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    Live Blog: Irish, Mountaineers Battle In Pink Zone Game

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    5:41 pm, Mountaineers 65-63, Final: Brooke Hampton makes both free throws. Novosel takes it up the court and gets a good look at the hoop, but it's short and the buzzer sounds. The faithful Irish crowd leaves absolutely stunned. The loss certainly puts a damper on an otherwise great afternoon at the Purcell Pavilion.

    5:39 pm, Tied 63-63, 0:05 2nd half: Diggins holds for most of the shot clock and drives to the hoop with just a few seconds to play. She misses the shot, and West Virginia comes up with the rebound. Diggins commits a foul and the Mountaineers will have a chance to take the lead with just 4.6 seconds to play.

    5:37 pm, Tied at 63, 0:35 2nd half: On the next possession, Caldwell commits her fifth foul. Diggins goes to the line, but only makes one of two. After the ball's knocked out of bounds a couple of times on the West Virginia possession, Asya Bussie makes a tough, tough jumper as the shot clock winds down. We're tied at 63 with 35 seconds to play, and the Irish call a timeout.

    5:35 pm, Irish 62-61, 1:48 2nd half: Novosel makes two free throws, and the lead is back to three. The Irish put the full court press on the Mountaineers, forcing a jump ball. West Virginia retains possession, but the Irish get another jump ball and will take it the other way.

    Kayla McBride makes a layup and the crowd goes wild. Bussie responds with a layup however, and on the next possession is fouled by Devereaux Peters. She makes the layup, but misses the free throw. Bad news for the Irish - Peters has fouled out.

    5:28 pm, Irish 58-57, 3:39 2nd half: Bussie makes one of two free throws for the Mountaineers, before Taylor Palmer hits a jumper from the elbow. Achonwa is called for a foul in the paint, and West Virginia will go to the line. Bussie converts both shots and we're tied at 55.

    Novosel responds with a huge three from the wing and the crowd comes alive. Ayana Dunning hits a long two for West Virginia, before a kick violation brings us to the under-4 timeout.

    During the break, it is announced that $204,682 were raised for breast cancer research in today's Pink Zone game. Great job, Irish fans. 5:21 pm, Irish 55-50, 5:55 2nd half: Caldwell makes both free throws following the timeout, and the crowd is quieted. It's not often the Irish have just a five-point lead this late in the game. Bussie makes two more free throws and Notre Dame's lead is down to three.

    Achonwa makes a nice fake in the paint and drives to the hoop for an easy layup, forcing the Mountaineers to call a timeout.

    5:15 pm, Irish 53-46, 7:56 2nd half: Diggins converts one of two free throws, and Peters makes a layup to push the lead back to seven. Crowd comes alive chanting for a defensive stop and the Irish respond, forcing West Virginia to take a three as the shot clock winds down. Diggins comes up with the board and gets fouled, where she makes both free throws.

    Bussie makes a jumper from the top of the key, before a Notre Dame foul brings us to the media timeout.

    5:08 pm: Almost at the midpoint of the second half, Skylar Diggins leads the Irish with 28 points on 10-for-15 from the field. Novosel has chipped in 11 for Notre Dame, but no other players have contributed much from an offensive standpoint. It's been a sloppy game so far, with the teams combining for a whopping 37 turnovers and 35 personal fouls.

    5:07 pm, Irish 48-44, 10:49 2nd half: Caldwell hits a short jumper for the Mountaineers, and Notre Dame turns the ball over on the ensuing possession. After a couple of turnovers by each team, Diggins is fouled and makes both shots for the Irish.

    After another Mountaineer foul, Diggins makes both free throws, to give Notre Dame an 11-point lead. Novosel's called for a foul and Jessica Harlee goes to the line, where she makes both shots.

    The Irish miss on their possession, but Fraderica Miller draws an offensive foul. Unfortunately, Notre Dame turns the ball over and Harlee makes a layup for West Virginia. Akilah Bethel hits a three and suddenly the lead is down to four.

    4:54 pm, Irish 44-35, 15:13 2nd half Second half underway here at Purcell. Notre Dame strikes first when Skylar Diggins takes it strong to the hoop for a fast break layup. Natalie Novosel picks up a steal for the Irish and is quickly fouled. Ayana Dunning knocks down a long two for West Virginia. The Mountaineers hit a tough three from the wing, and we're tied again.

    Diggins drives to the hoop and makes a layup, but misses the opportunity to convert an and-1. On the next possession however, the Irish outlet it to Diggins who makes another layup and gets fouled again. She misses the free throw, but the Irish get the rebound. Diggins dishes it to Peters who gets fouled, and Notre Dame heads back to the line. The fifth-year senior converts both free throws, and it's a six-point lead - the largest of the game.

    Diggins makes one of two free throws on the next trip, before Kayla McBride hits a tough reverse layup on the assist from Mallory. Just like that, it's a nine-point lead for Notre Dame and West Virginia calls for a timeout.

    4:30 pm: Special halftime for the Pink Zone game - Cathy Richardson joins the Irish Dance Team to sing "Here Come The Irish," the anthem I'm sure you've heard if you've ever visited the bookstore or been on campus during a football weekend.

    Dozens of cancer survivors surround the court holding signs with inspiring words - Journey, Courage, Perseverance, Strength, Faith, etc.

    Afterwards, Haley Scott DeMaria, the former Notre Dame swimmer who was briefly paralyzed following a bus accident in 1992, introduced Tim Scott to sing "With All Your Heart Believe," an uplifting song that was dedicated to the cancer fighters and survivors. Memorable moment at Purcell.

