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How UConn beat Notre Dame 79-58 for its ninth NCAA title

Jeremy Stone
The Dagger
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
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Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis throws a finger in the air during UConn's national championship victory over Notre …

Recap | Box Score

12:01 a.m. ET -- Geno Auriemma is done at the podium and so are our live updates. Do check Yahoo Sports and our college women's basketball page for most postgame coverage.

11:45 -- Breanna Stewart becomes the fifth-two time Most Outstanding Player, joining Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdslaw, Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker. And Stewart has two more seasons to play.

11:29 -- All-tournament team: Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame; Kayla McBride, Notre Dame; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn; Stefanie Dolson, UConn; (Most Outstanding Player) Breanna Stewart, UConn

11:18 -- UConn celebrates again for a second consecutive night.

11:14 -- Looks like Breanna Stewart, Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to join Geno Auriemma at the podium after Auriemma is done with a live ESPN interview that just began.

11:07 -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma cuts down the net.

11:01 -- Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw has left the podium, and Connecticut players and coach Geno Auriemma will be up shortly at http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule .

10:57 -- Recap is in. Breanna Stewart had 21 points to lead UConn, and Stefanie Dolson had 17 points and 16 rebounds. Kayla McBride led Notre Dame with the same.

10:45 -- Michaela Mabrey and Kayla McBride will join Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw when the postgame news conferences begin from Bridgestone Arena on http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule .

10:43 -- Technical difficulties plague the start of the trophy presentation.

10:41 -- UConn wins the rebounding battle 54-31, which is tied for the second-most rebounds and second-highest rebound margin in an NCAA championship game.

10:36 (Conn 79, ND 58;  Final) -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma gets emotional talking to ESPN's Holly Rowe about seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. You can watch the live postgame news conferences at http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule .

10:33 (Conn 79, ND 58;  Final) -- And there's the horn. Connecticut defeats Notre Dame 79-58 to win a record ninth national championship and finish 40-0. Muffet McGraw says to Geno Auriemma as they shake hands, "You guys are awesome."

10:31 (Conn 77, ND 56; 1:00) -- Shortly after Stefanie Dolson checked out for the last time, fellow senior Bria Hartley gets a hug from Geno Auriemma on her way back to the bench.

10:30 (Conn 77, ND 56; 1:00) -- Not only does Connecticut sweep the national titles for the second time, but the Husky men and women remain unbeaten in championship games. They're 13-0 now.

10:27 (Conn 73, ND 54; 2:35) -- A late run here could keep Notre Dame from the record-low 19 points after halftime Stanford managed in the 2008 title game against Tennessee, which is the Lady Vols' last Final Four game to date.

10:23 -- You can watch the live postgame news conferences at http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule .

10:20 (Conn 69, ND 47; 4:31) -- UConn's Moriah Jefferson leaves with what appears to be a cramp. The Huskies have used only six players.

10:18 (Conn 69, ND 47; 5:20) -- Ice cold Bria Hartley hits a 3-pointer to give UConn its biggest lead.

10:11 (Conn 64, ND 45; 8:12) -- Notre Dame's season-low point total: 69 vs. Duke.

10:09 (Conn 64, ND 44; 9:12) -- UConn holds a 38-24 rebounding edge.

10:07 (Conn 63, ND 42; 10:30) -- Connecticut's size has just been too much. Notre Dame clearly is missing Natalie Achonwa, who tore her ACL in the regional final.

10:05 (Conn 63, ND 42; 10:30) -- Notre Dame has missed 10 of 12 second-half shots.

10:02 (Conn 63, ND 42; 11:25) -- UConn could be on its way to consecutive championship game victories by the two largest margins ever. The Huskies won 93-60 last year to best Tennessee's 67-44 win against Louisiana Tech to win the Lady Vols' first title in 1987.

10 p.m. (Conn 63, ND 42; 12:04) -- The second-half dominance continues for UConn, which is on an 18-4 run to open the half.

9:49 (Conn 53, ND 40; 16:21) -- The Irish are off to the slow start in the second half that they couldn't afford.

