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"You are a great team – but we are better": How Notre Dame Goliath shocked UConn



  Notre Dame Arike Ogunbowale celebrates after playing the game-winning basket during overtime against Connecticut in the NCAA Final Four Women's College Basketball Tournament semi-final, Friday, March 30, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Notre Dame won 91-89. (Ronan Schwane)

Ron Schwane / Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio ̵

1; The world may have been shocked, but Notre Dame knew that.

The Fighting Irish knew the end before they introduced a 13-point lead the first quarter over a team that still had to track in the 201a NCAA women's basketball tournament.

"They are deservedly favored – they win every game," junior junior lady guard marina Mabrey Bleacher report before Friday's final tells Four Match. Any questions before the team's Thursday training seemed to focus on how the struggling Irish would defeat the undefeated UConn Huskies, a team that is so inspirational that his Excellency is a bad thing . "But we have nothing to lose so we should be the looser team here.

" We are not someone you want to play in the Final Four.

This is not the first time Notre Dame has had a chance to upset Goliath from college basketball this season. Not Dame looked like he was ready to tarnish UConn Huge record in December, after taking an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, but lost nine points

"We can not have mental mistakes," Mabrey continued. "We went up to the fourth quarter 11 and we had a huge mental failure – we just have to concentrate on the task to break them in ten minutes, those 10 minutes are ours, then those 10 and those 10 and this 10. My favorite team is UConn. "

" You have such a dominant program, you can not really deny that, "junior striker Maureen Butler said to B / R." When women's basketball gets attention I'm glad for that. "

" What they do "First and foremost, you just have to respect it," said Lili Thompson, graduate of Transfer Guard. " If a team is successful and plays well, it's good for us all. I feel like we played very well against them, but it was very early in the season for us. Since then, we've been through a lot of injuries, but we've grown a lot as a team.

Ron Schwane / Associated Press

Notre Dame entered the game on Friday with seven healthy players. There were four – four players recovering from ACL tears, easily recognizable by the long ones However, they still knew what would come separate times in regulation against what is widely known as the best program in college basketball for women.

"We have proven time and again "That we can overcome so much, whether that's injury or defeat," said Butler on Thursday. Before studying for a financial exam in the next locker during her studies, she cited a game in January against Tennessee, in which the Irish won by 14 after losing up to 23. "We have the grind – the mentality – to come back and find our profit. "

" We have a bit of "I've lost so many players," added Mabrey. "They thought we would struggle and not get that far, but here we are – whether we like it or not, we are here and we are ready to win a championship."

Notre Dame knew things were different the day before the match, as the overwhelming mood in the dressing room was chilled and self-confident. "We can score with everyone in the country," said Thompson. "We're playing some of our best basketball games so it's definitely a good feeling to get involved," Butler added.

The Fighting Irish knew things were different before UConn found a way to score goals Five points in 21 seconds to send the game into overtime, while Kobe Bryant made a huskies from the stands Hat had seen.

And yes, they knew before Arike Ogunbowale, the 5 & # 8; 8 "junior guard, out of the three-point line with two seconds behind In extra time, after missing two free throws, the Huskies, after only 29 seconds of lead, had a game-defining three-point combination and, despite impressive odds, knew they would beat UConn

After the game Thompson still could not shout The Shot [19659032] Redux "We're all just on the bench watching in slow motion," she said, "but that's Rico, right ? That's her shot. That's the moment she played for. "

Jackie Young, a sophomore guard who finished the game with 32 points and 11 rebounds," At the beginning of the game, they always left me open, "she said, still a little confused – okay." I was under the basket. I've seen it all the way, "said Young Bleacher Report. We knew it would go in. In the end, they had a good chance, but … "

When the players saw the last moments of the game, Danielle Patterson, newly arrived strangers, listed the media members who were" only "surprised by the excitement Someone told her that she would become a meme. "Yes, a winning meme," she laughed. How many injuries did we have throughout the season, as we had four ACL tears, as you need ACL to spell miracles? but it was no wonder It was hard work If we did not have all these ACL stuff, we would not be I'm here, so we would not change it for the world. "

Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Before the game, Ogunbowale Mabrey beat 10,000 Instagram supporters. "If we beat UConn, you will definitely reach 10K," said the game-winning shot-maker of his teammate at the time. After the win, Mabrey checked her Instagram, and it turned out that her teammate's prediction was as accurate as her jumper – she'd cracked five digits. But their main focus, as before, was on the next game at UConn.

"We just want to win a national championship," said Mabrey. "Hats off to UConn, they are a great team – but we are better."


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