Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins celebrates in the closing minute...

Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins celebrates in the closing minute of Notre Dame's 73-59 win over Tennessee in Dayton, Ohio. (Mar. 28, 2011) Credit: AP

DAYTON, Ohio -- The wait was certainly worth it for Notre Dame.

Skylar Diggins scored 24 points and second-seeded Fighting Irish made up for 28 years of beatings at the hands of Tennessee, upsetting the top-seeded Lady Vols, 73-59, Monday night to earn a spot in the Final Four.

The Fighting Irish (30-7) came in 0-20 all-time against the Lady Vols. But the operative number on this night was 3-0 -- Notre Dame's record in regional championship games. The Irish are headed to the Final Four for the first time since 2001, when they won the national championship.

Natalie Novosel added 17 points and Becca Bruszewski -- who didn't practice Sunday and was listed as questionable to even play with a knee injury -- had 13 for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame advanced to the play the winner of Tuesday night's game between top-ranked Connecticut (35-1) and second-seeded Duke (32-3).

Taber Spani and Shekinna Stricklen had 13 points for the Lady Vols (34-3). Glory Johnson added 12. "I'm so excited, I'm out of breath," said Diggins, selected as the regional's most outstanding player.

It was a watershed win after years of losing -- sometimes close, usually not so close -- to mighty Tennessee. The day before the game, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw and her players were clearly upset to be reminded about their long drought against the Lady Vols.

It was also another disappointing end for the Lady Vols, who are accustomed to muscling their way into the national title picture under coach Pat Summitt. -- AP

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