Archived Story

Irish battle Bears for regional title

Published 9:18am Monday, March 31, 2014

A rematch of the 2012 NCAA title game is set for tonight at Purcell Pavilion as Notre Dame hosts Baylor for a regional championship and a spot in the Final Four in Nashville, Tenn.

The Fighting Irish (35-0) have never beaten the Bears, who enter the game with a 32-4 record.

Gone from that Baylor team are the likes of Brittney Griner and former Benton Harbor standout Destiny Williams.

Notre Dame no longer lists Skylar Diggins, Natalie Novosel or Devereaux Peters on its roster.

There are some holdovers from that title game, which Baylor won 80-61. Players like Baylor All-American guard Odyssey Sims and Notre Dame’s Natalie Achonwa.

Both will play a key role in who wins tonight and advances to the Final Four.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw knows how tough it is going to be to slow Sims down.

“She is a tough matchup no matter where she is on the floor,” McGraw said. “I think their team has gotten a lot better throughout the year. At the beginning of the year, I think their team was all Odyssey. They were waiting for the freshmen to come along and they have come along.

“She has really done a great job of leading them and getting them to improve throughout the year. So, this is a much different team from the beginning of the year and I think you have to credit Odyssey’s leadership for that.”

Oklahoma State point guard Tiffany Bias like’s tonight’s championship game.

“I think that it is going to be a good matchup,” she said. “They both had good guards and good posts. It’s going to be hard to guard Odyssey off the dribble and staying out of foul trouble with her. For Notre Dame, they have good guards too who can rise up and shoot. It’s going to be a dog fight between Notre Dame and Baylor.”

Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game can be seen live on ESPN. The game is officially a sellout, but Kentucky and Oklahoma State could return some tickets, which would go on sale at 8:30 a.m. today.

Check Notre Dame’s website (UND.com) for the latest on ticket availability.

Leader Publications will be posting live updates on Twitter and on its Leader Publications Sports Facebook fan page.

 

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