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Leading Ladies: Connecticut, Louisville Set For Championship

NPR icon by Dana Farrington
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Dave Martin

Connecticut has been to the women's NCAA championship round twice in the last five years. In 2009, they were up against Louisville.

And here we are again. (Or, we will be on Tuesday.)

Connecticut beat Notre Dame 83-65 in the Final Four round Sunday night, clinching its ride to the title game. Earlier, Louisville rallied a comeback against California, ending at 64-57.

The Fighting Irish had a history with UConn going into Sunday's game. As The Associated Press reminded us:

"Notre Dame has beaten UConn three times this season by an average of three points — although the largest margin of victory, a six-point victory in South Bend on March 2, came in triple overtime."

It was not to be Sunday. UConn's Breanna Stewart scored 29 points. By halftime, Connecticut had a 10-point lead.

Our Original Post Continues:

It was a surprise either of them made it. California, which was playing its first Final Four, lost to Louisville. Louisville had already brought down top teams Baylor and Tennessee earlier in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament.

The No. 5 Cardinals won 64-57, becoming the first team seeded worse than fourth to win a Final Four game, CBS News says. The San Jose Mercury News reports:

"After opening the game with one of their best halves of the tournament, the Bears (32-4) saw their double-digit lead evaporate in the second half."

NPR's Tom Goldman tells our Newscast Desk that Louisville's comeback was largely thanks to Antonita Slaughter, who scored 18 points with six 3-point shots. Tom reports:

"Her shooting really kept Louisville close when nothing else was going right because Cal was controlling the boards, they were controlling the tempo. When the game got tight in the second half, Cal committed several turnovers on successive possessions. That let Louisville back in the game."

SB Nation called it "one of the best games" of the women's contest this year.

Tuesday, Louisville will go on to play the winner of Sunday night's UConn-Notre Dame matchup. It will be the Cardinals' first time back in the title game since 2009.

Oh, and Louisville also made it to the top of the men's tournament. They face Michigan Monday night.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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