Senior guard/tri-captain Natalie Novosel became the fourth player in BIG EAST Championship history to go 4-for-4 or better from the three-point line, making all four of her long-distance tries in Monday's BIG EAST semifinal win over No. 25 West Virginia.
BIG EAST Conference Championship -- Final
#3/3 [#1 seed] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (30-2 / 15-1 BIG EAST) vs. #4/4 [#3 seed] Connecticut Huskies (28-4 / 13-3 BIG EAST)
DATE: March 6, 2012 TIME: 7 p.m. ET AT: Hartford, Conn. - XL Center (16,294) SERIES: UCONN leads 28-7 1ST MTG: UCONN 87-64 (1/18/96) LAST MTG: ND 72-59 (2/27/12) TV: ESPN / WatchESPN(live) (Beth Mowins, p-b-p / Rebecca Lobo, color / Allison Williams, sideline) RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) / UND.com(live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p) LIVE STATS:UND.com / bigeast.org TWITTER:@ndwbbsid/@UND_com
Notre Dame is seeking its first conference tournament championship since 1994, when it won the last of five Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now Horizon League) postseason crowns.
The Fighting Irish are facing their 13th ranked opponent of the season (11-1 record; 7-1 away from home), and their seventh top-10 foe (5-1 record; 2-1 away from home).
#3 Fighting Irish To Meet #4 Connecticut In BIG EAST Title Game
For the sixth time, No. 3 Notre Dame will take the court in search of BIG EAST Championship hardware, and for the sixth time, No. 4 Connecticut will provide the opposition, as the Fighting Irish and Huskies square off for the third time this season (and second in eight days) in the BIG EAST Championship title game at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday from the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. The game will be televised to a national cable audience by ESPN, and it also can be viewed live on-line through WatchESPN (formerly known as ESPN3).
Notre Dame (30-2) will be making its second consecutive appearance in the conference final after a wire-to-wire 73-45 victory over No. 25 West Virginia on Monday night at the XL Center. The Fighting Irish jumped out to a 20-4 lead and never looked back while eliminating the one BIG EAST team that it lost to during the regular season.
Senior guard/tri-captain Natalie Novosel led four Notre Dame players in double figures with 18 points and became the fourth player in tournament history to go 4-for-4 from the three-point line. Sophomore guard Kayla McBride added 15 points, while fifth-year seniors/tri-captains Devereaux Peters (11 points) and Brittany Mallory (10 points) rounded out the Fighting Irish double-digit quartet.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in this week's Associated Press poll and was ranked No. 3 in last week's ESPN/USA Today poll (new poll to be released Tuesday afternoon).
Connecticut is ranked No. 4 in this week's Associated Press poll and was ranked No. 4 in last week's ESPN/USA Today poll.
The Notre Dame-Connecticut Series
Notre Dame and Connecticut will be playing for the 36th time on Tuesday night, with the Huskies holding a 28-7 edge in the all-time series, including a 17-2 advantage in the state of Connecticut (7-1 in Hartford). The teams also will be squaring off for the third time this season, and the 10th time in the past three years, with the Huskies winning the first six and the Fighting Irish taking the past three.
Tuesday will represent the sixth time Notre Dame and Connecticut have played with the BIG EAST Championship trophy on the line. The Huskies have won each of the five prior matchups in the conference title game -- 1996 (71-54), 1997 (86-77), 1999 (96-75), 2001 (78-76) and 2011 (73-64).
The Last Time Notre Dame and Connecticut Met
There are few things missing from Muffet McGraw's impressive resume as coach of Notre Dame.
Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel filled one of the holes by guiding the third-ranked Fighting Irish to their first outright BIG EAST championship with a 72-59 victory over No. 4 Connecticut on Feb. 27, 2012, at the XL Center in Hartford.
Novosel scored 21 points, and Diggins added 20 for the Fighting Irish.
With the game tied at 51, Notre Dame went on an 11-2 run with Diggins scoring the first eight points. She hit two layups on the fast break then connected on a deep three-pointer. Dolson's layup broke up the junior guard's spurt. A free throw by Diggins and a three-pointer by Brittany Mallory made it 62-53 with 9:16 left.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who was scoreless in the first half, had five quick points to get UConn within four. That's as close as the Huskies could get. Devereaux Peters followed up a free throw with a block on the other end that led to an easy lay-in by Diggins. Mallory hit another three-pointer with just under five minutes left that made it 69-59.
