Truth is, women’s basketball really needed this. The Big East, or what currently remains of it, certainly needed it during this uncertain time.
What they needed a game to feel good about between national powers, arch-rivals, conference antagonists that pulsed and punched you from start to finish.
They needed excitement, suspense and, yes, a result that went undecided until the final moments.
What they didn’t need was UConn-Stanford. No, not again. The sport needed a credible contest Saturday on CBS, the network of Cronkite, as far from ESPNU in national significance as Pluto is to Earth in miles.
This was show time for women’s basketball. And show time it was.
It turns out there was nothing to worry about. This is what always happens when UConn and Notre Dame have played in the last three years.
UConn’s hold on No. 1 is over. Skylar Diggins scored the last two of her 19 points on the foul line with 49 seconds to play to give the No. 5 Irish a 73-72 win at Gampel Pavilion.
The last gasp was a three-point shot by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with three seconds to play from the right side. It missed and Notre Dame dribbled out the clock.
Kayla McBride led the Irish (12-1, 1-0) with 21 points. Diggins had 19. Stefanie Dolson and Mosqueda-Lewis had 17 for UConn (12-1, 0-1) which just became No. 1 a week ago with a win over Stanford.
Diggins’ free throw with 7:17 to play tied the score at 63 and the game swayed like a branch in the wind down the stretch.