McGraw needs only to look across the bracket for inspiration. Texas A&M, which plays Stanford in the other semifinal, beat Baylor in the regional final after falling to the Lady Bears three times this season.
“We jokingly say the fourth time’s a charm because Texas A&M did it. But I don’t really think that’s going to come into play for us in the locker room before the game,” McGraw said. “We’ll talk about the task at hand and what we have to do.”
While her players lack Final Four experience, McGraw does not.
Her Irish team won the national title in 2001 after knocking off UConn in the semifinals, Notre Dame’s last trip to the championship. The two teams split two games earlier that season.
Notre Dame already has erased one losing streak by topping Tennessee in the regional final after dropping 20 straight to the Lady Vols.
While a lot has been made of Connecticut having both the men’s and women’s basketball teams playing in the Final Four, Notre Dame is having its own run of success with the men’s hockey team competing in the Frozen Four next week. The Irish fencing team also won the national championship last weekend.
“It’s been crazy. It’s just a great time for Notre Dame sports right now,” Notre Dame forward Devereaux Peters said. “I have some fencers in my class. A lot of people are cool with the hockey players. We really follow each other and support each other. We’re one big family, really.”
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