ND Women’s Basketball
Irish defeat Pitt at home for third straight conference victory
Inigo Yturralde | Monday, February 10, 2020
On Sunday the Notre Dame women’s basketball team faced off in a home battle against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Irish are currently 10-14 on the season and 5-7 in ACC play.
After a hard fought game, the Irish were victorious over Pitt, closing out the game with a final score of 74-52. The Irish rallied as a team to stretch their win streak to three consecutive games, a season high.
Reflecting on the game, Irish head coach Muffet McGraw reflected on her team’s performance.
“First off, I was really disappointed with all of the fouls. We showed a lack of discipline, I thought,” McGraw said. “For [graduate student guard] Destinee [Walker] and [freshman forward] Sam [Brunelle] to each get three fouls with a short bench, it is really hard to sub at that point. I think we can get better and I think we did in the second half. First time that we outrebounded a team in a while and that was big for us. Destinee really played well. 24 points in 25 minutes, that’s pretty good production. When she plays well, we play well.”
Destinee Walker made this night her own, with the 24 points in 25 minutes of play, 4 assists and two boards, the Orlando native continues to reaffirm every Notre Dame basketball fan’s suspicion that there is something special in Orlando’s water supply.
“She really is, she is really gaining confidence,” McGraw said. “She is in the gym all of the time, working on her shot and she is really feeling confident. We want her to shoot a lot and she is accepting that role now.”
Also a standout player last night for the Irish was sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert. Gilbert scored a total of 17 points, making her a major contributor to the team’s victory.
When asked what the team could do to learn from this game, McGraw had more to say about the team’s motivations than their ability.
“They have to move their feet, they have to box out and rebound, because we were just slapping at it,” McGraw said. “It wasn’t even a close call … we were moving, apparently, on all of our screens. I think that that is just focus and lack of discipline.”
After the win, star of the game, Destinee Walker was very pleased with her team’s performance.
“I think that we are all really excited,” Walker said. “We are starting to put a lot of pieces together and I think that this was a big win for us. We just have to keep this momentum going.”
Though she didn’t overshadow what the team can still improve on.
“In the first half we had a lot of turnovers and they were out rebounding us at the half,” Walker said. “So, I think that those are two big keys that we need to cut down on and making open shots, obviously.”
Accumulating three fouls in the first half meant that Muffet had to restrict Walker’s minutes in the second half. In response to how she managed to come off of the bench so hot, Walker said she used her momentum from this time to propel her forward.
“The whole time that I was sitting on the bench, I just wanted to come in and provide for my team,” Walker said. “While I was out and while Sam was out, Katlyn Gilbert held it down. When we got back in the game we just tried to provide as much momentum and energy as we could.”
Looking ahead, the Irish still have six games left in the regular season, before the ACC tournament. McGraw thinks that her team is more than ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
“We have a lot of really tough games ahead,” she said. “Everyone we play from here on out is above us. So, we will be the underdog going into every game. I think that is a good place for us to be. We just need to worry about playing well. We don’t have to worry about what’s going on in the standings or anything like that. We just have to go in and play our game and loosen up a little bit. I thought that we did that a lot tonight. I thought that we looked a little bit looser.”
The Irish women will be traveling to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts for their next game against Boston College. The game will take place on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.