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The Huskies had the ball again after a missed free throw, but Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis fired up an off-target 3-pointer early in the shot clock and UConn never recovered.
Diggins' best play came on defense. With Notre Dame clinging to a 73-72 lead, the Huskies had a 2-on-1 fast break but Diggins blocked Hartley's layup attempt, and the Irish scored the next eight points to ice it.
"As most games do, it turned on one great play by a great player," Auriemma said.
"In overtime we didn't have enough. We took a chance on making it difficult, but Brittany Mallory made two huge shots. That's who we wanted to take the shots, and God bless her, she made them."
Mallory was 0 for 4 from behind the arc in regulation.
"It was a big sigh of relief when that first one went in," she said.
"I am euphoric right now for Brittany Mallory," McGraw said. "What a way for senior to come through in one of the last games of her career."
Natalie Novosel led the Irish with 20 points, including her follow-up hook shot with 4.6 seconds left in regulation that tied it after Diggins' shot was off.
Even though the Huskies were unable to get off a shot in the final few seconds of regulation, they were the ones who were excited heading into overtime.
"I thought we had a lot of momentum," Hartley said. "There was a lot of excitement and we felt good going into the overtime. It didn't work out."
Thanks mostly to Mallory, who was just 1 for 11 from long range during the NCAA tournament before making the pair of big 3s in overtime.
"That's her leadership and next-play attitude," Kayla McBride said. "She had no hesitation and we all had confidence in her."
Hartley had 18 points for the Huskies, who are 20-2 in the NCAA tournament since 2009 with both losses coming against Notre Dame.
Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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