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Irish Insights

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    This time, Brian Kelly didn’t call it a debacle or second-guess one of his decisions, even as the roughest stretch of his tenure as Notre Dame’s coach got a little bit rougher.
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Associated Press
Notre Dame's Loyd tries to get around Connecticut's Stefanie Dolson during the second half of the NCAA women's tournament championship game Tuesday.

Irish fall 79-58 to UConn in women's title game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Stefanie Dolson powered home a layup while being fouled with 14:13 to play, she clinched her fists, let our a roar and bumped shoulders with teammates.

Connecticut was headed to its record-setting ninth women's basketball championship.

Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa stood up emotionless from the bench as Dolson's shot went in. It was all she could do in that black knee brace.

Dolson's three-point play pushed the Huskies in front 60-42, and they finished off the Irish for a 79-58 victory in the NCAA title game at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night.

It was a devastating way for Notre Dame to suffer its only loss of the season. So talented, so used to slicing up opponents, the Irish ran into a juggernaut greater than themselves.

Notre Dame (37-1) fell behind 22-8 less than nine minutes into the game and could only claw back within five before UConn broke it open again.

Kayla McBride had 21 points and five rebounds in her final game for the Irish. Jewell Loyd added 13 points and six rebounds, while Michaela Mabrey scored 10 off the bench.

The Huskies (40-0) defended last season's title and surpassed Tennessee's eight for the most ever. UConn also completed the fifth unbeaten season in its increasingly storied history. No team all season came within 10 points of the Huskies.

For more on this game, read Wednesday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.

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