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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish fall short at home against Hokies

| Friday, February 21, 2020

Notre Dame faced off against Virginia Tech at home Thursday night. This was a big game for the Irish (10-17, 5-10 ACC) women, as the Hokies (20-6, 10-5 ACC) are a top tier ACC opponent. The final score of the game did not go in favor of the Irish, as the Hokies won the game 68-62.

After the game, there was much to debrief and go over as head coach Muffet McGraw analyzed her team’s performance.

“We just cannot get a rebound. We’ve been working on boxing out, but it’s just not translating for us,” McGraw said. “Offensively I thought that we had a lot of good looks. In the first half we could not make a shot. We got a lot of layups early. We just couldn’t connect. You know, when you don’t rebound, you miss one shot and that’s all of the opportunities that you get. We have got to find somebody that wants to rebound.”

Among the stand out performers for the Irish was sophomore Katlyn Gilbert. The 5-foot-10-inch guard from Indianapolis led the team in rebounds, an area where McGraw thought everyone was lacking. Gilbert had eight rebounds and six points with 29 minutes of playing time.

Nathanial George | The Observer

Notre Dame graduate guard Destinee Walker looks to cross up a Virginia Tech defender on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion

Another star for the Irish was freshman forward Sam Brunelle. Racking up 20 points against the Hokies, Brunelle led the Irish in scoring. The young Irish player showed great leadership both in transition and in looking to get open for the three ball.

Big things are to come for the Irish as Brunelle continues to develop her game with complimentary players around her.

McGraw had high praise for Brunelle’s performance.

“She always shoots well in practice. I thought that was a great game for her on the offensive end. We didn’t even look for her that much. I think that she found herself some spots. I think that we can look for her even more,” McGraw said.

McGraw also explained that the Irish failed to make a scoring push until it was too late.

“I think that the fourth quarter was too little, too late. The first quarter was really disappointing because I think that we got demoralized by our inability to score,” McGraw said. “We would miss a layup, put our heads down and they would go ahead and score. That really hurt us. I think that we looked confused as to who the shooters were. I think that we were trying to guard four and two, but we left [Hokie sophomore guard] Dara [Mabrey] open quite a bit and she made us pay for it. We need to be smarter on defense.”

The Irish will play against Syracuse on Sunday at home. This is another big game for the Irish, as the Orange (15-11, 9-6 ACC) is currently sixth in the conference.

The Irish will need to make quick adjustments from Thursday’s game in order to beat the Orange at home. McGraw believes her team has the necessary pieces to succeed, it is only a matter of putting them all to use at once.

Tip off for this game will be at noon.

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