Notre Dame Looking to Avenge Regular Season Loss to WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Notre Dame Looking to Avenge Regular Season Loss to WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

Before Brooke Hampton stepped aboard the bus that would begin her trip to Hartford, Connecticut, she mentioned how much she and her teammates were looking forward to correcting some missteps they made in the regular season.

With the opportunity to face teams like Providence and Georgetown in their first two games on the Big East tournament, the Mountaineers could avenge losses from earlier in the schedule.

"You just play one game at a time and you just keep advancing to the next round and I think we'll get a little bit of revenge of some of the teams that we lost [to] earlier in the season," Hampton, a sophomore guard, said.

Providence never made it past Syracuse to take on WVU, but Hampton was able to make good on her word by helping take out the Hoyas in ugly fashion Sunday afternoon with a 39-32 victory at the XL Center.

Now she and the Mountaineers are set to suit up against a team that wants to do to West Virginia precisely what Hampton said she'd like to do to those other teams.

Notre Dame only lost once in its conference scheduled this season, and that was to WVU.

In fact, it was Hampton's late free throws that sealed the upset win and when the clock ran out, it was Hampton who was at the center of a celebration on the opponent's court.

That win lifted WVU's season to a different level from where it had been and helped propel Mike Carey's squad to the success that it enjoyed en route to a No. 5 seed in the tournament.

The Fighting Irish rebounded from the loss just fine, but that doesn't erase the memory of what at the time was a tough defeat to accept.

"We lost by two, and when you lose by two, any mistake is the reason why you lost," Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins said Sunday. "But it's a good opportunity for us tomorrow to come in and get some revenge. It's going to be a good game. They're a physical team, and we have to come out with a better start than we did tonight."

Any number of players for WVU could scoff at the notion that Diggins thinks her team needs to be the one with greater effort early after the 15 points the Mountaineers mustered in the first half of their game.

Notre Dame won its quarterfinal matchup over DePaul 69-54 and on the season, the Irish lead the nation with an average of 81 points per game.

Score 39 like WVU did against the Hoyas and it just may lose by 39.

Match that 18-point first half effort against Pitt (the worst team in the league) and Notre Dame (the No. 1 seed) will jump on the opportunity to put away the only opponent that kept it from a perfect season in the Big East.

The same way Hampton and company met Sugar Rodgers and Georgetown with an appetite for payback, the Irish are out to correct what they believe was a mistake back in January.

"Definitely we'll come out with a chip on our shoulder. I think we play better with a chip on our shoulder," says Diggins. "And it's good to have a second chance because they beat us at home and it gives us another opportunity to advance into the championship."

West Virginia has that same opportunity, though. To think that this team, which was picked to finish ninth in the preseason conference poll, isn't just as hungry or more so to get to the title game would be ludicrous.

With an NCAA tournament bid secure, the conference crown is all the Mountaineers have any interest in right now.

"I've been saying all along that right now I'm focused on the Big East and I really want to win the Big East championship," says junior center Asya Bussie.

If you want to win a championship, you typically have to go through the best to get it. West Virginia has the tough task of finding some way to beat a team that has just two losses all season and has the motivation of knowing that one of them came at the hands of WVU.

On Monday at 6 p.m., the two teams will fight for their spot in the title bout.

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