Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 4/2/13
NORFOLK, Va. -- Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame are headed back to the Final Four for another rematch with Connecticut. Diggins shook off early foul trouble to score 24 points and Notre Dame rallied to beat Duke 87-76 on Tuesday night to earn its third consecutive trip to the Final Four. The Irish have lost in the past two national championship games. "I want to win a championship for coach (Muffet) McGraw bad," Diggins said. "When you have a coach who believes in you so much I'd do anything for her." Kayla McBride added 17 points while Jewell Loyd and Natalie Achonwa had 17 each as the Fighting Irish (35-1) won their school-record 30th consecutive game, earning a fourth meeting with UConn. It's the third straight meeting between the two Big East rivals in the Final Four. The Irish won both those and have dominated the series lately winning seven of the past eight meetings. Notre Dame swept UConn all three meetings with UConn this season in thrilling fashion winning in overtime and by 1 and 2 points. The Irish had to rally past Duke to get there. Trailing by six at the half, Notre Dame took control with a 15-2 run early in the second half to take a 50-42 lead. The Blue Devils lost in the regional finals for the fourth straight year, failing once again to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2006. Diggins, hampered by foul trouble in the first half, started the run with her fourth 3-pointer of the game and followed quickly with a no-look feed to Natalie Achonwa, who also grabbed 13 rebounds, for a layup that had drew an impressed roar from the crowd at Old Dominion's Constant Center. Diggins added a steal and a layup, and McBride finished the burst with another 3-pointer. The Fighting Irish extended their lead to 60-49 with 9:57 to play, and Duke trailed by as many as 16 before closing the gap only slightly in the desperate final minutes. The Blue Devils hurt their cause with 21 turnovers. "I think they were outworking us," said Diggins, who earned AP All-America honors for the second straight season earlier on Tuesday. "I've never seen that from my team. They were getting hustle scrap points. I couldn't wait to get in that locker room. We had to light a fire. We set the tone on defense and got some stops and played our game." In the first half, the game developed better than Duke (33-3) could have hoped. Diggins was whistled for two fouls in the first 4:10 and went to the bench, and after McBride hit a pair of jumpers, the Fighting Irish looked out of sorts. They extended their lead to 17-13 on a 3-pointer by Kaila Turner and two free throws by Ariel Braker, then went more than seven minutes without a point. A free throw by Elizabeth Williams for Duke ignited a 13-0 run that took more than six of those minutes. Tricia Liston scored eight in the burst and Chloe Wells finished it with a 12-foot jumper. Diggins returned with about 8 minutes to go in the half and while playing passively on defense to avoid a third foul, hit three 3-pointers in a span of 2:16, cutting a nine-point deficit to 32-31 with 1:07 left. A basket by Williams and Wells' 3 just before the half gave Duke a 37-31 advantage. The weekend was a homecoming for Williams, a Virginia Beach native, but Duke's scoring leader missed several shots from in close. She finished 3 for 9 and scored 8 points, roughly half her average. Liston led Duke with 19 points while Peters added 15.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Thunder interested in trading for Carmelo Anthony

Mayweather says he will stand ‘toe to toe’ with McGregor

Raiders to limit Marshawn Lynch's workload in 2017?

Kobe Bryant responds to if he is influencing Kyrie Irving

Andy Reid chastises Tamba Hali for social media outburst

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Every 2009-2016 NBA MVP will now play for Warriors or Cavaliers

Mike Tyson weighs in on Conor McGregor’s chances of beating Floyd Mayweather

Report: Robert Griffin III scheduled to work out with Chargers

Report: Derrick Rose will sign with Cavs

Notes on the prospects from 2017 NBA Summer League

Mississippi State fan uncovered infamous Freeze phone call

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker