Notre Dame women outlast UConn for spot in title game

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Notre Dame’s back for another shot at the national title. Of course, when you beat the Connecticut women three times in one season, the Irish probably feel like they already won it.

Not just yet.

Natalie Novosel scored 20 points, Skylar Diggins added 19 points and Brittany Mallory hit two huge 3-pointers in overtime in Notre Dame’s 83-75 victory Sunday night.

It was the fourth time the two teams had met this season. UConn (33-5) had won the last meeting, a 63-54 victory in the Big East tournament title game, but the Irish (35-3) overcame a lousy final minute of regulation in which they blew a four-point lead and needed a basket by Novosel with four seconds left simply to force OT.

But after 90 seconds of overtime, it was clear the Irish would prevail. Diggins and Mallory combined for three 3-pointers in  a 1:46 span and pulled away thanks to some sturdy defense and clutch free throws.

Notre Dame will play the Baylor-Stanford winner on Tuesday night.

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Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.