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Notre Dame women outlast UConn for spot in title game

Apr 1, 2012, 9:02 PM EDT

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Notre Dame’s back for another shot at the national title. Of course, when you beat the Connecticut women three times in one season, the Irish probably feel like they already won it.

Not just yet.

Natalie Novosel scored 20 points, Skylar Diggins added 19 points and Brittany Mallory hit two huge 3-pointers in overtime in Notre Dame’s 83-75 victory Sunday night.

It was the fourth time the two teams had met this season. UConn (33-5) had won the last meeting, a 63-54 victory in the Big East tournament title game, but the Irish (35-3) overcame a lousy final minute of regulation in which they blew a four-point lead and needed a basket by Novosel with four seconds left simply to force OT.

But after 90 seconds of overtime, it was clear the Irish would prevail. Diggins and Mallory combined for three 3-pointers in  a 1:46 span and pulled away thanks to some sturdy defense and clutch free throws.

Notre Dame will play the Baylor-Stanford winner on Tuesday night.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

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