- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. — Geno Auriemma and UConn are a perfect 10.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Moriah Jefferson each scored 15 points as UConn beat Notre Dame, 63-53, on Tuesday night, giving the Huskies their third consecutive NCAA women’s basketball championship.

Auriemma, who tied John Wooden for the most championships in college basketball, has been victorious in all 10 of his appearances in the title game. The Huskies have won five of the last seven championships.

Breanna Stewart added eight points and 15 rebounds. The two-time AP Player of the Year has saved her best games for the brightest lights.

She earned most outstanding player of the Final Four honors for the third time, making her the first woman ever to achieve that. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the only men’s player to do it when he played for UCLA under Wooden.

Morgan Tuck had 12 points and seven assists, while Kia Nurse added nine points for UConn (38-1), which also won championships in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010.

“I just know that in our sport, from 1995 to today, what we’ve done against our peers is as good if not better than anybody else has done in their sport against their peers,” Auriemma said. “I don’t care whether it’s harder in that sport.”

Auriemma won his title one night after fellow USA Basketball Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski won his fifth men’s championship at Duke.

“Our Dad was very proud of Geno and Mike and how throughout their years as collegiate head basketball coaches they have diligently led their student-athletes to be successful on the court, in the classroom and in their lives,” Wooden’s children Nan and Jim Wooden said in a statement.

Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd did all she could to get the Irish over the top. Coach Muffet McGraw had her team back in the championship game for the fourth time in five seasons. The Fighting Irish have come up short each time, including the last two against UConn.

Notre Dame had advanced to the national championship game for the fourth time in the last five years, but has not won since taking home its only title in 2001.

Loyd scored 12 points, going 4-for-18 from the field and missing all eight of her shots in the second half, while freshman Brianna Turner, who did not play against UConn in the teams’ meeting earlier this season, had a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame (36-3). Taya Reimer had six points and 11 rebounds.

The Huskies led, 31-23, at halftime and expanded that lead to 12 points not long thereafter before the Fighting Irish began chipping away.

Turner was scoreless in the first half, but came alive after the break. She scored eight consecutive points for the Fighting Irish, including banking in a shot from the top of the key as the shot clock was reaching zero. That put the Irish within six points at 54-48.

After the teams traded baskets, Mosqueda-Lewis scored seven consecutive points to restore the double-digit advantage with just over four minutes left and Notre Dame couldn’t recover.

It would draw no closer than six points, which they did for the last time with 5:29 remaining when Lindsay Allen made a lay-up.

The matchup between UConn and Notre Dame was just the second time in the history of the tournament that the same teams played in the final in consecutive years. UConn beat Tennessee in 2003 and 2004.

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