Diggins then took over the game.
The senior guard scored 12 points in the first seven minutes of the second half. She had six points, three steals, one block and an assist during an 11-0 run that gave the Irish a 16-point lead.
"She played great," Spani said. "She played fantastic. She hit shots for them. She was their leader emotionally. She willed their team to victory."
After trailing by as many as 19 points, Tennessee rattled the Irish with a furious rally over the final 10 minutes and cut the lead to 69-64 on Spani's free throw with 3:54 remaining.
That's when Diggins took over again.
She found Madison Cable for a layup that got the Irish out of danger. After Spani and Jasmine Jones missed jumpers on Tennessee's next possession, Diggins sank a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point game.
Notre Dame's lead wouldn't drop below eight again. One of the game's marquee personalities had come through on the big stage once again.
"With all those people out there, it's great for women's basketball," Diggins said. "When you go to college, you dream of playing in games like this."
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