LEXINGTON, Ky. — Notre Dame and Stanford aren’t looking at Friday’s game as a rematch, even though they’re meeting in an NCAA women’s regional semifinal for the second straight season.
Both teams say their rosters have changed since their last matchup, making it hard to read too much into Notre Dame’s 81-60 victory in the 2015 Oklahoma City Regional semifinal. They’ll meet again today in the Lexington Regional semifinal.
The winner of Friday’s game faces either No. 3 seed Kentucky (25-7) or No. 7 seed Washington (24-10) on Sunday with a Final Four bid at stake. The top-seeded Fighting Irish (33-1) are seeking their sixth straight Final Four appearance, while No. 4 seed Stanford (26-7) is seeking its 13th overall Final Four berth.
The Cardinal insist they aren’t talking much about avenging last season’s loss.
“We really don’t think about revenge,” Stanford forward Erica McCall said. “We’re thinking it’s a completely different game with two different teams, two different game plans.”
Stanford’s plan should start with trying to contain Allen, who scored a career-high 28 points against the Cardinal last season.
Notre Dame’s status as the No. 1 seed puts the Cardinal (26-7) in an unfamiliar underdog role. Stanford’s players say they’re embracing that approach.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer noted that her team feels as if it’s playing with “house money” after needing Lili Thompson’s 3-point play with 8.2 seconds left to escape with a 66-65 second-round victory over South Dakota State.
“Some (of us) call ourselves the ‘party crashers,’ the team that’s just going to come in there and crash the party and is going to get the upset,” McCall said.