After five months of breakthrough performances from the likes of Diamond DeShields, Odyssey Sims falling eight points shy of Jackie Stiles’ single-season scoring record, and –especially at Arizona State – plenty of fantastic finishes, the two teams no one has been able to tame all year will tipoff with the national title on the line.
This most rare of sporting events will take place at 5:30 p.m. PT tonight in Nashville on ESPN.
A win for Connecticut will be the ninth for Geno Auriemma, and he would pass Pat Summitt for the most all-time, and it would be his fifth perfect season. A victory for Muffet McGraw will complement her 2001 title and erase her failures in the previous three Final Fours.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Notre Dame with Skylar Diggins graduating and a move to the ACC, but even after losing Natalie Achonwa to a torn ACL, the Irish showed no signs of slowing down in its 26-point national semifinal win over Maryland - the team that just upset Tennessee and Louisville behind projected-top five pick Alyssa Thomas.
Both teams have been whirling past opponents like Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes, UConn by a 35-point margin per game and Notre Dame by 26. But through all of the arguments of the disparity in the women’s game as opposed to the men’s game, this is the matchup everyone has been waiting for and wanting to see. The Irish has won seven of 10 against the Huskies, who are also trying to replicate its 2004 men’s and women’s sweep.
After the game, it may seem like just another undefeated season in women’s basketball, which has happened three of the past five years, but there was a time when John Wooden’s UCLA teams won 10 titles in 12 years, four of them undefeated. There will be a day when a women’s team going the distance without a loss will be a once-in-a-generation feat – and people will look back on tonight. So, sit back and enjoy two of the greatest teams ever play for the championship.