A three-pointer with 3:11 left by Novosel made it a 13-point game and capped the scoring, handing UConn its first double-digit home loss since Dec. 5, 2005, against North Carolina.
Tiffany Hayes scored 22 points and Stefanie Dolson added 18 for UConn, which lost consecutive games at home for the first time in 19 years.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Connecticut Met In The BIG EAST Championship
Maya Moore, who never lost in the conference tournament, scored 22 points to help No. 1 Connecticut beat 10th-ranked Notre Dame, 73-64 on March 8, 2011, at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., for the Huskies' fourth straight BIG EAST championship.
Even though she earned her second outstanding player award of the BIG EAST tournament, Moore would have cast her vote for Stefanie Dolson, who played all 40 minutes and matched her career high with 24 points that she set two days earlier in the tournament quarterfinals.
Leading 41-40 early in the second half, UConn went on an 11-0 run to break open a close game. Moore had three points and two assists during the burst. She also had a huge block on Diggins' drive that led to an easy layup on the other end by Bria Hartley.
The senior followed that with a three-pointer from the corner with 12:44 left to cap the spurt and tie her with Penn State great Kelly Mazzante for ninth place on the career NCAA scoring list with 2,919 points.
Notre Dame didn't go away, going on a 15-6 spurt to close to 58-55 with 5:07 left. Novosel, who had left the game at the end of UConn's spurt, returned a few minutes later and scored the final seven points of the Fighting Irish burst.
Moore wouldn't let Notre Dame get any closer, hitting a jumper from the corner to move past Mazzante. Dolson followed with a layup to restore the seven-point lead. The Fighting Irish couldn't get within five the rest of the game.
Other Notre Dame-Connecticut Series Tidbits
Notre Dame and Connecticut have met in the postseason 11 times previously. The Huskies have won all nine prior matchups in the BIG EAST Championship, including five in the tournament title game. However, the Fighting Irish have won both times they faced Connecticut at the NCAA Women's Final Four, earning victories in the 2001 and 2011 national semifinals.
This marks the third consecutive season in which Notre Dame and Connecticut have played at least three times. In 2009-10, the Huskies won all three matchups (twice in the regular season, as well as the BIG EAST Championship semifinals), and in 2010-11, Connecticut took those same three games before the Fighting Irish won the last meeting in the NCAA Women's Final Four national semifinals. This year, Notre Dame won both regular season contests, becoming the first BIG EAST school to sweep a regular-season series from Connecticut since Rutgers in 2005-06, and the first league opponent to win three in a row against the Huskies since Miami (Fla.) took five consecutive series games against Connecticut from 1992-93 (Tennessee and North Carolina were the last opponents of any kind to earn three consecutive series wins over the Huskies, both winning their third in a row during the 2006-07 season).
All seven of Notre Dame's wins in the series have come since the start of the 2000-01 season.
With seven victories over the Huskies since 2000-01, Notre Dame is the only team in the nation to defeat Connecticut at least seven times in the past 12 seasons. Rutgers has five wins over the Huskies during that span, while Tennessee (4), North Carolina (3) and Stanford (3) are the only other schools with at least three victories against Connecticut since the start of the new century.
This will mark the 13th time (and sixth consecutive series game) that both teams have been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll at tipoff, with the Fighting Irish earning six of their seven series wins to date in these top-10 match ups.
Tuesday's game also will be the 25th time in the 36-game series that both teams will be ranked at tipoff. At least one team has been ranked in every game of the series.
Notre Dame and Connecticut are part of an elite group of 14 schools who have won NCAA national championships since the NCAA began sponsoring the Division I women's basketball tournament in 1982. The seven-time champion Huskies are one of four former NCAA champions the Fighting Irish have faced this season (following 2005 titleist Baylor, 1983 & 1984 winner USC and 1999 champion Purdue), with Notre Dame going 35-85 (.292) all-time against other former or current national champions. Among that group, the Fighting Irish have a series record of .500 or better against USC (8-2), North Carolina (2-1) and Texas (1-1).
Connecticut is one of three BIG EAST Conference opponents to hold a series edge over Notre Dame, leading the Fighting Irish, 28-7. The only other league foes with winning records vs. Notre Dame are Rutgers (16-12) and DePaul (19-18; ND leads 9-5 since Blue Demons joined BIG EAST in 2005-06).
Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Connecticut has lost by 15-plus points seven times, with nearly half (three) of those losses coming to Notre Dame (twice in 2000-01, once in 2003-04).
Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins and Connecticut junior guard Kelly Faris finished 1-2 in the 2009 Indiana Miss Basketball voting and were teammates on the 2009 Indiana All-Star Team that swept a two-game series from its Kentucky counterpart.
Diggins also was a teammate of Connecticut redshirt junior guard Caroline Doty and senior guard Tiffany Hayes on the White Team at the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs. The trio helped the White squad to a 5-0 record and the gold medal that weekend.
Notre Dame freshman forward Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/Des Moines East) and Connecticut freshman center Kiah Stokes (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar) were unquestionably the top two players in the state of Iowa last year. Stokes was named the state's Player of the Year, while Wright was the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament last spring while leading her Des Moines East side to a perfect 26-0 record and the Class 4A state title (the first by the school since 1979).
Two of Tuesday's assistant coaches have seen the Notre Dame-Connecticut rivalry from the perspective of both a coach and a player. Fifth-year Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey and fourth-year UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph saw their teams meet 14 times during their respective five-year careers from 1996-2001 (both sat out a season with knee injuries -- Ivey in 1996-97, Ralph in 1997-98), with Connecticut winning 12 times before Ivey led Notre Dame to two victories in three tries during her final season (2000-01).
The Brains Of The Operation
The two head coaches -- Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma -- have more than a few connections. Both are from the Philadephia metro area (McGraw from West Chester, Auriemma from Norristown), both cut their coaching teeth at Saint Joseph's under current Ohio State head coach Jim Foster (McGraw replaced Auriemma on Foster's staff in 1980 when Auriemma left to take an assistant position at Virginia), and both are members of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, with McGraw having been inducted last June.
McGraw also is the only coach in the nation with seven wins against Auriemma since the start of the 2000-01 season. What's more, McGraw is one of just six coaches all-time (four that are active) that have seven or more victories against Auriemma on their career resumes -- the others are Villanova's Harry Perretta (11), former Providence coach Bob Foley (10), Tennessee's Pat Summitt (9), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (8) and former St. John's coach Joe Mullaney, Jr. (7).
Fighting Irish In The BIG EAST Championship
Notre Dame is wrapping up in its 17th BIG EAST Championship appearance this week, having compiled a 21-16 (.568) record at the conference tournament. Counting Tuesday's appearance, the Fighting Irish now have advanced to the title game six times (1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2011, 2012). Ironically, this will be the fifth of Notre Dame's six BIG EAST finals appearances to come when the tournament was held in the state of Connecticut (1996, 1997 and 2001 on the UConn campus at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs; 2011 and 2012 at the XL Center in Hartford).
Prior to joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96, Notre Dame was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now known as the Horizon League). During its seven-year affiliation with that conference, the Fighting Irish won the MCC Tournament five times, with Notre Dame's most recent conference tourney title (of any kind) coming in 1994, following a 72-63 championship game win over Xavier at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Other BIG EAST Championship Tidbits
Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed for the second time in 17 tournament appearances, but the first since 2001. That year, the Fighting Irish defeated both Georgetown (89-33) and Virginia Tech (67-49) to reach the title game before losing to second-seeded (and host) Connecticut, 78-76 on a last-second jumper by Sue Bird.
The Fighting Irish are 15-6 (.714) all-time at the BIG EAST Championship when playing as the higher seed.
Conversely, Notre Dame is 6-10 (.375) as the lower tournament seed, with its most recent "underdog" victory coming in the semifinals of last year's Championship (71-67 over second-seeded DePaul).
Beginning with that classic 2001 BIG EAST title game against Connecticut, 15 of the past 21 Fighting Irish games in the conference tournament have been decided by 11 points or fewer, including eight by single digits. All three of last year's games had margins of 11 points or fewer, the last two decided by single digits.
