Huskies, Cardinal have experience on their side

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INDIANAPOLIS --- Playing in the Final Four has become an annual rite of spring for Connecticut and Stanford.

The two veteran teams hope that their experience will buoy them to another national championship matchup Tuesday night.

"Well, I wish they just gave you points right up on the board, but obviously that's not the case," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I think that there's maybe a certain amount of more calmness, that's all I would say having gone back. People know a little bit more what to expect."

While UConn and Stanford have each made it to the Final Four the past four seasons, Notre Dame earned its first trip since 2001, and Texas A&M is making its first appearance.

Connecticut has been able to put all of the Final Four distractions aside the past two seasons in winning consecutive national titles. Coach Geno Auriemma feels that his team has an edge because of those victories.

"One thing is the absolute truth, there's only one team playing right now that knows how to win a national championship," he said. "Only a couple kids playing know how to win a national championship and I'm fortunate to have them on my team."

To win an eighth title overall, the Huskies will have to first get through Notre Dame -- a team they've already beaten three times this season.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw only needs to look across the bracket to Texas A&M for inspiration on beating the Huskies. The Aggies beat Baylor in the regional final after falling to the Lady Bears three times this season.

Stanford hasn't brought home the title since 1992 despite reaching the NCAA final twice in the program's past three trips to the Final Four.

"For Kayla and I and the other seniors, we're very focused coming into this Final Four," Stanford senior Jeanette Pohlen said. "It's tough making it that far and not coming away with the national championship. I think it's motivating us even more and making us even more excited because we do know this is our last chance at it. We've gone this far. We're just going to give it all we have."


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