    4:26 pm, Irish 33-30, Half: Bussie makes the first of two free throws, before the Irish take it the other way. A jump ball is called, but possession goes to the Mountaineers. Diggins comes up with a loose ball drives to the hoop and knocks down a difficult layup over a West Virginia defender. Mallory draws an offensive foul. Peters makes a huge block on the fast break, but the Mountaineers get an easy layup from Jessica Harlee.

    Diggins drive to the hoop for the Irish. She's fouled and hits the first of two free throws. Peters comes down with the board and Notre Dame gets a fresh shot clock, before Coach McGraw calls a timeout. Neither team can score in the final 34.9 seconds of the half, and we go to the break with a close game. Notre Dame leads, 33-30.

    4:15 pm, Irish 30-27, 3:06 1st half: After the timeout, another foul is called on the Irish, and Asya Bussie hits both free throws for West Virginia. Caldwell hits a runner and the Mountaineers regain a one-point lead. After turnovers by both teams, Novosel knocks down a nice jumper from inside the circle and Notre Dame is back in front. Bussie responds with a layup, before Diggins hits a mid-range shot. It's been back and forth all afternoon so far.

    Dunning makes a pair of free throws for West Virginia, before Novosel hits another tough layup off the glass. On the next Irish possession, Diggins hits a shot from just inside the arc. A Notre Dame foul takes us to the final media timeout of the half.

    4:06 pm, Irish 22-19, 7:16 1st half: At the 10:36 mark of the first half, both teams reached the one-and-one with seven team fouls apiece. Brooke Hampton hits both free throws to put West Virginia back in front, but the Mountaineers are quickly called for a foul as Diggins drives to the hoop. The Irish point guard hits both shots and Notre Dame regains the lead.

    Taylor Palmer knocks down a three, but Diggins responds with another layup. The Irish push the ball in transition, and Mallory hits a three from the corner. After a West Virginia miss, Peters comes down with the board and finds Novosel who hits a tough runner from the low block. Notre Dame matches its largest lead and West Virginia calls a timeout. That will get the crowd going!

    After the timeout, Asya Bussie scores a layup for the Mountaineers, before an offensive foul on Notre Dame takes us to the media timeout.

    3:53 pm, Irish 13-12, 11:53 1st half: The Irish tie the game on a great dish from Natalie Achonwa to Diggins, and the Mountaineers call a 30-second timeout. Christal Caldwell knocks down consecutive mid-range jumpers to push the West Virginia lead back to four. On the next Irish possession, it's Diggins to Achonwa for an easy layup. After the Mountaineers convert one of two free throws, Diggins makes a nice move to the hoop for the layup.

    Diggins gets a steal and takes it the other way for a fast break layup. West Virginia's whistled for a loose ball foul, and that will take us to the under-12 media timeout.

    3:42 pm, Mountaineers 7-5, 15:56 1st half: Wild shot by West Virginia, but Dunning gets the board and puts it back up. The Mountaineers convert a pair of free throws to take a four-point lead. Mallory makes a nice move to the hoop for the Irish, but the shot's no good.

    Peters is called for a blocking foul, but the officials meet and determine it should have been a charge. McBride finds Novosel for a nice layup and the Irish cut the deficit to two. Another foul is called and that will take us to the first media timeout.

    At the first break, the Mountaineers have been called for five fouls, while the Irish have been whistled for three. Physical game so far.

    3:32 pm: The Mountaineers control the tip and we're underway. West Virginia is wearing blue and yellow uniforms with pink trim to go along with their pink Nike shoes and pink mid-calf socks. The Irish are wearing their regular home white uniforms, but with pink trim on the shorts and jersey.

    A three-pointer by Ayana Dunning, and the Mountaineers have struck first. Notre Dame responds with a three of its own, courtesy of Natalie Novosel.

    3:27 pm: The Band of the Fighting Irish performs the Star Spangled Banner and the starting lineups are introduced. Almost ready to go...

    Starting for Notre Dame today are Natalie Novosel, Kayla McBride, Devereaux Peters, Brittany Mallory and Skylar Diggins.

    3:22 pm: Head coach Muffet McGraw and her staff have taken the floor and we're almost ready to go. Now playing on the video board, one of the best sports intros I've seen for any team. Enjoy it here.

    3:16 pm: Unique to the Fighting Irish women's basketball team, fans typically wear lime green during home games, but for today, it's a sea of pink. Many fans are wearing the pink zone t-shirts that have been for sale throughout the season.

    On the court, many of the Notre Dame players are sporting pink shoes during warmups. The Irish warmup shirts are navy blue with Notre Dame written in pink block letters. Assistant coach Jonathan Tsipis is rocking one of the best outfits of the afternoon - a pink sport coat and tie to go along with his white shirt and dark dress pants.

    3:09 pm: Good afternoon, Irish fans. It's a special day here at Purcell Pavilion for the fourth annual Pink Zone (Play4Kay) game, as the Fighting Irish take part in the national women's basketball initiative to raise funds for breast cancer research.

    For this afternoon's game the second-ranked Irish will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. Though the Mountaineers are unranked, they are 17-6 overall and 7-3 in BIG EAST Conference play.

    Notre Dame has won 21 consecutive games and has not lost since Nov. 20 at Baylor. The Lady Bears are 25-0 and the top-ranked squad in the nation.

    In addition to the action on the court, there will be a lot happening at Purcell during timeouts and at halftime. We'll keep you posted right here on Irish UNDerground with everything going on throughout the afternoon. Remember to tune into ESPNU for the live broadcast of what should be an exciting contest between the Fighting Irish and Mountaineers.

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