Kathryn Westbeld scored 20 points, Jessica Shepard had 18 and Notre Dame reached the Final Four for the eighth time by defeating Oregon 84-74 on Monday night at Spokane, Wash.
Westbeld had been slowed by an ankle injury from the first round of the NCAA tournament and had scored a combined 12 points in the previous four games, but she teamed with Shepard for an inside attack that hurt the Ducks.
The Fighting Irish (33-3) outscored the Ducks 52-38 in the paint and had a 51-29 rebounding advantage in the Spokane Regional final.
It’s the sixth Final Four for the Irish since 2011. They’ll play Connecticut in a semifinal game Friday night at Columbus, Ohio.
Sabrina Ionescu led Oregon (33-5) with 26 points, but the Ducks struggled offensively over the final 20 minutes. Oregon made only eight of 31 shots in the second half and Ionescu had only seven points.
Connecticut 94, South Carolina 65: Crystal Dangerfield scored 19 points in the first half and finished with 21, and the Huskies (36-0) won the Albany (N.Y.) Regional to reach the Final Four for the 11th consecutive year.
Gabby Williams scored 23 points for Connecticut, which scored the most points in program history for this round of the NCAA tournament. Williams was selected most outstanding player of the regional.
South Carolina senior center A’ja Wilson finished with 27 points in the last game of a stellar career with the Gamecocks (29-7). Coach Dawn Staley took her out with just over three minutes left and the team down 31 points.
Wilson a three-time All-American
Wilson became the seventh women’s player to earn Associated Press All-America team honors three times. Wilson averaged 22.6 points and 11.8 rebounds in the regular season. Oregon’s Ionescu, Connecticut forward Katie Lou Samuelson, Louisville guard Asia Durr and Mississippi State guard Victoria Vivians round out the team. Voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
Forwards, including Porter, declare for NBA
Ohio State’s 6-7 forward Keita Bates-Diop announced that he is headed to the NBA. The Big Ten Conference player of the year averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. ...
Washington State forward Robert Franks said he intends to declare for the draft. The 6-7 junior averaged 17.4 points per game.
Louisville hired Vince Tyra as athletic director, removing the interim tag from his title. Tyra can proceed with his first major move — hiring a men’s basketball coach. ...
Tubby Smith has agreed to be the men’s coach at High Point, said a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the school is not publicly discussing its coaching search. Smith had a 40-26 record in two seasons at Memphis. ...
South Dakota men’s coach Craig Smith has accepted the same position at Utah State.