ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
NASHVILLE. — Kayla McBride scored 28 points and Jewell Loyd added 16 to lead unbeaten Notre Dame to an 87-61 win over Maryland in the Final Four today.
The Irish (37-0) will play the winner of UConn and Stanford on Tuesday night for the national championship. It’s the third time in four years that Notre Dame has been in the title game and the Irish are looking for their first championship since winning it all in 2001.
Notre Dame played without injured senior Natalie Achonwa, who suffered a torn ACL in the regional final victory over Baylor. Inspired by the loss of the 6-foot-3 Achonwa, the Irish dominated the Terrapins (28-7) on the boards, outrebounding Maryland 50-21.
The Terps rallied from a 22-point deficit in January before losing to Notre Dame by four. There was no comeback this time; the Irish took a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back.
CONNECTICUT 75, STANFORD 56
Breanna Stewart scored 18 points and undefeated Connecticut continued its march toward an unprecedented ninth national championship.
The Huskies (39-0) also did their part in setting up the highly anticipated championship matchup of undefeated teams.
They will play Notre Dame, an 87-61 winner over Maryland, on Tuesday night in the title game. It will be the first women’s national title game between unbeaten teams.
The Huskies also won their 45th straight game after overcoming another sluggish start. Stewart, the Associated Press player of the year, missed her first four shots and UConn was up just 28-24 at halftime.
But Connecticut settled down and outscored the Cardinal 47-32 in the second half.
Stanford (33-4) lost its third national semifinal since reaching the 2010 championship against UConn, which the Huskies also won. All-American Chiney Ogwumike finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.