But then things changed — and dramatically.
The energy and defensive pressure that helped force 35 UConn turnovers the last time they played began to rattle the Huskies.
Notre Dame had the game tied 4-4 with 17:13 to play in the half and took off from there. The Irish scored eight straight and 20 of the next 24 points to take a 20-8 lead on a McBride three-pointer. Notre Dame looked like it might run away with this one.
But after McBride's hoop gave the Irish a 39-28 lead with 18:06 to play, Stewart, in her finest moment, began to lead the Huskies back. She scored six straight to tie the game at 39 with 12:34 to play.
"She had a great game, maybe the best I've seen her play this year," McGraw said. "Dolson, too. They were just so much for us to handle."
And then it came down to the final 10 minutes, the score tied at 43 after Morgan Tuck's first basket of the night.
The teams traded baskets until Notre Dame forged a 55-51 lead. Another McBride hoop made it 59-53 with 2:56 to play. Achonwa could have made it eight with 2:09 to play but missed a layup.
The door was open. Stewart, Hartley and Dolson stepped in to tie the game again at 59.
"We fought in the second half," Dolson said. "It doesn't really matter how I played."
Diggins missed a layup with 37 seconds to play, then Faris missed with 23 to play before grabbing the offensive rebound.
UConn called a timeout with 18.4 seconds to play and with possession.
"We had many different options," Stewart said. "I caught the in-bound, but I wasn't in position to shoot it. I could have taken the ball to the hoop, but I was thinking we needed to take the last shot."
Stewart instead dished to Kelly Faris who drove the baseline. Faris fed Mosqueda-Lewis, whose pass was stolen by Diggins.