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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish to take on DePaul at home

| Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Notre Dame women’s basketball team will host one more game in Purcell Pavilion this week before Christmas break.

The squad is coming off of a defeat at the hands rival No. 2 UConn — the Huskies (8-0) beat the Irish (5-6) 81-57 in Storrs, Connecticut this weekend in a rivalry that means much to both programs. Notre Dame has lost to UConn in the regular season for the past two years, but ended up beating UConn down the line in March in the Final Four. This loss was much different than those of the past two seasons, however. The Irish lost to the Huskies last year 89-71 and in the 2017-18 season 81-70.

Kendra Osinski | The Observer
Notre Dame graduate student guard Marta Sniezek backs down a defender on the block during Notre Dame’s 75-67 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 4.

The loss Sunday marked the sixth loss on the Irish season, and it is the first time they have been under the .500 mark this deep in the season since 1995. 

Notre Dame will be returning home with a two-game losing streak held above their head as they play host to DePaul, a team that should not be taken lightly. The Blue Demons (7-1) have put up dominating performances against top-ranked teams this year. Their only loss of the year came to now-No. 4 Oregon State. And they will be riding a hot streak coming into South Bend on Wednesday night: After their defeat to Oregon State, they went on to defeat Arkansas State in humiliating fashion by a final score of 109-64, and then-No.16 Miami — who has subsequently fallen to No. 25 — 89-83. 

The Irish will be coming in hungry for a win after dropping their last two games since their return from Mexico, where they won just one of the three they played. But DePaul, who is scheduled to tipoff against UConn next Tuesday, will be looking to prove their worth on the national stage, too. The Blue Demons are led by senior forward Chante Stonewall, who leads the team with 139 points this season. In addition to being the team’s most important scorer on offense, she is also a powerful force on the other side of the ball. Stonewall leads the team in both steals and blocks with 30 and six, respectively. At 6’1,” the do-it-all forward can also pull down boards at ease, and she is second on the team in rebounds with 48. When Stonewall needs a feed, she can look to senior point guard Kelly Campbell, who isn’t as vertically gifted as Stonewall, but has proven herself a gritty player on the court. Campbell leads the Blue Demons in rebounds with 59, and the point guard can easily get the ball to her teammates who have been at the back end of her 51 assists this season.

The Irish have played three more games than the Blue Demons, yet the Blue Demons have already passed the Irish assist total with 179 on the year to Notre Dame’s 141. DePaul averages 22.4 assists per game while the Irish only 12.8. The Blue Demons also nearly have the Irish’s number in scoring: They have put up 694 through their eight games; Notre Dame has scored 716 through 11 games. DePaul has the fourth-best scoring offense in the country at the moment, as well, behind only No. 3 Oregon — led by star senior guard Sabrina Ionescu — Abilene Christian and No. 15 Mississippi State. Plus, the Blue Demons have held their opponents to 579 points. The Irish have allowed 725.

The Blue Demons will certainly be looking for a statement win over the Irish to bolster their confidence as they prepare to take on the Huskies, but the Irish are in need of a bounce-back victory after a lackluster month — a scary contrast to last year’s 35-4 team.

The Irish will tip off against the Blue Demons on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion.

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