basketball-women-d1 flag

Doug Feinberg | The Associated Press | March 31, 2018

UConn women stunned again on familiar last-second shot

Notre Dame beats UConn in OT

COLUMBUS, Ohio — UConn coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies have dropped two of their last 149 games.

Last-second overtime shots ended their season each time. At the Final Four.

A year after their 111-game winning streak was stopped by a historic shot by Morgan William and Mississippi State, the Huskies fell Friday night on a jumper by Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale with a second remaining in the Irish's 91-89 victory.

Watch: Arike Ogunbowale's game-winner sends Notre Dame to national championship

"I would say it's hard to believe. Obviously, much harder than the first time," Auriemma said. "Each team had a chance to prove what kind of team they were. There was no backing down either way. Just like last year it came down to one play, one shot. They made it."

UConn's locker room was mostly silent after its latest heartbreaking loss. Some players held their faces in their hands, and others stared at the ceiling. Their eyes were red from crying. A couple of them hugged and comforted each other.

"There's nothing you can say to a college kid after experiencing this two years in a row that's going to make them feel any better about, you know," Auriemma said. "We had an amazing run for five months. That's just the way it is. One weekend in March gets to decide your season."

The underlying theme all season was redemption and they fell short.

"Probably more painful. It's the same kind of situation," UConn All-American Katie Lou Samuelson said. "Went into overtime, they got a last-second shot. It happens."

The defeat ended the stellar careers of seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams. The duo finished with 148 wins — fourth-most in school and NCAA history.

"Obviously it hurts. It'll sting, but it may not sting for every player the same," Nurse said. "It probably varies in levels, but it's inevitable. At some point, it's going to come to an end. Unfortunately, it had to be this game."

RELATED: Complete Women's Final Four updates | Full interactive bracket 

The latest edition of the greatest current rivalry in women's basketball was quite a show, featuring impressive comebacks from each school. The stars carried over into the stands, with Lakers great Kobe Bryant watching with his wife and daughters.

UConn was down five with under a minute to go in regulation before Napheesa Collier hit a 3-pointer and Nurse turned a steal into a tying layup. After Notre Dame turned it over with 3.6 seconds left in regulation, Williams' runner was short, sending the game to overtime.

The teams traded shot for shot in OT before Jackie Young made three free throws to help Notre Dame open a five-point lead with 43 seconds left.

The Huskies didn't quit. Collier scored to make it a three-point game. Ogunbowale missed two free throws and Dangerfield tied it before Ogunbowale's game-winner.

"The amount of times that we had to come back tonight, both at the end of the regulation when we were down and it looked like it was over, then in overtime when it looked like it was over and we tied it," Auriemma said. "We kept fighting back and fighting back. I think it stings a little more when you have it happen after you experience that part of it."

For pretty much every other women's basketball program, UConn's season would be considered a smashing success. But the Huskies have created a nearly impossible standard.

"That's where we live. That's the world we live in," Auriemma said. "That's the world that we created. I've been saying for the last 15 or 20 years that winning national championships is hard. And I don't think anybody ever believed me because it just seemed so routine for a while. These last two years is a big reminder that this is really hard to do."

This article was written by Doug Feinberg from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 rising women’s college basketball stars for the 2019-20 season

Nalyssa Smith, Evelyn Adebayo, Haley Jones, Janelle Bailey and Rhyne Howard are a few women's basketball players who could breakout and become stars in the 2019-20 season.
READ MORE

UConn baseball coach Jim Penders about to make history in a job he was born and raised for

Penders is in his 16th season as UConn coach, and he has spent 27 of the past 29 years as part of the Huskies' program, a player and captain before graduating in 1994, then an assistant under Andy Baylock. When he applied to replace the retiring Baylock in 2003, Penders told then-athletic director Jeff Hathaway that his goal was not to be a college baseball coach. He said it was to be the UConn baseball coach. And in the years since, Penders has not simply been a great coach at UConn. He has been a great UConn coach. There is a difference.
READ MORE

These 5 players could become the next Naismith Player of the Year

It’s never too early to look ahead to next season and wonder who might step up as the frontrunner for the 2020 Naismith Player of the Year award.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners