All-American Jewell Loyd scored 22 points and Madison Cable's only basket of the game lifted Notre Dame to a 66-65 victory over Final Four newcomer South Carolina in the national semifinals on Sunday night.
The Irish (36-2) advanced to the NCAA championship game for the fourth time in five years, surviving a scoring drought that lasted nearly seven minutes down the stretch.
The Irish have not been able to win it all since coach Muffet McGraw led them to their only national title in 2001.
Jewell said no one boxed out Cable on her game-winning basket, adding: "She's done it all year. She's the MVP."
South Carolina (34-3) overcame a 12-point, first-half deficit and did it again in the closing minutes. The Gamecocks used a 13-0 run to take their only lead on Aleighsa Welch's putback with 1:12 remaining.