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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish return home to take on Loyola Maryland

| Friday, November 8, 2019

After a road victory against Fordham on Tuesday, Notre Dame returns home to play Loyola Maryland on Friday at 6:30 p.m. For the Irish, this will be the first game back in the Purcell Pavilion since last year’s second round NCAA victory over Michigan State.

Head coach Muffet McGraw is looking to use the team’s first win to keep building momentum for future games. The quick turnaround from one game to another is most likely new to the freshmen on the team, marking the start of the season as a trial-by-fire for the young players.

McGraw explained both practice and play is going to require a lot of attention to detail.

“We want to look at the stats sheet and say, ‘We set good screens, we’ve rebounded well, we had more assists than turnovers, we shot well from the free-throw line’ — kind of the fundamentals, things that we can control,” McGraw said.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer
Irish junior center Mikayla Vaughn posts up a defender during Notre Dame’s first round NCAA tournament against Bethune Cookman on Mar. 23.

In terms of execution, McGraw said she was more concerned with her team’s defense than she was with the offense.

“We can’t control putting the ball in the basket, but how many points are we going to give up? Can we shut down the 3-point shooters? Can we play defense?” she said.

The game against Fordham revealed many of the team’s strengths and weaknesses, McGraw said. She said the game was especially helpful in starting to understand the mentalities and playing styles of many of the freshmen.

“They’re ready. They’re excited, but you never know what that’s going to look like in a game situation,” she said of the freshmen. “We didn’t have an exhibition game this year, so that was unfortunate. This was their very first time under the lights.”

The Irish will look to continue to spread the wealth on offense, as four different Notre Dame players scored double-digit points. Leading with 14 points were sophomore Katlyn Gilbert and freshman Sam Brunelle. Not far behind were freshman Anaya Peoples with 11 points and grad student Destinee Walker with 10 points. The win was a true team effort, and the Irish will need more of the same as their season progresses.

Moving forward, the team will be facing another non-regional opponent in Loyola Maryland. According to coach McGraw, the team is going to stick to the game plan and will not be preparing any differently to how they normally do.

The Loyola Maryland women’s basketball team is a part of the Patriot League and is currently unranked. The team is led by 15-year head coach Joe Logan. Last year, the Greyhounds finished their season with a 7-24 record.

Loyola Maryland is not the most challenging game on Notre Dame’s schedule, but it will be a test, nonetheless. The Irish always come into the season with lofty goals and high expectations. That fact remains the same, even with a new team that is just getting used to playing with each other.

Looking to make their record 2-0, expect a hard fought game from the Irish. Tip off is 6:30 p.m. in the Purcell Pavilion.

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