HARTFORD, Ct. -- West Virginia was the last team to beat third-ranked Notre Dame but the Irish made sure there would be no repeat tonight as they made quick work of the Mountaineers in an Big East Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinal at the XL Center.
The Irish took control of the game from the start, led by double digits by the time it was six minutes old and never looked back as they cruised to an easy 73-45 win over the Mountaineers
Notre Dame, which had leads of 10-2 and 20-4 before the Mountaineers even knew what hit them, was nearly flawless in its execution on offense early and the Irish seemed to be playing at a much faster speed as they got nearly every loose ball and rebound in the first six minutes of the game.
At that point, it was too late for West Virginia to realistically mount a comeback given their limitations offensively but they did play hard and for short period early in the second half looked like they might just make a game of it.
But back-to-back 3-pointers by Kayla McBride and Natalie Novosel right near the 16-minute mark pushed the Irish lead back to more than 20 and that for all intents and purposes ended any chance of a Mountainers comeback.
Notre Dame (30-2) will play the winner of tonight's other semifinal between Connecticut (27-4) and St. Johns (22-8) Tuesday in the championship game.
The Mountaineers (23-9), who upset the Irish 65-63 on Feb. 12, will now have to wait until next Monday to find out where they will go and who they will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
West Virginia is expected to receive about an 8 or 9 seed based on current projections among the so-called bracket experts.
The Mountaineers were led by Asya Bussie, who had 15 points and five rebounds, while Notre Dame had four players reach double figures, led by Novosel, who had 18.
Paul Zeise: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @paulzeise