Arike Ogunbowale added four straight foul shots
for a 78-73 lead with 40.4 seconds remaining, followed by three
more free throws by Brianna Turner that wrapped up the game.
Ogunbowale scored 21 of her game-high 23 points in the second
half for the Fighting Irish (35-3), who meet top-seeded Baylor
in the national championship game Sunday night. The Bears
eliminated second-seeded Oregon 72-67 in Friday's first
Shepard finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Turner had 15 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots,
including a critical rejection of Napheesa Collier's attempted
layup with 49 seconds remaining in a three-point game. Marina
Mabrey chipped in 12 points and 12 assists, and Jackie Young
scored 11 points for Notre Dame.
Katie Lou Samuelson scored all 20 of her points in the second
half to pace the Huskies (35-3). Christyn Williams added 19,
while Collier collected 15 points and 13 rebounds for her eighth
consecutive double-double. Megan Walker hit for 14 points.
Poor shooting marred both teams' efforts in the first half.
Connecticut hit only 13 of 36 shots from the field and Notre
Dame was a wretched 14 of 42. But the Huskies were able to
establish a 16-8 first quarter lead when Collier canned a
3-pointer with two minutes left in the frame.
The Irish cut the margin to 16-12 at quarter's end, and scored
the second quarter's first eight points for a 20-16 lead on
Shepard's layup with 7:51 left in the first half. But
Connecticut was able to answer, eventually taking a 30-29 edge
into intermission on a Williams bucket with three seconds left.
Both teams got going in the third quarter -- particularly
Samuelson, who tallied 15 points after being shut out in the
first half. The senior sank three free throws with a second left
in the third period to give the Huskies a 54-52 advantage going
to the fourth.
--Field Level Media
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