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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish continue ACC play with roadtrip to Clemson

| Thursday, January 31, 2019

After sustaining a stunning defeat at the hands of unranked North Carolina last weekend, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team will look to rebound against another ACC opponent Thursday, visiting South Carolina to take on Clemson.

The Irish (19-2, 6-1 ACC) suffered what was only their second loss of the season Sunday, the first being a fall to Geno Auriemma’s No. 2-ranked UConn squad. The defeat cost the then-top-ranked Irish four spots in the rankings, as they now sit in fifth place nationally. Head coach Muffett McGraw attributed the loss as much to North Carolina’s (12-9, 3-4 ACC) strong play as she did to Notre Dame’s flaws.

“They made some great plays. So, a lot of it was what they did,” McGraw said.

Another factor in the game was that there were not many fouls called, so the Irish weren’t able to convert points from the line, McGraw said.

“We generally get to line a lot because we’re aggressive attacking the rim,” she said. “And, you know, we didn’t get there tonight.”

With the loss in their rear-view mirror, the Irish will now turn to face another conference opponent in another away game. Clemson (14-6, 5-2 ACC) sits at seventh in the conference, just four spots behind third-ranked Notre Dame.

Annie Smierciak

Junior guard Jackie Young goes up for a layup against UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson in Purcell Pavilion in the game between the two teams earlier this season

Prior to its 54-51 loss to No. 8 North Carolina State, Clemson went on a five-game winning streak, boasting an impressive 12-point victory against No. 22 Florida State. The Tigers have only lost at home twice this year, and they will look to continue to defend Littlejohn Coliseum when the Irish come to town on Thursday.

Clemson will be a formidable opponent, with three of its five starters averaging 10 or more points per game: junior center Kobi Thornton at 15.6, senior guard Simone Westbrook at 14.9 and senior guard Danielle Edwards at 13.5. The team as a whole is averaging 70.2 points per game, with an average scoring margin of +6.5. Notre Dame, on the other hand, is averaging 86.6 points per game, with an average margin of +23.6.

The Irish also have the advantage in shooting percentages, as Notre Dame is averaging 51.4 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from three, and Clemson is 42.3 percent on their field goals and just 29.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Irish also lead the all-time series 5-0, as they have bested the Tigers three times at home in Purcell Pavilion and twice in Greensboro.

The last time Notre Dame visited Clemson was in February of 2017, when the team took home an 84-80 win. Much more decisive was last year’s Irish victory, when they beat the Tigers by 53 points, ending the game with a final score of 90-37.

On the rebound from a conference loss to an unranked opponent, Notre Dame will look to get its season back on track with a win over a solid ACC team. The Irish will only face in-conference opposition in the season from this point forward. Tip-off in Greensboro is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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