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Monday, April 1, 2013 - Page updated at 08:30 p.m.
Diggins leads Notre Dame to easy victory over Kansas | Norfolk Regional
By HANK KURZ Jr
The Associated Press
NORFOLK, Va. — Skylar Diggins was already having such a great day, her coach figured she might as well make it historic.
The Notre Dame point guard scored 22 of her 27 points by halftime Sunday and became the school's career scoring leader, leading the top-seeded Fighting Irish to a 93-63 victory against Kansas in the semifinals of the Norfolk Regional.
Notre Dame will play No. 2 seed Duke on Tuesday for a berth in the Final Four.
Coach Muffet McGraw had forgotten all about Diggins' pursuit of the school scoring mark until the game was well in hand. When she asked, she was told the senior was just two points away from passing assistant coach Beth Cunningham.
"I told her, 'You're coming out in 30 seconds. You might as well get one more,' " McGraw said she told Diggins.
Moments later, with 7:48 to play, the left-hander in her trademark white headband swished a 12-foot jumper.
"Coach told me to score two more. I didn't really know why, but I was like, 'OK,' " Diggins said.
It was that kind of the day for Diggins, who heard talk beforehand that the Norfolk Regional was full of great point guards, and quickly showed she might not have a peer, especially at this time of year with the stakes so high.
"We play in games that are so much like Sweet 16 or Elite Eight kind of caliber games in our conference," she said. "That helps all of us."
So does having a leader that makes it all look so easy. Diggins added nine assists and three steals, scored nine straight during a 16-2 first-half run that put the Irish (34-1) ahead to stay, and six more to cap a 10-2 run into halftime.
"She's what everyone says," Kansas point guard Angel Goodrich, who finished with seven points and 13 assists, said. "She's the whole package. She can create for herself and she can create for her teammates."
The victory was the 29th in a row for Notre Dame, and left the Irish one victory shy of a third consecutive trip to the Final Four. They have lost in the title game each of the last two years.
Carolyn Davis led the upstart Jayhawks (20-14) with 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting, but the No. 12 seed didn't stick around long.
Duke 53, Nebraska 45
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie is growing weary of people expecting the second-seeded Blue Devils to roll over teams in the NCAA tournament.
"We don't want to be pretty, we want to advance," McCallie said after the Blue Devils struggled offensively but used a solid defensive effort for a victory over No. 6 seed Nebraska.
"We want to advance. We want to find a way to keep going," McCallie said.
Tricia Liston had 17 points and eight rebounds and Alexis Jones had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Blue Devils shook off another slow start by using a 12-0 run to take the lead by halftime and then hang on with their defense.
"Somebody mentioned that we haven't played a great game yet,"' McCallie said. "It's about time we do. I'm kind of looking forward to that. We've had to gut some things out, handle some things differently."
The Cornhuskers (25-9), in the round of 16 for just the second time in school history, shot 30.3 percent and hit just 3 of 24 three-pointers.
Lindsey Moore led the Cornhuskers with 11 points, but on 5-of-18 shooting. Nebraska's leading scorer, Jordan Hooper, who averages 18.2 points, left with an ankle injury with eight minutes left and scored just six points, missing 11 of her 14 shots.
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