All told, more than half (20) of Notre Dame's 37 career games in the BIG EAST Championship have featured margins of 11 points or fewer, with the Fighting Irish going 9-11 (.450) in those contests.
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Notre Dame has played 33 times when it has had a short one-day break (or less) between games, including games on consecutive days this year at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas (Nov. 25-26 vs. USC and No. 7/6 Duke) and earlier this week at the BIG EAST Championship (March 4-5 vs. No. RV/23 DePaul and No. 25/RV West Virginia).
When faced with such a tight turnaround, the Fighting Irish have risen to the occasion in recent seasons, going 26-7 (.788) on the back half of these two-game (or more) blitzes during the past four years, including a 10-0 record this season (wins over Indiana State, No. 7/6 Duke, Creighton, UCF, Mercer, No. 7/9 Tennessee, Syracuse, Providence, No. 4 Connecticut and No. 25/RV West Virginia).
With Monday's 73-45 win over No. 25 West Virginia in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals, Notre Dame reached the 30-win mark for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in program history. Prior to this year, the Fighting Irish had never had back-to-back 30-win seasons, with its three previous campaigns of at least 30 victories coming in 1996-97 (31-7), 2000-01 (34-2) and 2010-11 (31-8).
Notre Dame has a 750-312 (.706) record in 35 seasons of varsity competition, starting with its roots as an AIAW Division III independent program in 1977-78. With Monday's victory over West Virginia, the Fighting Irish became the 25th Division I program to reach the 750-win mark, and the second to do so this season -- Virginia recorded its 750th all-time victory on Dec. 28 with an 84-41 conquest of Wagner.
Since its Nov. 20 loss at No. 1 Baylor, Notre Dame has won its last 12 games against ranked opponents (including five against top-10 teams), earning nine of those victories by double digits (four by 25 points or more).
The major driving force in this turnaround has been the play of the Fighting Irish defense, which has held those last 12 Top 25 opponents to just 55.6 points per night, including nine games when the opposition scored 60 points or fewer.
Notre Dame also has held its ranked foes to a .356 field goal percentage (.245 from the three-point line), and posted a +5.8 rebounding margin after being outrebounded by 15 at Baylor.
Improvement Continues On The Glass
After averaging 37.2 rebounds in its first six games (and holding the upper hand in that category only three times, with an aggregate minus-2 rebounding margin), Notre Dame has featured a marked improvement on the boards since its return from the Bahamas after the Thanksgiving weekend.
In their last 26 games, the Fighting Irish are averaging 42.0 rebounds a night, with an average rebounding margin of +12.0 rpg., winning or finishing even in the rebounding battle all but three times in that span (41-33 against West Virginia on Feb. 12; 35-28 at No. 16 Louisville on Feb. 20; 37-33 vs. No. 25 West Virginia on March 5). Furthermore, Notre Dame has grabbed at least 40 rebounds 20 times in the past 26 games after not reaching that mark once in its first six contests.
According to Monday's NCAA statistics report, Notre Dame ranks ninth in the country in rebounding margin (now +9.8 rpg.) this year.
Windy City Warrior
Fifth-year senior forward Devereaux Peters is in the midst of one of the best stretches of her college career, averaging 13.5 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game with a .537 field goal percentage (65-of-121) and seven double-doubles in her last 12 outings.
Here's a look at some of the rare feats Peters (the two-time BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-BIG EAST selection) has been accomplished in the past six weeks:
Peters chalked up consecutive double-doubles against No. 7/9 Tennessee (16 points, 16 rebounds), at St. John's (18 points, 15 rebounds), and at No. 13/14 Rutgers (10 points, then-career-high 17 rebounds) while adding a career high-tying six assists vs. UT and a season-best five blocks at St. John's.
Peters was the first Notre Dame player with three consecutive 15-rebound games since Feb. 16-24, 1979, when Jane Politiski had four consecutive games with at least 15 rebounds during the program's AIAW Division III era (21 at Marion, 15 vs. Valparaiso, 18 vs. Saint Mary's-Ind., 16 vs. St. Joseph's-Ind.).
