Freshman Taya Reimer, who will step into the starting lineup for injured Natalie Achonwa, doesn't need to win the game for Notre Dame. But it's going to be difficult for the Irish to advance past Maryland without her.
Tuesday's regional final came down to a spectacular showdown between Alyssa Thomas and Shoni Schimmel. Maryland emerged the winner, preventing Thomas from joining a long list of great players who never reached a Final Four.
Alyssa Thomas scored 22 points, Katie Rutan hit clutch 3-pointers and freshman Lexie Brown kept the Terps composure as No. 4 seed Maryland overcame a four-point halftime deficit to beat No. 3 seed Louisville 76-73.
It's not that Alyssa Thomas and Shoni Schimmel can't do it all on their own. But on Sunday, with the help of teammates such as Maryland's Lauren Mincy and Louisville's Tia Gibbs and Asia Taylor, the senior stars didn't have to.
In the end, Notre Dame walked away with its second big road win in a week. But to get there, Notre Dame's Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd and Maryland's Alyssa Thomas pushed each other to a level only they could reach.
Playing short-handed, it was clear Friday just how small Connecticut's margin for error is right now. But in putting together a 72-55 victory over No. 8 Maryland, the gap between the Huskies and the rest of the country remains.