Skylar Diggins showed why she is one of women’s college basketball’s premiere players, scoring 24 points and dishing out nine assists to lead Notre Dame past the Duke Blue Devils, 87-76, in Tuesday night’s Elite Eight contest.
Duke barely scooted their way into the Elite Eight, with none of their tournament victories being on the impressive side, and it appeared they were going to find a way to scoot into the Final Four when they took a 37-31 lead into halftime. In the second half, however, Notre Dame’s offense clicked to the point of absurdity as the Irish scored 56 points and brutally thrashed the Blue Devils for all 20 minutes.
The Blue Devils were undone by their inability to control the basketball as they finished with 21 turnovers, a hideous mark that will guarantee a loss against just about any team in the nation. It wasn’t until the final moments of the second half, when their hopes of advancing to the Final Four was long gone, that Duke managed to get back on track against Notre Dame.
This had to have been one of the more frustrating losses for Duke fans. This game wasn’t lost because Notre Dame was the better team. No, this game was lost because Duke suddenly forgot how to hold on to the basketball. This game was lost because the Blue Devils seemed to remember that they weren’t the favored opponent and played down to ensure the expected outcome was the actual result. This was Duke handing the game over to the Irish on a silver platter. This was the 2012 Belk Bowl in Women’s basketball form.
I am frustrated. Maybe it is the 2am talking and maybe it is the I had to put up with insane traffic all day talking, but I am beyond frustrated. I just watched the men’s team put up an embarrassing second-half performance in their elite eight loss, only to have to watch the same exact thing happen a couple days later for the women’s team. Like the men’s team, this team went down without a fight. Like the men’s team, this team’s entire season was ended by their worst half of basketball that they’ve played all season. And like the men’s team, they’ll head home just three victories away from a championship – the fourth consecutive year the women’s team has suffered this fate.
This has not been a good week for Duke basketball, folks.
Wait ’til next year?