Never before have two basketball teams, Men's or Women's ever played for a National Championship with both teams coming in undefeated. That changed in 2014 when the hottest rivalry in the Women's Game, UConn & Notre Dame played for the title. The first season they weren't conference foes as the Big East was broken up. Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pittsburgh going to the ACC, UConn along with Cincinnati & USF joined some old Conference USA schools and became the American Conference...As the season evolved, it was becoming apparent that there was a chance these two teams could collide for the Championship in Nashville, undefeated. The Huskies breezed thru Prairie View A&M and St. Joseph's in Storrs, before BYU gave the Huskies a difficult challenge and beat Texas A&M in Lincoln, Nebraska to earn it's trip to Nashville. Notre Dame never had to leave the confines of Purcell Pavilion, that included a controversial win over Baylor to earn it's trip. Sadly, late in that game, Center Natalie Achonwa tore her ACL and was lost for the Final Four.
Both Teams took care of business in the Semi's...The Irish beating Maryland, while the Huskies beat Stanford. The day before the game, the teams press conferences showed that the tension was high. With Geno's comments becoming a classic on being the best and how programs try to be them, while others look to tear them down.
Onto the game, for five minutes, it was pretty even...Kayla McBride was Notre Dame's All American along with one in coming in Jewell Lloyd...The Huskies had three in Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart . And without Achonwa, it was a pretty good bet UConn had the advantage in the post. It started to show itself. Down 8-6, the Huskies went on "the run" that would determine the outcome of this game. A 16-0 spurt, the longest against the Irish all season...Dolson and Stewart each scoring 6 to extend the lead to 22-8. Then Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who had a difficult season with injuries and illness, came to life in the postseason. The MOP of the Lincoln Regional scored twice, including a 3 ball that had UConn up 12. Notre Dame hung in there as the lead was trimmed to seven at the break. Mosqueda-Lewis and Stewart with 14 each, Dolson with 10 and 5 assists...McBride, Lloyd and Michela Mabrey all in double figures. The telling number was 32-10 UConn in the paint.
The Huskies came out smoking in the second half with a 10-2 run with everyone contributing and the lead grew back to 15 four minutes in...17-4 thu 8 minutes and the the advantage was 21 at 63-42. Over the last 12 minutes, the lead grew to as big as 24 and was never lower than 19 as the Huskies won going away 78-59..
52-22 in the paint the telling number on a night UConn shot 47%, while the defense kept the Irish to 36%....Stewart and Dolson leading the way. Stef a near Triple-Double with 17p-16r-7a and 3 blocks....Stewart 21p-9 was named the MOP...Mosqueda-Lewis 18p-7r and Hartley, who struggled most of the night had 13 in her final game, along with Dolson...Leaving no doubt who was the best team in 2014....And oh yeah, with the Men winning in Dallas the night before, UConn repeated it's dual championships of a decade ago...Only one school has won dual natty's...UConn, they've done it twice...Amazing isn't it ??
View the game at UConnHuskyGames.com