NEW ORLEANS — Make that three straight upsets for Louisville, who used the latest thriller to head back to the women’s national championship game for the first time since 2009.
Antonita Slaughter scored 18 points on six 3-pointers and Louisville clawed back from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat California 64-57 in the national semifinals Sunday. Bria Smith scored 17 on 6 of 7 shooting for the Cardinals (29-8), who were a No. 5 seed and became the first team seeded worse than fourth to win a Final Four game.
The result ensures an all-Big East Conference final in the league’s last season in its current form, with Louisville meeting Connecticut on Tuesday night — one night after the Louisville men’s team plays Michigan for the championship.
Layshia Clarendon scored 17 for Cal (32-4), which had won the Spokane Region as a second seed. Gennifer Brandon added 12 for the Golden Bears, and Brittany Boyd added 10 points.
It was the third straight upset for Louisville, which had to beat defending national champion Baylor and Southeastern Conference power Tennessee just to get to New Orleans.
Notre Dame 65
NEW ORLEANS — Breanna Stewart put on quite a show to help UConn finally vanquish Notre Dame.
The stellar freshman scored a career-high 29 points to go with four blocks, leading the Huskies to the national championship game with an 83-65 win over Notre Dame on Sunday night.
No team has dominated Geno Auriemma’s Huskies the way that the Irish had over the past few seasons.
UConn (34-4) had lost the previous two national semifinals to the Irish and dropped three thrilling games this season to their rival.