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ND Women’s Basketball: No. 6 Irish enter Big East tournament as No. 5 seed

Jared Jedick | Thursday, March 4, 2010

The No. 6 Irish will head to the Big East Championship this weekend after earning the No. 5 seed and a first-round bye. Notre Dame will face the winner of No. 12-seed Pittsburgh and No. 13-seed Louisville on Saturday.

Notre Dame (25-4, 12-4) just missed earning a second-round bye as well. Its conference record matched that of No. 4-seed St. John’s, but the Irish lost the head-to-head matchup, 76-7, on Feb. 16.

The Irish are also seeded behind national No. 1 Connecticut (30-0, 16-0), No. 7 West Virginia (26-4, 13-3) and No. 12 Georgetown (25-5, 13-3).

The Irish fell to Connecticut for the second time Monday in a 76-51 home loss. If both were to advance, Notre Dame would end up facing the Huskies in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

But first the Irish will await the winner of the first round match-up between Pittsburgh (16-13, 6-11) and Louisville (13-16, 6-11).

Each team presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for the Irish.
Freshman guard Skylar Diggins enjoyed one of her best games of the season against Pittsburgh on Feb. 6 in an 86-76 Irish win. She posted career highs with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame also outscored the Panthers in the paint, 46-34, as well as out-rebounding them, 38-32.

Louisville, on the other hand, gave the Irish problems early in the game when the two teams played on Jan 19. The Irish fell behind by as many as 12 points in the first half against the Cardinals.

The Irish rebounded in the second half, though, using an eight-minute run with 20 turnovers and no Louisville field goals to secure the 78-60 win.

Back in the lineup is senior forward Lindsay Schrader, whose weeklong absence after a sprained ankle coincided with Notre Dame losses to St. John’s and Georgetown.

 Schrader leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per game and is third on the team in scoring with 11.2 points per game.

The Irish will look to rebound quickly from their loss to Connecticut and build some momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament.

The Irish will tip-off on Saturday at noon against either Pittsburgh or Louisville in Hartford, Conn.

If the Irish can defeat the Panthers or Cardinals, they’ll play a rematch against St. John’s on Saturday in the quarterfinals at noon.