DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Moments before they climbed the blue stepladder to cut down the net, Skylar Diggins and her Notre Dame teammates joined arms, formed a circle and did a jig at the free-throw line.
There's a little history in that step.
The Fighting Irish began kicking up their heels during the 1999-2000 season, turning it into a pregame ritual. They danced all the way to the national title the following year, good reason to turn the ritual into a tradition.
Ten years later, they're high-stepping it back to the Final Four.
Diggins scored a season-high 24 points with her clutch left-handed shot, steadying the Fighting Irish through the tough moments of their 73-59 victory over Tennessee for the regional championship on Monday night.
Notre Dame (30-7) will play either Big East rival Connecticut or Duke in the semifinals. No question who they prefer.
"We're definitely cheering for the Big East," coach Muffet McGraw said. "We'd like to have two Final Four teams from the Big East."
UConn beat them 79-76 at Notre Dame and 78-57 at home during the regular season, then again 73-64 in the conference tournament. Given what happened on Monday night, the Fighting Irish figure the math is on their side.
The second-seeded Irish were 0-20 all time against top-seeded Tennessee (34-3), taking 28 years of beatings. The seemed to be pretty even teams with contrasting styles heading into game No. 21 in their one-sided series — the Lady Vols with muscle upfront and young guards, while the Fighting Irish do it with hustle on defense and a fast-paced attack.