9:33 (Conn 45, ND 38; Half) -- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis now has 14 points to pull even with Breanna Stewart for UConn. Stefanie Dolson has 10 with a game-high six rebounds and five assists. Kayla McBride has 13 for Notre Dame. Jewell Loyd has chipped in 11, and Michaela Mabrey has contributed a huge 10 off the bench.

9:30 -- It's four points shy of the highest-scoring first half in an NCAA championship game.

9:27 (Conn 45, ND 38; Half) -- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' putback gives Connecticut a seven-point lead at the half.

9:26 (Conn 43, ND 38; :22.4 1st) -- Jewell Loyd drains a three to bring the Irish as close as they've been since 14-8.

9:23 (Conn 42, ND 32; 1:30 1st) -- Kayla McBride is keeping Notre Dame in it, but UConn so far seems to always have a answer.

9:16 (Conn 37, ND 25; 3:53 1st) -- Breanna Stewart is up to 14 points for Connecticut but misses a possible three-point play.

9:13 (Conn 29, ND 23; 6:00 1st) -- Kayla McBride's open right-wing 3-pointer cuts the deficit to six.

9:09 (Conn 29, ND 17; 7:39 1st) -- The Irish have settled down, but the Huskies still are shooting 56 percent. And that includes Bria Hartley's 1 for 5.

9:07 (Conn 24, ND 15; 8:34 1st) -- Largest deficit overcome to win a championship game is 14 (Louisiana Tech vs. Auburn in 1988). This would match it. ND does have the record for the largest Women's Final Four comeback (16) in the semifinal win against UConn en route to the Irish's only national title in 2001.

9:03 (Conn 22, ND 10; 10:30 1st) -- Notre Dame ends the 16-0 UConn run.

8:59 (Conn 20, ND 8; 11:30 1st) -- Eight points apiece for Stefanie Dolson and Breanna Stewart as UConn has scored 14 in a row. Muffet McGraw doesn't wait for the media timeout to use one of her own.

8:57 (Conn 16, ND 8; 12:56 1st) -- It's up to a 10-0 run for the Huskies, but they turn it over trying to add to the lead.

8:52 (Conn 12, ND 8; 14:27 1st) -- Six straight points for the Huskies heading into the first media timeout.

8:51 (ND 8, Conn 6; 15:37 1st) -- Six straight points give the Irish their first lead.

8:48 (Conn 6, ND 4; 19:45 1st) -- Stefanie Dolson called for a moving screen.

8:46 (Conn 2, ND 0; 19:45 1st) -- Tip won by UConn, and Stefanie Dolson hits a long jumper.

8:44 -- Coaches Muffet McGraw and Geno Auriemma share a cordial handshake after the lineups are announced.

8:40 -- Cassadee Pope sings the national anthem.

8:37 (6 minutes to tip) -- The UConn men and women swept the national titles in 2004, the only other time it has happened. The 1999 Duke men and women both lost title games, while last year the Louisville men won it all and the Cardinal women lost to UConn.

8:21 (22 minutes to tip) -- Starting lineups -- Notre Dame: G Lindsay Allen, G Jewell Loyd, G Kayla McBride, F Ariel Braker, F Taya Reimer. Connecticut: G Moriah Jefferson, G Bria Hartley, F Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, F Breanna Stewart, C Stefanie Dolson

8 p.m. (43 minutes to tip) -- Every national championship game is big, but it's hard to imagine one bigger than this.

When 37-0 Notre Dame and 39-0 Connecticut square off at around 8:30 p.m. Eastern at Bridgestone Arena (on ESPN), it marks the first time two undefeated teams have played each other in an NCAA tournament.

And there's more. The Huskies are trying to take over the all-time lead in NCAA championships from Tennessee for the first time. A win would give UConn its ninth title and fifth unbeaten season (three other schools have one). The Huskies would be just the second school to go 40-0, following Baylor two years ago.

But the Irish are trying to add a second national title to the one they won in 2001, when they rallied to beat UConn in the Final Four and prevented what could have become a string of five straight Husky titles.

Notre Dame has won seven of nine against UConn, and seven of the Huskies' last 11 losses came to the Irish. But the teams didn't play this season after Notre Dame left the Big East for the ACC and UConn ended up in the American Conference.

 

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