NEW YORK (AP) — Louisville and Notre Dame each came away with a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference women’s crown.
The two schools were co-champs, finishing the regular season with one loss apiece in ACC play. It’s the first time the Cardinals have won a regular-season title in 17 years, since back when they were in Conference USA.
“This is the hardest that I’ve pushed a team during the regular season because we had the opportunity to win a conference championship,” coach Jeff Walz said. “It’s 11 years in the works.”
The Irish won a fifth straight ACC title.
“I think that’s the first deep breath I’ve taken since Nov. 1,” coach Muffet McGraw said Sunday after her team overcame four ACL injuries during the season. “I’m just so proud of this team and what they have overcome. We kept losing people during the year, but we never put our heads down or felt sorry for ourselves. They just came to work every single day. This was the most rewarding championship I think we’ve had.”
The Cardinals are the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament after beating Notre Dame in early January.
Other tidbits from the week:
SUIT: South Carolina coach Dawn Staley is suing Missouri’s athletic director , saying he slandered her when he suggested she created an atmosphere that encouraged fans to spit on his players and use racial slurs. Staley’s suit asked for no more than $75,000 in damages from Jim Sterk for disparaging her reputation.
The Gamecocks coach called the accusations “serious and false” right after they were made and said she lost sleep over them.
South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner investigated, interviewing security personnel and others at the arena and found no evidence of spitting or racial slurs. He asked Sterk to retract his comments.
POLL WATCH: It’s been 38 years since Mercer was last in the Top 25 and that streak could end Monday. The Bears have won 24 straight games — tying the program record — and are 27-2 on the season. They’ve already surpassed the school mark for victories and went 14-0 in the Southern Conference.
MOVIN’ ON UP: Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell climbed to third on the NCAA career scoring list, passing Brittney Griner on Sunday. Mitchell has 3,286 points, three more than the former Baylor star. The Buckeyes star had 22 in a win over Penn State that helped the team clinch the outright Big Ten regular-season title. She’s 107 points behind Jackie Stiles for second on the all-time list and 241 away from Kelsey Plum’s record. Mitchell has a maximum of nine games left if the Buckeyes reach both the Big Ten Tournament final and NCAA title game, and she’d have to average 26.8 points to break the mark.
STRONG ON THE BOARDS: Duke senior Rebecca Greenwell has pulled down eight or more rebounds in eight straight games, the longest current streak in the ACC. The eight consecutive games is a school record for a guard. Greenwell also moved into a tie for 12th place on Duke’s all-time rebounding list with 738.
Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dougfeinberg
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