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Women’s Basketball: Game against Cincy has postseason implications

Eric Retter | Friday, February 24, 2006

For the Irish, Saturday’s game against Cincinnati will be all about Big East Tournament seeding.


The Irish (15-10, 6-8) who are currently in 11th place in the conference and have virtually locked up their spot in the Big East Tournament, will try to improve their seed against the Bearcats (17-8, 7-7), who are currently tied for 8th place.

“Cincinnati’s fighting to get a better position and so are we,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said.

The Irish, however, could still potentially face the unlikely scenario of missing out on the postseason, as a two-game Notre Dame losing streak and two and three-game win streaks by West Virginia and Seton Hall, respectively, would throw the three teams into a three-way tie for two postseason slots.

That being said, Notre Dame could end all speculation with a win, and McGraw anticipates that her team will elevate its game.

“I think we’ve got to go into every game and be aggressive because everybody’s fighting at this point,” she said.

The Irish will be led by senior All- American Megan Duffy, who currently averages team highs in points and assists with 15.6 and 4.2, respectively. Against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Duffy shot 5-9 from 3-point range on her way to scoring 22 points.

Surging freshman guard Shelly Bellman, who was co-Big East player of the week last week, will help lead the Bearcat offense on Wednesday.

“We’regoing to look at a couple of different things again at practice [Friday] and see what looks best [to shut her down],” McGraw said.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Duffy and the Irish certainly don’t feel any less pressure heading into the next-to-last regular season game.

“Well, I think we’ve felt like we have to finish strong. We want to win all our games, so I don’t think there’s any less pressure,” McGraw said. “But I think there’s definitely a feeling of confidence, knowing we played really well in the second half [against West Virginia].”

The Irish, like every team in the conference, are hoping a strong finish will improve their chances for postseason opportunities.

“I think everybody’s gonna look at the postseason now, the league’s gonna get a lot of teams into the tournament plus the NIT,” McGraw said. “There’s a lot of postseason hopes for everybody, so everybody’s really gotta elevate their game.”