Notre Dame and Texas A&M barreled through all four top-ranked seeds to make it to the NCAA title game, marking the first championship game without Connecticut or Tennessee in the past five years, and just the fourth in the last 15.
The run for the Irish has been especially thrilling, flying under the radar throughout the tournament before knocking off Tennessee and UConn in back-to-back games — a feat that has never been accomplished in tournament history.
The Aggies' run was just as remarkable, as they eliminated Baylor and Stanford en route to the program's first-ever appearance in the title game.
The new look to women's hoops is a refreshing change after what seemed to be a repetitive cycle of two dominant forces from Connecticut and Tennessee, and Texas A&M and Notre Dame fans aren't the only ones seeing the positive side of the shakeup.
"It's something new and fresh, which is a good sign," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said of the title matchup.
Auriemma is right on the money with his comment. By completing the unthinkable run that saw the downfall of all four top seeds, Notre Dame and Texas A&M are not only proving that the talent in the sport is expanding, but it also shines a spotlight on a collection of new stars within the game.
Take Irish point guard Skylar Diggins, who has quickly taken to that spotlight as her team advanced to the championship. The South Bend native saw her popularity skyrocket after she led her team to the 72-63 victory over the Huskies, gaining nearly 20,000 new Twitter followers overnight, in addition to shout outs from rappers Lil Wayne and Chris Brown after Sunday's 28-point effort.
The competitive expansion in women's college basketball can only mean positive things for the future, as new teams drive new interest and will attract more fans to the sport in the long run.
"Having two teams like Notre Dame and Texas A&M — given the teams they've beaten to get there –makes it even more compelling," Auriemma added. "It's not like they just snuck in and don't deserve to be there."
Will Notre Dame and Texas A&M's success spark a new era in women's college hoops? Share your thoughts below.
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