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Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins gets one last shot at elusive title

April 03, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins, left, says she wants to win a national title for Coach Muffet McGraw.
Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins, left, says she wants to win a national title… (Steve Helber / Associated…)

Skylar Diggins has been to the Final Four twice before. She's even played in the championship game two times. But the Notre Dame senior has never hoisted the NCAA women's basketball trophy.

Diggins will get her final shot this weekend.  The Fighting Irish advanced to the Final Four for a third straight year by defeating Duke, 87-76, Tuesday night.

It's an opportunity the two-time All American relishes.

“I want to win a championship for Coach [Muffet] McGraw bad,” Diggins said of her coach, who has led the Irish to one national title (2001) in 25 seasons. “When you have a coach who believes in you so much, I'd do anything for her.”

The first thing she had to do was help dig Notre Dame out of a major deficit. The Irish trailed by as many as nine in the first half, with Diggins on the bench much of the time after picking up two early fouls.

She returned to the floor with about eight minutes left in the half and hit three three-pointers in just over two minutes to trim the Duke lead to just one. But the Blue Devils finished the half on a 5-0 run, which didn't sit well with the Irish leader.

“I think they were outworking us,” said Diggins, who finished with 24 points. “I've never seen that from my team. ... I couldn't wait to get in that locker room. We had to light a fire.”

Diggins did her part, hitting another three-pointer early in the second half to spark a 15-2 run that put Notre Dame in control for good and ready for yet another showdown with rival Connecticut in the national semifinals.

Notre Dame has defeated the Huskies the previous two years in the same round and swept their three-game series this season. But a high-stakes game against one of the most storied teams in women's basketball is never easy.

“We're enjoying the moment right now,” Diggins said when asked about the looming showdown with UConn. “We'll talk about that later.”


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