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ND Women’s Basketball: Squad readies for rematch

Vicky Jacobsen | Friday, March 1, 2013

When Providence visited the Irish on Jan. 26, things didn’t go so well for the Friars. They lost, 89-44, on the day Irish senior guard Skylar Diggins scored her 2,000th point while Notre Dame held the Friars’ star senior guard Symone Roberts to just 1-of-8 shooting.

But Irish coach Muffet McGraw doesn’t expect the Friars (7-20, 2-12 Big East) to be so easy to handle this time around, when the No. 2 Irish (26-1, 14-0) travel to Providence for a late-season rematch.

“I think it’s difficult when you beat a team once to have to play them again,” McGraw said. 

Roberts leads the team with an average of 14.3 points per game, but she scored just two points in 27 minutes during her visit to South Bend.

“She’s a really good player. I think she’s an all-conference type player, and she’s having a really good year,” McGraw said. “And I think she’ll be ready to make things turn out differently for her team this year.”

Providence might’ve struggled in its first game against the Irish, but its games since then have been just as disappointing. The Friars have lost seven of eight games since their trip to South Bend, with their lone win coming in a double-overtime match at Pittsburgh.

But their 65-60 overtime win over Villanova at home Jan. 23 is enough to make an opposing coach worry.

“They’re a team that relies on their guards, and their guards have been playing well,” McGraw said. “But it’s a tough conference, it’s a tough league and they had a great win over Villanova, who was a ranked team at the time, so their certainly capable.”

With a nationally-broadcast match-up against No. 3 UConn on Monday and a 45-point win over Providence already in the bag, it would be easy for the Irish to overlook the Friars. But McGraw said she’s not worried about that happening.

“I don’t really have to say anything,” McGraw said. “This team has great leadership with our upperclassmen and veteran players. They understand how important this game is, and it’ll be their job to make sure they don’t look past [Providence].”

The game will be the second to last conference match-up of the season for the Irish, who currently have a perfect 14-0 Big East record.

Tipoff against Providence will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mullaney Gymnasium in Providence, R.I.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu