last year to Baylor. Obviously, the Irish are hoping to improve upon those performances in Skylar Diggins’ final year with the team.
The Baylor Lady Bears (32-1, 18-0 Big 12), who were ranked #1 at the end of the regular season will likely be the most challenging opponent for Notre Dame, as they were the only team to deal the Irish a loss this season. The way the bracket is set up, it’s possible (and more likely than any other scenario) that these two teams will meet in the championship in New Orleans on April 9th for a rematch of last year’s title game.
The other two #1 seeds in this year’s bracket, Connecticut (30-4, 14-2 BIG EAST) and Stanford (31-2, 17-1 Pac-12), are still major contenders to win it all, however. Notre Dame has defeated Connecticut in all three of the teams’ meetings this season, but two of those games were decided by two points or fewer, and the third went to three overtimes before the Irish pulled away.
Connecticut routed Stanford earlier this year 61-35, back when Stanford was ranked #1 and Connecticut was #2, but Stanford is the only team to have beaten Baylor this year, 71-69 in the third game of the season.
It’s worth noting that there’s a much bigger gap between the elite teams and the rest of the pack in women’s college basketball than in the men’s sport. For instance, 12-5 and 13-4 upsets are relatively common in the men’s tournament, while the Connecticut women’s team won its first game 105-37 over #16 Idaho. Additionally, it’s pretty much expected that the four #1 seeds will make it to the women’s Final Four, which is rarely the case in men’s college basketball.
This is all to say that the Skyhawks should not present much of a challenge to the talented Notre Dame team, but this game and the next few early rounds to follow will be a good chance for the Irish to build up some momentum and confidence before they have to take on one of the formidable #1 seeds in April, which is when the madness will really kick in.
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
- Only a few days left to bin on customizable warm-up shirts to be worn in honor of loved ones @ Pink Zone Game! BID… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 12 minutes ago
- RT @ndwbb: Honor your loved one by having the Irish don a customizable warm-up shirt at our Pink Zone Game, Feb 12th! Bid NOW: https://t.c… 22 hours ago
- 💥Top Moments from the win over Boston College Thursday night! 💥 youtu.be/LAqR8ypGYjc 23 hours ago
- 31-15 third quarter, including 11-0 run, leads Notre Dame to 80-69 victory over Boston College! 📸 by Kevin Sabitus… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 1 day ago
- Irish win 80-69! Marina Mabrey leads Notre Dame with 21 points, her 3rd 20-points game of the season. Brianna Turne… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 1 day ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- RT @FightingIrish: 3x @NDmbb Captain 1st Round @NBA Draft Pick 2017 Ring of Honor Inductee David Rivers met the team before Saturday's Rin… 14 hours ago
- Trust. Belief. Freedom to play. ☘Irish Basketball☘ #LevelUp 👉 cbssports.com/college-basket… https://t.co/YEuenBLhjN 21 hours ago
- A.T. back for 2017-18! twitter.com/austin_torres0… 1 day ago
- Seems like ⏳forever⏳, hey @LepLegion? See you at ☀️High Noon☀️ on Saturday! https://t.co/tzDJ5eWA6S 1 day ago
- Great fight. Great edge right to the end. Still in first place and HEADING HOME! https://t.co/HWKqPpslUs 2 days ago
- M. Ice Hockey. Wegwerth's Third Period Tally Lifts Irish To Overtime Tie
- Swimming & Diving. Notre Dame Falls To Top-25 Louisville
- M. Tennis. Irish Defeat Cardinals 7-0 In Season Lid-Lifter
- Track. Keys To The Meet: Notre Dame Invitational
- W. Soccer. Romagnolo Adds Norman ('07) To Women's Soccer Coaching Staff