We started this tournament with five storylines, and we're going to finish with five things we learned now that the games are over.
Shockingly, they are a little different than what we started with.
1. Gary Blair is a man who can talk and a man who can coach. Blair, Texas A&M's gregarious head coach, now earns admission to basketball's cult of personality. Blair is a walking history of the women's game, from his high school days in Texas to his time at Louisiana Tech with Leon Barmore and Kim Mulkey to his history-making tenures at Arkansas and now Texas A&M. Blair might seem like a fine Southern gentleman with the drawl and his love for a good story, but he rode his team hard throughout the season, demanding their stamina and toughness and perseverance. And he got it all when it counted most.
He no longer is just the coach of the team that was the lowest seed to reach the Final Four. Now, at 65, he's the oldest coach to win the women's title.
2. Skylar Diggins has set herself up to be next year's big star in women's basketball. The Notre Dame point guard had an outstanding tournament with four 20-point games -- including 28 against Connecticut in the semifinals -- became a Twitter superstar, and took her team to the title game. But it was a rough ending for the sophomore, who had a costly turnover late in the championship game and left the floor without shaking hands with the Aggies players.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was asked if she would talk with Diggins down the line and help her gain perspective about her success and her disappointment in Indianapolis. "I think it's going to be a while for her to get that perspective," she said. "I think she's extremely hard on herself. And she will spend the entire summer, I'm sure, thinking about this game. And that's probably a good thing for us."
3. Don't assume. At the start of this tournament, we all talked about the No. 1 seeds -- Stanford, Connecticut, Baylor and Tennessee -- and almost nobody else. We all fantasized about the Connecticut-Tennessee semifinal and the Geno and Pat handshake. We pondered how Stanford would deal with Brittney Griner. We did so as if the matchups were a given. A title game between Notre Dame and Texas A&M is a good reminder for everyone that deserving teams come in all shapes and seeds. And that if this season didn't seem that deep, maybe it's because we weren't looking deeply enough.
4. The women can bring the Madness, too. This was a thrilling Final Four with three great games. The combined 16-point margin of victory was the smallest point differential in tournament history. And it was just the second time in the 30-year history of the women's tournament that all three games were decided by single-digit margins.
5. Defense can win championships in women's basketball. It is the team that can score efficiently that usually ends up holding the trophy. But the Aggies got through the first four games of the tournament by holding opponents under 50 points. They badgered Stanford and Notre Dame into mistakes in the Final Four, played from behind twice, hit some big shots and won a title. Refreshing all the way around.