Peters became the first Fighting Irish player with three consecutive double-doubles since the 2004 NCAA Championship, when Jacqueline Batteast did so against Missouri State (17p/11r), Middle Tennessee (22p/12r) and No. 5/7 Penn State (22p/12r) from March 21-27, 2004.
Peters then added a season-high 21 points and 16 rebounds on Feb. 7 in a win at Syracuse, a (then) career high-tying 17 rebounds and six blocks on Feb. 12 against West Virginia, 17 points and a new career-high 18 rebounds on Feb. 25 against USF, 15 rebounds on Feb. 27 at No. 4 Connecticut and 16 points, 12 rebounds and a career high-tying six blocks on Sunday in the BIG EAST quarterfinals vs. No. RV/23 DePaul, giving her seven 15-rebound games and four 15-point/15-rebound outings in this current 12-game span.
Peters has tied the school record with seven 15-rebound games in a single season, and she is the first to do so in Notre Dame's Division I era. Jane Politiski is the only other player in this elite club -- she had seven 15-rebound games during the program's inaugural season of 1977-78, when the Fighting Irish were competing at the AIAW Division III level.
Peters also has tied the school record with four games of 15 points and 15 rebounds in a single season, becoming the first Fighting Irish player to manage that feat since 1996-97, when Katryna Gaither had four such outings, matching the marks first set by Jane Politiski (1977-78) and Shari Matvey (1979-80).
Game #32 Recap: West Virginia (BIG EAST Championship Semifinal) Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame are one victory away from crossing another item off this season's to-do list.
Natalie Novosel scored 18 points and Kayla McBride added 15 to help third-ranked Notre Dame beat No. 25 West Virginia 73-45 on Monday night in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
Notre Dame has played in the BIG EAST title game five times and come up short each trip, losing to UConn each time. The Fighting Irish haven't had any problems with the Huskies lately, winning the last three meetings -- including beating UConn in Hartford last Monday night to earn its first outright BIG EAST regular season title.
"We're in a position right where we want to be," Novosel said. "Going into (Tuesday) night's game, we want to go in and win that for Coach."
"It's great for our school, particular in the season we've been having," Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins said. "We're excited for the opportunity to compete for the BIG EAST championship. How much it would mean for us, our program, and Coach McGraw."
Notre Dame (30-2) got a measure of revenge on the Mountaineers (23-9), who ended the Fighting Irish's 21-game winning streak on Feb. 12 with 65-63 win at Purcell Pavilion. It was Notre Dame's only BIG EAST loss.
"We're happy to be able to avenge our loss," McGraw said. "We played well right from the start and got out of the gate offensively, and shot the ball extremely well. We did a great job on their guards and had good balance (Monday), which we didn't have last time."
On Monday night, the Fighting Irish scored the first seven points and had built a 20-4 lead 8 1/2 minutes in as five different players scored. Devereaux Peters, who had four points and missed seven of her eight shots in the loss, had seven by the half as Notre Dame led 37-19.
"I think we came out here with a little fire in us," Novosel said. "We were excited when we saw we were playing West Virginia. We started out really well tonight."
West Virginia couldn't get within 16 in the second half, closing to 51-35 midway through the period, but Notre Dame scored 18 of the next 22 points to end any hope of a comeback.
"We knew they were going to come out with a chip on their shoulder," Ayana Dunning said. "Coach (Mike Carey) said the first eight minutes they'd try to get a lead on us and we didn't come out ready to play. We got ourselves down so much in the beginning of the game we were trying to fight back the entire time."
This was West Virginia's final game in the BIG EAST before leaving for the Big 12 next season.
The Mountaineers advanced to the semis with a 39-32 win over then-No. 12 Georgetown on Sunday. That was the lowest scoring game in the history of the BIG EAST tournament, easily surpassing the previous record of 78 set in 2005 by Boston College and Villanova.
Buoyed by that victory, West Virginia entered the Top 25 for the first time this season.
Asya Bussie scored 15 points and Dunning added 12 to lead the Mountaineers. The pair was 12 for 16, but got little help from the rest of the team, which missed 31 of its 38 shots.
Beyond The Box Score -- West Virginia
Notre Dame earns its 30th win of the season, its second consecutive 30-win campaign and the fourth in school history (also 31-7 in 1996-97, 34-2 in 2000-01 and 31-8 in 2010-11).
This marks the first time the Fighting Irish have won 30 games prior to the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame also posted the 750th win in program history (now 750-312, .706), becoming the 25th NCAA Division I program to reach that milestone, and second this season following Virginia's landmark win on Dec. 28 against Wagner.
The Fighting Irish will play in the BIG EAST Championship title game for the sixth time, and the second consecutive season, having also made the tournament final in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2011 -- and like the prior five matchups, Tuesday's championship game opponent will be Connecticut (all but the 1999 title game have or were played in the state of Connecticut, and the Huskies won all five contests, three by single digits, including last year's 73-64 decision).
The 1996 and 1997 finals appearances were the only other time the Fighting Irish have played in back-to-back BIG EAST Championship title games.
Notre Dame moves to 6-4 (.600) all-time in BIG EAST Championship semifinals, and 21-16 (.568) overall in the conference tournament, having won six of their last eight games in the event.
The Fighting Irish are 15-6 (.714) all-time as the higher seed in BIG EAST Championship play.
Monday's 45 points allowed was Notre Dame's best defensive effort in a BIG EAST tournament game since the 2009 second round, when the Fighting Irish defeated St. John's, 62-45 -- it's also the second-fewest points Notre Dame has ever allowed in the BIG EAST semifinal round, exceeded only by an 83-43 win over Georgetown on March 3, 1997, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn.
The 28-point margin of victory is the largest for the Fighting Irish in the conference tournament since the 2010 second round (89-52 over Louisville), and second-largest in the semifinal round (topped only by that aforementioned 1997 win over Georgetown).
Notre Dame rises to 9-8 (.529) in BIG EAST Championship action at the XL Center since the tournament moved to Hartford in 2004, and moves to 10-12 (.455) all-time in the building formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center.
Notre Dame is 12-1 this season against ranked opponents (West Virginia moved into the AP poll at No. 25 on Monday afternoon), lengthening its school record for Top 25 wins in a season and including an 8-1 record away from home against ranked teams.
Nine of the 12 Fighting Irish wins against the Top 25 have come by double digits, with Monday's win over West Virginia the fourth by at least 25 points.
Notre Dame extended its school record by holding its 17th opponent of the season to 50 points or fewer.
Of the 30 Fighting Irish wins this season, 20 have come by at least 20 points, with 26 seeing the opponent scoring 61 points or fewer.
For the second consecutive tournament game, and the 16th time this season, Notre Dame had at least four double-figure scorers, raising its record in the past three years to 50-4 (.926) with at least four in double figures.
For the 13th time this season, the Fighting Irish opened up a 20-point lead inside the opening 14 minutes of play, winning those 13 games by an average of 49.2 points per game.
Notre Dame jumps to 19-3 all-time against West Virginia, including a 2-0 mark in the BIG EAST Championship (the Fighting Irish also defeated the Mountaineers, 70-59 in the 2005 quarterfinals).
Novosel went a career-high 4-for-4 from the three-point line, becoming the fourth player in BIG EAST Championship history to go 4-for-4 or better from distance in a tournament game, and the first since March 8, 2009, when Louisville's Becky Burke had a similar effort against Rutgers in the quarterfinals (the record is 5-for-5 by Latasha Thompson of St. John's against Pittsburgh on March 4, 2000).
Novosel also set a Notre Dame record for best three-point percentage in a BIG EAST tournament game, one made triple better than the efforts by current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey (vs. Villanova in quarterfinals on Feb. 28, 1999) and Alicia Ratay (at Connecticut in title game on March 6, 2001).
Novosel jumped to 11th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,466 points, passing Sandy Botham (1,460 from 1984-88).
With Monday's No. 3 ranking in the Associated Press poll, Notre Dame tied a school record for consecutive top-five appearances in the AP poll, having also spent 18 weeks in a row in the AP Top 5 to end the 2000-01 season (final poll was taken prior to NCAA Championship).
-- ND --
#3 Irish To Meet #4 Connecticut In BIG EAST Title GameNotre Dame and Connecticut will play for the third time this season, and second in eight days (7 p.m. ET on ESPN; live audio at UND.com).