NCAA Final Four
UCONN vs. NOTRE DAME
Time: 9 p.m.
Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, La.
TV: ESPN (Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe)
Radio: WTIC-AM 1080, WILI-AM 1400 (Bob Joyce and Debbie Fisk)
Series history: UConn, 29-11
Last meeting: Notre Dame, 61-59, XL Center, March 12, 2013
Streaks: Notre Dame W30; UConn W4
5 CAROLINE DOTY, G, 5-10, Sr., 3.4 – On the fifth Final Four team of her career
30 BREANNA STEWART, F, 6-4, Fr, 13.1 – Most Outstanding Player of the Bridgeport Regional
14 BRIA HARTLEY, G, 5-7, Jr., 9.0 – Has struggled all season with a ankle injury suffered over the summer
31 STEFANIE DOLSON, C, 6-5, Jr., 13.8 – Dealing with a stress fracture and plantar fasciitis.
34 KELLY FARIS, G, 5-11, Sr., 10.1 – Irrepressible guard playing in her fourth Final Four.
4 MORIAH JEFFERSON, G, 5-7, Fr., – 4.8 – Has emerged in NCAA Tournament as critical component on both ends
23 KALEENA MOSQUEDA-LEWIS, F, 6-0, So., 17.7 – UConn’s all-time single-season leader in three-pointers (112)
3 MORGAN TUCK, F, 6-2, Fr., 6.5 – Like Jefferson, beginning to play critical role; has 13 three-pointers
NOTRE DAME (35-1)
4 SKYLAR DIGGINS, G, 5-9, Sr., 17.3 – First team All-American; Notre Dame’s all-time scoring leader
23 KAYLA McBRIDE, G, 5-11, Jr., 15.9 – UConn killer, but is shooting just 29.5 percent from three this season.
11 NATALIE ACHONWA, F, 6-3, Jr., 13.9 – Played for Canadian Olympic team; leading rebounder (9.6), shooting 52.3 from field
32 JEWELL LOYD, G, 5-10, Fr., 12.5 – USBWA Freshman of the Year; leads team from three (41.7 percent)
44 ARIEL BRAKER, F, 6-1, Jr., 5.3 – 43 blocked shots; 59.6 field goal percentage
34 MARKISHA WRIGHT, F, 6-2, So., 4.3 – Has made one start, averaging 15. 1 minutes
22 MADISON CABLE, G, 5-11, So., 4.0 – Shoots 36.6 percent from three, but just 71.0 percent from foul line.
WHAT TO WATCH
Numbers don’t lie
This will be the 12th game between the teams over the last three years – and the end, for now, of the game’s hottest rivalry. Since the start of the 2008-09 season, the Huskies have lost just 11 of 191 games – seven to Notre Dame
It’s clear that the play of the guards will have a big impact in this game. Diggins, McBride and Loyd have dominated play in the first three meetings. Now it’s up to Faris, Hartley and Jefferson, the new start, to neutralize what’s been so lethal against the Huskies this season
Hurts so bad
It’s clear that Dolson is struggling with her mobility and likely would not be asked to play such a big role – or any role – if this wasn’t the post season. Dolson is so important to UConn’s offense, both as a scorer and distributor, that is hard to imagine it operating at top efficiency if she can’t.
Notre Dame was 4-28 against Connecticut before Diggins arrived four seasons ago. Diggins is the only Notre Dame women’s basketball player to score at least 2,000 points and have at least 500 assists and 500 rebounds in her career. She is likely to be the third player taken in the WNBA Draft.
JOHN ALTAVILLA/ email@example.com