Posted March 27, 2012 on AP on Fox
The Sky's the limit for revenge-minded Notre Dame -- especially with its star guard playing like this. Skylar Diggins had a triple-double and Notre Dame earned its second straight Final Four berth by beating Maryland 80-49 on Tuesday night in the Raleigh Regional final. Diggins did it all for the top-seeded Fighting Irish (34-3). The Big East player of the year and AP All-America selection finished with 22 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and five steals. She kept Notre Dame's four-guard lineup humming and causing the second-seeded Terrapins fits all night. Natalie Achonwa added 18 points while Kayla McBride had 16 and Natalie Novosel finished with 14 for Notre Dame, which built a 46-27 rebounding advantage against low-post-oriented Maryland. A huge run late in the first half essentially ended this one at halftime and propelled them to their fourth Final Four trip and second in a row. All four No. 1 seeds are headed to Denver -- the first time that's happened since 1989 -- so once the Irish arrive in the Rockies, maybe they'll find a close game there for a change. Only one of Notre Dame's four tournament wins was closer than 31 points. A loss in last year's national championship game provided a season's worth of focus and motivation for the Irish, who moved two victories away from the title that eluded them last year. A familiar foe awaits: Connecticut, which beat Notre Dame 63-54 earlier this month in the Big East title game. Notre Dame did beat the Huskies in both meetings in the regular season. Alyssa Thomas scored 17 points and Tianna Hawkins and Alicia DeVaughn added 10 apiece for Maryland (31-5). After rallying from 18 points to beat reigning national champion Texas A&M two days earlier in the regional semifinal, the Terps finally slipped into a deficit they couldn't escape. Notre Dame raced out to a 19-point lead in the first half, wasted no time after halftime pushing it into the 20s and Maryland simply couldn't recover while being denied its fourth Final Four trip and first since its national title in 2006. The location and scenario made for a disturbing parallel for Maryland's seniors who were freshmen in 2009 when they won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title and breezed to the Raleigh Regional semifinal, only to come up short against a determined Big East opponent. Back then, it was Louisville. This time, the Irish broke things open midway through the first half, holding the Terps without a field goal for roughly 5 1/2 minutes during a 26-7 run that pushed their lead well into double figures. Diggins scored seven points during the run while Achonwa had eight, including a pretty layup off a pick-and-roll that put Notre Dame up 38-19 with 2:15 before the break. That burst was marked by the strong guard play usually expected from Notre Dame -- along with some impressive work underneath, where the Irish made all the hustle plays and got to nearly every loose ball and rebound. The rebounding margin was at its widest when the Irish were up 22-9.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Maryland's NCAA run ends against Notre Dame

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Sky's the limit for revenge-minded Notre Dame -- especially with its star guard playing like this. Skylar Diggins had a triple-double and Notre Dame earned its second straight Final Four berth by beating Maryland 80-49 on Tuesday night in the Raleigh Regional final. Diggins did it all for the top-seeded Fighting Irish (34-3). The Big East player of...

Dream Of The Echoes Volume 2: Notre Dame Beats Miami

 FINALLY!!! Dream of the Echoes Volume 2: Notre Dame Beats Miami! Featuring Theo & Eddie J is being released. After receiving and thouroghly enjoying reading the Dream of the Echoes Volume 1: The Four Horsemen Of Notre Dame with my children- I can't wait to get the next installment. The Dream of the Echoes series is dedicated to bringing Notre Dame's greatest football...

Dragicevich to transfer from Irish

Sophomore Alex Dragicevich is transferring from Notre Dame. The 6-foot-7 Dragicevich averaged 6.6 points in 34 games this season. The backup guard shot 39 percent from the field and 34 percent on 3-pointers. He scored in double figures seven times this season, including a career-high 22 points in a victory over Pitt in December. Dragicevich, from Northbrook, Ill., averaged 5.2...

Notre Dame: Year Three Not the Charm for Brian Kelly's Irish

College football fans have long believed that year three is a critical year for a new coach in a program. At Notre Dame, coaches Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz all won National Championships in year three. Year three will be very important for current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, but in my opinion it's not as critical as some may lead you to believe. Now don'...

Dancing in the Ruins: Mack Brown's life lessions, Dayne Crist, Craig James, and more.

 (Dancing in the Ruins is SWRT's look at the Big XII Conference. Or at least what's left of it.) Teach Your Children Well. The NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments provides Texas head football coach Mack Brown with useful lessons for his team. (CoachingSearch.com) I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Texas is still in search...

Maryland-Notre Dame Preview

Lynetta Kizer and her fellow Maryland seniors have followed this path before. They hope it ends in a different place. For the second time in four years, the Terrapins won an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship, claimed a high seed in the NCAA tournament and rolled to the Raleigh Regional finals. No. 2 seed Maryland (31-4) meets top-seeded Notre Dame (33-3) on Tuesday...

Subway Domer's Recruiting Notebook: Corey Robinson Is Irish

In the wonderful world of recruiting, things sometimes move at a snail's pace, while sometimes things move like the Millenium Falcon- when it's working right. It's official: #NotreDame has landed commitment No. 9 in San Antonio Christian wide receiver Corey Robinson.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) March 28, 2012 And if seems like it was only yesterday...

McGlinchey just latest missed opportunity for Spaz's recruiting

BC target and Matt Ryan's cousin Mike McGlinchey committed to Notre Dame. In the big scheme of things, it is disappointing news but not enough to write off the whole recruiting class. The bigger problem is that none of the current recruits really matter to Spaz. When a Coach is not wrapped up in recruiting, recruits feel it. Spaz is days away from his 65th Birthday. The guys...

Kinlaw Goes In-Depth on Notre Dame Decision

Absegami High (Absecon, N.J.) athlete Rashad Kinlaw spent the weekend at Notre Dame, and by the time he returned home he was thinking he wanted to spend a lot more time in South Bend, Ind. After talking about it with his mother, Kinlaw made the call and committed to the Irish. He explained his decision to Scout.com

Corey Robinson Commits to Notre Dame

After visiting Notre Dame this weekend, Corey Robinson decided that was exactly where he wanted to spend his college career.

Khoury Visits Notre Dame

Traverse City St. Francis (Mich.) sophomore DT Jake Khoury takes about his trip to Notre Dame and what the Irish coaches had to say to him.

Corey Robinson Notre Dame-bound

It seems like just yesterday we watched San Antonio Spurs great David Robinson interact with his kids in Oreo cookies commercial where he complimented a very young Corey Robinson on his cookie dunking abilities. Robinson now compliments Corey on touchdown catches as a junior at San Antonio Christian High School, and Robinson will more than likely be making a few trips to South Bend...

Terps Embracing Underdog Role vs Irish

The Terps prepare to face the #1 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish tonight in an Elite Eight matchup.
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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.