The streaking Fighting Irish led by AP All-American senior captain point guard Skylar Diggins stay alive in the NCAA tournament with last nights win over the Duke Blue Devils. Coach Muffet McGraw will now hope her team can capture another win in their soon to be fourth matchup this season with Big East rival UConn.
When perhaps too eagerly asked about what lies ahead for Notre Dame, Diggins reminded reporters, "We're enjoying the moment right now. We'll talk about that later."
A moment well deserved as Notre Dame trailed by as much as ten with Diggins herself in foul trouble early in lasts night quarterfinal. After a short visit to the bench to ensure she didn’t rack up too many fouls, Diggins took control over the game and inspired her team.
"Sky's the best point guard in the country and she changes the game in everything she does. Her being off the court for 20 seconds changes the game," teammate Natalie Achonwa, who led the Irish in rebounds, said about Diggins’ exceptional in game presence.
Diggins managed to finish with an impressive stat line of 24 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 1 block.
"We talked in the beginning about leaving with no regrets," Diggins said, who also admitted that Notre Dame’s first half play needed to improve.
She explained, "I think they were outworking us, I've never seen that from my team. They were getting hustle scrap points. I couldn't wait to get in that locker room. We had to light a fire. We set the tone on defense and got some stops and played our game."
Notre Dame controlled the second half outscoring Duke 56-39.
Notre Dame has now secured their 3rd consecutive final four spot and will have to beat UConn for a fourth time this season to reach the finals. The Big East schools rivalry has tedder tottered over the past few years with Notre Dame currently on top winning 7 out of the 8 last matchups.
"I want to win a championship for coach McGraw bad," Diggins said. "When you have a coach who believes in you so much, I'd do anything for her."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore