Like the men's title game, Tuesday nights National Championship showdown between Texas A&M and Norte Dame wasn't the title game that everyone was expecting. Nearly everyone had the powerhouse down in Connecticut penciled in for their third straight title or even proven teams like Stanford or Tennessee in the big game but when the dust had settled on an exciting women's tourney, these two unlikely schools stood toe to toe for all the marbles.
That's where the comparison to the men's title game ends.
Unlike the snore-fest of a game Monday night by the men, the ladies gave the public a uptempo affair that was worthy of the big stage it was on as the Aggies toppled the Fighting Irish 76-70. The Aggies were led by senior Danielle Adams who did the majority of her 30 point damage when it mattered most, in the second half, dismantling Notre Dame for 22 points in the period.
"I had a little voice in my head, 'Don't let this team down,'" said Adams, "Every time we'd get down, we were telling each other we're not going to lose this game. We worked hard all season to prepare for this point. I had to do this for my teammates. They've been doing everything for me. I decided to take them on my back and just let them ride on my back."
Adams, who was named All-American a week ago (the schools first) and Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament, was joined in the clutch department by teammate Tyra White. White scored 18 points in the game but none more crucial than a three pointer as the shot clock buzzer was sounding with a little over a minute left in the game that put Texas A&M up 73-68.
"That was a knife right in my heart. That was the game.” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “And the disappointing part about it was with 2 seconds left, we didn't get the rebound. We had two people in there, and it ended with a jump ball, and that cost us the game.
"I thought that was just an amazing play on White's part. It was an unbelievable shot. That was the game, that play right there."
The victory by the Aggies made their coach, Gary Blair, the oldest women's coach to ever win a National Championship at 65.
"We gave you that national championship game without the so-called powers of the world," Blair said. "The two powers tonight were the two that earned it."
This title game may have not been the one everyone expected but it was a game that everyone could agree lived up to it's National Championship billing. These two teams fought and scraped till the final minute and though only one team won, both deserve respect.
And for the loser, Notre Dame, don't be surprised if they are back here again next season.
"You lose that last game, you just get motivated to come back and work a little bit harder and make sure it doesn't happen again," McGraw said. "So I think it will be a really good motivator for us."
Photo Courtesy of: AP Images