Analysis: Maryland 76, Louisville 73

Key player: Katie Rutan. Maryland had only two players with more than 23 3-pointers entering Tuesday's game, so there isn't much subterfuge as to where the shots are going to come from. Still, Louisville too often lost contact with Rutan and allowed the senior, who attempts more than 75 percent of her shots from behind the arc, to get clean looks from long distance. They should know better. When Louisville upset Xavier in the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament, it did so despite five 3-pointers from Rutan, who later transferred to Maryland. So in two career NCAA tournament games against the Cardinals, she has nine 3-pointers. In 11 other tournament games, she has 18 of them.

She did all of her damage in the first half, but that was enough to keep the Terrapins within range of a run.

How it was won: An ugly win is still a beautiful feeling when it means a trip to the Final Four, so Maryland isn't likely to care about the artistic merits of Monday's win. And physical and gritty is a style that tends to work for Maryland. Aside from Schimmel, who was brilliant early, and some good looks from Antonita Slaughter, Maryland's defense seemed to speed up Louisville and dull the execution that it so often displayed in games like this in the past. There wasn't a lot that separated the teams in this game, not field goal shooting, rebounding or points in the paint. But until Schimmel's late flurry of 3-pointers made things uncomfortable, the Terrapins seemed more comfortable with a game that made up in energy what it lacked in precision.

Not so sweet home: With venues a hot topic this postseason, Maryland becomes the first team to win a regional final on an opponent's home court since 1996, when Tennessee beat Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

What's next: Maryland advances to face No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the Final Four in Nashville. The Terrapins came as close as any team to ending the Fighting Irish's bid at perfection when the teams played in College Park on Jan. 27. A slow start put them in a big hole, but Thomas took over in the second half and Notre Dame was fortunate, if not necessarily lucky, to escape with a four-point win. Maryland also played a pair of No. 1 seeds from the ACC in its most recent Final Four appearance in 2006, beating ACC rivals North Carolina and Duke en route to its first national championship. The Terrapins made trips to the Final Four in 1982 and 1989.

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