Lady Irish, Huskies roll into Final Four

3/31/2014

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame's quest for perfection will continue at the Final Four.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame's quest for perfection will continue at the Final Four.

Jewell Loyd scored 30 points and unbeaten Notre Dame advanced to the Final Four for a fourth straight season with an 88-69 win over Baylor on Monday night.

Natalie Achonwa added 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Irish (36-0), who will face either Louisville or Maryland in the national semifinals on Sunday night in Nashville.

Notre Dame became the sixth school to reach the Final Four in four straight seasons, joining UConn, LSU, Stanford, Louisiana Tech and Tennessee.

The loss ended the brilliant career of Baylor guard Odyssey Sims, who finished this season with 1,054 points — eight short of Jackie Stiles' NCAA record for a single season. Sims scored 33 points for Baylor (32-5), but had little help on offense.

The win extended Notre Dame's home winning streak to 28 games. Baylor was the last team to beat the Irish in South Bend — doing so on Dec. 5, 2012 — but that team had 6-foot-8 star Brittney Griner.

UConn 69, Texas A&M 54

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis continued her splendid run through the NCAA tournament with 17 points, and Connecticut advanced to the women's Final Four for the seventh straight year with a 69-54 victory against Texas A&M on Monday night.

The defending national champion Huskies (38-0) won their 44th straight game and will be going for their record ninth national championship in Nashville. Their semifinal opponent Sunday will be either Stanford or North Carolina.

Stefanie Dolson, who made her 150th career start to tie the NCAA record, had 14 points and 10 rebounds and blocked a career-high eight shots. Bria Hartley had 14 points, Breanna Stewart added 13 and Moriah Jefferson 11.

Courtney Walker led Texas A&M (27-9) with 14 points. Courtney Williams had 13 and Jordan Jones 12.

After the Aggies got within three points early in the second half, UConn outscored the Aggies 27-12 to build its lead to 18 points.

to-back offensive fouls — the eighth and ninth called in the game — and coach Kim Mulkey had seen enough, letting the officials know her displeasure. That earned her a technical foul.

The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes and Baylor closed to within 65-60 before Notre Dame took over scoring 16 of the next 20 points, including eight from the free throw line. The Irish were 30 for 33 from the foul line in the game.

The Irish had a scary moment when Achonwa went down holding her left knee after getting fouled with just under five minutes left. After a few moments she got up with help and pointed to her teammates telling them to get it done before heading to the locker room.

They followed their senior leaders advice coming away with the victory. And Achonwa joined her team for the celebration, wearing sweats.

The win was Notre Dame's first against Baylor, which had won the previous four meetings — including a victory in the 2012 national championship game that completed a 40-0 season for the Lady Bears.

Now Notre Dame is two wins away from becoming the eighth team to go through the season unbeaten.

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