Irish rout Maryland, reach Final Four

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 27, 2012
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bill Polian wouldn't put Terrell Owens or Randy Moss in Hall Of Fame

Report: Free agent wide receivers want to play with Carson Wentz

NFL has plans to put microchips in footballs in 2017

A San Diego storm has turned Petco Park into a lake

Top eight storylines for NFL Scouting Combine

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike D’Antoni calls out Rockets for being ‘soft’ again

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

Box Score 2/28: Fat Tuesday means athletes on floats.

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. 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

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

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