Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma joined some elite company on Tuesday night after his team claimed a third straight national title.
Moriah Jefferson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each posted 15 points, Naismith Trophy winner Breanna Stewart pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds and Connecticut won its 10 national title under Auriemma with a 63-53 win over Notre Dame.
Auriemma joins famed UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden for the most titles all-time in college basketball. The Huskies (38-1) also became just the third team to secure three straight national championships, joining UConn's teams from 2002-04 and Tennessee from 1996-98.
Stewart won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award for a second consecutive season.
Brianna Turner led the Irish (36-3) with 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds and Jewell Loyd added 12 points in the loss. The Irish suffered two of their three losses to the dominant Huskies, also falling to them at home, 76-58, in early December.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw fell to 1-4 in National Championships. The Irish also dropped last year's title game to the Huskies.
Notre Dame grabbed an early lead entering the first media timeout, but UConn came out of the short break on a 12-2 run for an 18-11 lead. The Irish went scoreless for the final 3:43 of the half -- with Loyd's basket cutting the deficit to four -- and trailed 31-23.
Stewart, who earned her second straight Naismith Trophy earlier in the day, briefly left the game in the first half after falling awkwardly on the floor. She returned to the court, however, after medical personnel tended to her injured ankle.
Michaela Mabrey converted a 3-pointer to open the scoring in the second, then the Huskies went on a 7-0 burst to take a 38-26 lead.
Brianna Turner scored eight straight points for Notre Dame at one stretch, but UConn had an answer each time. Her layup with 7 1/2 minutes to play cut the Irish deficit to five prior to Kia Nurse netting a 3 for a 54-46 lead.
The Huskies really put the pressure on late when Mosqueda-Lewis buried a trey and followed with a jumper that stretched the margin to 61-50 with just over four minutes remaining.