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NCAA women's basketball: UConn, Notre Dame on collision course

Published March 17, 2014 11:21 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

All season there has been a buzz in women's basketball about UConn and Notre Dame.

Now the stage is set for the former Big East rivals to meet in a historic national championship game.

The teams enter the NCAA Tournament unbeaten — only the second time that's ever happened. They are on a collision course to meet in the national championship game. If they do both get to Nashville, the Irish will be all that stands between Geno Auriemma and a record ninth NCAA championship, breaking a tie with Tennessee.

"We really haven't talked, I bet hardly at all, about this national championship or what number it is or any of that," Auriemma said.

Despite being the 13th women's team to go unbeaten during the regular season, the Irish have felt almost unappreciated, with most of the talk centered on the Huskies. Coach Muffet McGraw doesn't seem to mind.

"I like it because we can get a chip on our shoulder and head into the tournament with a bit of chip," she said.

Even though UConn and Notre Dame didn't play this season, the two teams know plenty about each other, having met 12 times over the previous three seasons. Notre Dame isn't intimidated by Connecticut; the Irish have won seven of the past nine meetings with the Huskies.

"We've gotten pretty good at beating them the last couple of years," McGraw said.

Before the potential meeting of unbeatens, the two might have to go through SEC powers Tennessee and South Carolina, who also earned No. 1 seeds. The Huskies, Lady Vols and Gamecocks all could have to play on an opponent's home court, with a trip to Nashville on the line. Stanford, Notre Dame, Louisville and Nebraska, which are all hosting regionals, were a combined 52-3 at home this season.