The Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team continued remained perfect with a dominating performance against No. 4 seeded Maryland Terrapins in the national semifinals to advance to the National Championship Game on Sunday with an 87-61 victory.
Maryland was in the Final Four for the first time since winning the championship in 2006, but were unable to hand Notre Dame their first loss of the season after a surprising march through the tournament that saw them knock off the No. 1 seed Tennessee Volunteers and later the Louisville Cardinals.
Notre Dame improved to 37-0 and did so by playing for the first time since losing Natalie Achonwa, who suffered a torn ACL in the regional final victory over Baylor on Monday night, the Fighting Irish didn’t miss a beat as Kayla McBride did more than pick up the slack as she finished with a game-high 28 points.
The Irish controlled the glass as they limited the Terps to a paltry four offensive rebounds and won the overall rebound battle 49-21 as the game was won in the trenches to borrow a football term.
The Cinderella run for Maryland was essentially over after the first 20 minutes when Notre Dame sprinted to a 48-31 lead at halftime.
Brionna Thomas led Maryland with 15 points and Alyssa Thomas added 14 more as she finished her Maryland career as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,356 points and the leading rebounder in Terrapin history and should be a top-five pick in the upcoming WNBA draft.
The Irish are now one win away from their first undefeated season in school history and a second national championship. Prior to the game Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw was named as the USBWA’s National Coach of the Year.
Notre Dame now plays the winner of the game between the Connecticut Huskies and Stanford Cardinal in the National Championship Game on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Should Connecticut win their game it would set up an unprecedented championship game with both teams being undefeated.