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Title game played "at highest level"

Gary Blair watched the men's national championship game between Butler and Connecticut on Monday night.

He called it a "struggle" for the Bulldogs, who shot only 19 percent for the game.

The women's national title game didn't have No. 1 seeds either.

But its matchup between No. 2 seeds Texas A&M and Notre Dame provided a much better show.

"We gave you that game (on the highest level)," A&M coach Blair said. "We gave you that national championship game without the so-called powers of the world. The two powers (Tuesday) were the two that earned it, and that's Notre Dame and that's Texas A&M.

"Either one of us deserves this trophy, but we played just a little bit better in the second half."

The Aggies won their first national championship by shooting 55 percent. They had assists on 14 of 29 baskets. They had eight steals. Danielle Adams, an All-American, had 30 points and nine rebounds.

But Notre Dame shot 46 percent and made 20 of 26 free throws. They had 10 steals and forced 18 turnovers. Skylar Diggins, an All-American, had 23 points and four steals.

"Women's basketball needed this game perhaps more than Texas A&M or Notre Dame needed it," Blair said.

McGraw assumed the game would be a defensive struggle.

It rarely was.

"I thought this was going to be an uglier game, and I was right on our part at the start of it," she said. "But I think both teams really did a much better job as the game went on. So I thought both teams played hard defensively.

"Not so entertaining from my point of view, but I think from a fan's perspective, it was probably a pretty entertaining game."

And this excitement-filled tournament should reward its winning coach.

At least Blair thinks so.

"I want to go to Disney World with my family," said Blair, drawing laughter from reporters. "Nobody asked me on TV, but that's where I want to go. Preferably free. Me and (UConn men's coach Jim) Calhoun could take our grandkids and it would just be a great promotion. Calhoun and me. He doesn't know who the hell I am, but I know who he is. But I want to take my grandkids to Disney World."