Notre Dame survives UConn in 3 OTs to win Big East outright
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Notre Dame continued being a thorn in Connecticut's side as the second-ranked Fighting Irish outlasted the third- ranked Huskies, 96-87, in three overtimes to win the Big East regular season title outright for the second straight year.
Notre Dame (28-1, 16-0 Big East) trailed by six in the first overtime, five in the second OT and went on an 11-0 run in the final extra session to match a school record with its 23rd straight win.
Skylar Diggins played all 55 minutes in her final game at Purcell Pavilion and scored 29 points, while Kayla McBride added 26 and made the Irish's only 3- pointer late in the first overtime to extend the game.
The Huskies (27-3, 14-2) will be the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament as they try to extend their streak of winning either the regular season or tournament title for the 20th straight year.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 26 points and Kelly Faris chipped in 21 points and 13 rebounds for UConn, which committed 35 turnovers in losing for the sixth time in the last seven meetings against its rival.
It was no more than a two-possession game the last 15 minutes of regulation and through the first two overtimes. Diggins had a chance to put the Irish on top at the foul line with 27.2 seconds left in regulation, but split her trip for a 64-64 tie.
A jump ball with 15.5 showing gave the ball back to Notre Dame, and McBride missed a shot from the elbow to bring on an extra five minutes.
After scoring the first six points, UConn missed the front end of a 1-and-1 three straight times to keep the Irish within striking distance. Trailing 71-68 in the closing seconds, McBride pulled up from NBA-range and benefited from a generous bounce to even things again.
Diggins had another shot at pulling out the win in the second overtime with the score tied, 81-81, but lost the ball on a drive in the lane just before the buzzer.
Jewell Loyd gave Notre Dame the lead for good, 85-83, with a mid-range jumper midway through the third overtime. Diggins followed a few possessions later with a steal and layup, and capped the game-sealing 11-0 flurry with two free throws to put the finishing touches on her illustrious career in South Bend.
03/04 22:28:58 ET