It wasn't always pretty, but Notre Dame took a 29-24 lead into halftime over Tennessee in the Dayton Regional final in the University of Dayton Arena.
The Irish suffered through a 6 ½ minute scoring drought after taking a 13-7 lead with 14:32 left in the half.
But after the Volunteers took a 17-15 lead on a three-point play by Vicki Baugh with 7:02 left in the half, the Irish took off on a 12-2 run to lead 27-19 with 2:08 to play in the half.
During that run, Irish guard Skylar Diggins scored her 1,000th career point.
Notre Dame forward Becca Bruszewski, who was moving slow after suffering a knee injury Saturday, gave the Irish a 29-21 with a pair of free throws, but Tennessee's Taber Spani hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut Notre Dame's lead to five at the break.
Diggins and Bruszewski each had nine points in the first half.
Baugh leads the Volunteers with eight points, and Shekinna Stricklen and Spani each have five.
Tennessee freshman guard and leading scorer Meighan Simmons only played four minutes after picked up two quick fouls. The lightening quick guard could cause trouble for Notre Dame in the second half.