"That was game-saving. That was huge," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "That would have turned it around if they made that layup. She sprinted the floor, made that huge play. It gave us such a big momentum lift, and Britt hitting that three made it a huge play."
Notre Dame (35-3) also beat the Huskies (33-5) in the semifinals last year, ending Maya Moore's brilliant career and the Huskies' bid for a third straight national championship. But Notre Dame stumbled 48 hours later, losing to Texas A & M in the title game in Indianapolis.
Unfinished business has been the Irish's mantra all season, and now they get a chance to take care of business Tuesday night against undefeated Baylor.
The game was tied at 67 after regulation following an 8-2 run by UConn that was fueled by a series of hustle plays from Kelly Faris, who had a steal and a basket and four free throws in the final 90 seconds.
The Huskies, who were led by Stefanie Dolson's 20 points despite foul trouble, stretched their run to 11-3 when Bria Hartley opened the extra period with a three-pointer.
The Huskies had the ball again after a missed free throw but Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis fired up an off-target three-pointer early in the shot clock and UConn never recovered.
"We put ourselves in a position to win the game," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "The last 2 minutes, minute-and-a-half of regulation were pretty amazing. As most games do, it turned on one great play by a great player.
"In overtime we didn't have enough."
"I am euphoric right now for Brittany Mallory," McGraw said. "What a way for senior to come through in one of the last games of her career."
Natalie Novosel led the Irish with 20 points, including her follow-up hook shot with 4.6 seconds left in regulation to tied it.
"It was a whirlwind," Novosel said. "Two turnovers from each team. Sky was going to take them off the dribble and we were going to work off of her. I was fortunate the ball came right to me and I was able to put it in."
In the other semifinal:
* Brittney Griner had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead unbeaten Baylor to a 59-47 win over Stanford. Baylor (39-0) is one victory from becoming the seventh team to finish unbeaten and has a chance to be the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games in a season.
Stanford (35-2), which ended its school-record 32-game winning streak, got 22 points from Nnemkadi Ogwumike.