Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

January 2011 Archives

SOUTH BEND  -- Notre Dame's women's basketball team nearly handed Connecticut its second loss in three games Saturday at the Joyce Center. 

Kelly Faris scored inside with 13 seconds to play and Stefanie Dolson hit two free throws with three seconds left as No. 2 Connecticut overcame a seven-point second-half deficit for a 78-76 victory before a near-sellout crowd at the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame (13-4, 2-1 in the Big East) took a 76-75 lead when Natalie Novosel scored on a scoop layup in traffic with 30 seconds left. But after a time out, Connecticut worked the ball inside to Farris for an easy hoop that gave the Huskies the lead. Skylar Diggins missed a jumper from the wing with four seconds left and Dolson, a 6-5 freshman, rebounded and hit two free throws.

Notre Dame had one last chance, but Diggins' three-pointer from the corner under pressure was too long.

All-American Maya Moore led Connecticut (14-1, 4-0) with 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting. Faris added 20, including 10-of-10 free throws. 

Senior Devereaux Peters of Fenwick led a balanced attack for Notre Dame with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Diggins and Novosel each scored 16. Natalie Achonwa came off the bench to score nine points and grab eight rebounds.

Harrison Smith's heroics good sign for Notre Dame

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One of my favorite Brian Kelly quirks is his refusal to gush about a player he isn't happy with. For a guy who grew up in politics and is well-versed in the art of spin, he really struggles to b.s. anybody when it comes to a player not playing to his standards.

He called Michael Floyd ''overhyped'' and ''average'' on media day in August. And when talking about Steven Filer's promotion to first-team outside linebacker in preseason camp, Kelly's tone and his words (''We're not going to play for a couple of weeks. Now the [challenge] is, can he hold onto it?'') told you he didn't think it would last. And it didn't.

But the classic example was after the 23-17 victory over Pittsburgh, in which Harrison Smith had an interception -- when Pitt receiver Kyle Shanahan fell while making a cut -- and Kelly was asked in his post-game press conference ''to comment on [Smith's] game.''

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