- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Sydney Colson and her Texas A&M teammates weren’t surprised that Notre Dame beat No. 1 Connecticut.

They knew what it was like to get tired of getting beat by the same team over and over again. The Aggies lost to Baylor three times before getting past the Bears in the regional final and they watched with interest as the Fighting Irish advanced to the title game by beating their Big East rival.

“We were talking about how they have played them three times before,” Colson said. “And this is their fourth time playing them, and they could possibly get an upset just like us against Baylor. And we were confident that they were going to go out there and do it, just because, you know, so much is on the line. And at some point you’ve got to go out there and get a win before it becomes embarrassing for your team.”

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she liked the fact that her team wasn’t a favorite heading into the tournament. Connecticut, Tennessee, Stanford and Baylor were the top four seeds.

“I thought it was great throughout the month of March, before the brackets came out, when the first top four seeds were so obvious to everyone,” she said. “And I thought that was a good thing because we were able to fly under the radar. I don’t think that anybody was talking about us. They were talking about the top four seeds the whole time.”


CROWD SUPPORT: Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins expected her hometown of South Bend, Ind., to come to a halt during Tuesday night’s championship game.

She said South Bend was a “ghost town” when her high school, South Bend Washington, won the state championship in 2007 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. She expected the same as her hometown college was set to play three hours from campus.

“Hoosier basketball, you know, you can’t even put into words how important this sport is to the state,” Diggins said.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw agreed that the virtual home crowd offered an advantage in Notre Dame’s win over Connecticut on Sunday.

“I know that playing in the state of Indiana has been huge,” she said.

Sue Donohoe, vice president for Division I Women’s Basketball, was pleased by the turnout for the championship game.

“For the first time since I’ve been in this position, fans were lined up all the way around the pavilion,” she said. “The excitement and enthusiasm throughout are through the Richter scale.”

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said he expected a large crowd.

“It will be embarrassing if we don’t have a sellout with a team from Indiana in the state of Indiana,” he said.


WOMEN’S HOOPS MARKETABILITY: Texas A&M coach Gary Blair says women’s basketball could be marketable _ if anyone would market it.

He said the teams at the top draw well, but the middle and bottom teams need to be more creative in finding ways to pull people in.

“We need to spend money to make money, and a lot of programs do not do that,” Blair said. “They will not put enough money into women’s basketball. Women’s basketball grows in so many ways besides the dollar bill.”

He’s noticed a few signs of women’s basketball gaining prominence at his school.

“You know, it’s sort of funny, spring football is going on at the same time,” he said. “Our baseball team is very, very good. They just changed the start of the baseball game on Tuesday night to 5 because we were going to be on TV at 7. Could you picture that happening?”


NEXT UP: Danielle Adams, Texas A&M’s talented center, played her last college game Tuesday night but the Aggies have someone with similar abilities coming right behind her.

Kelsey Bone, a 6-4 sophomore, sat out this season after transferring from South Carolina and will be eligible to play for the Aggies in 2011-12.

“She has a great inside-outside game just like me,” Adams said. “To have two post players who can do that is amazing. She’s been a great force in practice for us.”

Bone starred at Houston’s Dulles High School in 2009. She averaged 14 points and led the Southeastern Conference with 9.2 rebounds a game as a freshman at South Carolina, then announced shortly after the season she was leaving. Two weeks later, Bone said she would enroll at A&M.

“When we found out that she wanted to transfer, we just went in real hard on her,” Adams said. “I talked to her almost every day and tried to convince her to get here. Some of the other players did the same

“We knew she wanted to come back home. It was a great thing for us to get her here.”


SKYLAR‘S FOLLOWERS: Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins is getting more popular by the hour.

Diggins had about 5,000 Twitter followers before the NCAA tournament, but that total had increased to nearly 48,000 about two hours before tip-off.

Diggins was a trending topic on the social media site Sunday as she led the Fighting Irish over Connecticut. It helped that music artists Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown tweeted about her.



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