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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish stomp Tar Heels on Senior Night, win 83-65

| Friday, February 28, 2020

Thursday night, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team pulled off a win over UNC in their last home game of the season. The Irish finished the game with a score of 83-65. This burst of momentum could prove useful for the Irish with the ACC tournament less than a week away.

After the game, Irish head coach Muffet McGraw expressed her appreciation to both her team and the team’s loyal supporters.

“I am so thankful that we could end our season with two wins at home,” McGraw said. “We really struggled at home this year, and we wanted to give that small gift to our fans for all that they have done for us. This year has been difficult and to have them come back night after night, we just really appreciate their loyalty and support. They inspired us tonight.”

Nathanial George | The Observer

Irish freshman forward Sam Brunelle looks to pass during Notre Dame’s 68-62 loss to Virginia Tech on Feb. 20.

The team jumped quickly into action, outscoring the visiting Tarheels opposition 21-16 in the first quarter. The Irish led the game in scoring for the first three periods of the game. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to a stellar offensive performance.

McGraw commented on the team’s production on that end of the court.

“That was definitely our best offensive outing of the year,” she said. “We shot it well in every quarter and to have 26 assists on 33 field goals is kind of like the old days. That was really good to see.”

Late in the game, McGraw sent a lineup of walk-ons onto the court to get a taste of victory in Purcell Pavilion. After the game, McGraw praised the walk-ons as an integral part of the team.

“It is so fun to be able to give them that chance because they are at practice every day, in the weight room every day, and they are doing everything that they need to do, but they don’t get any time on the court,” McGraw said. “It was great to be able to give them that moment.”

This game was another that put Irish freshman Sam Brunelle on the map for ACC rookie of the year. When asked if she thought Brunelle was in contention, McGraw answered confidently.

“I do. I think that [sophomore] Katlyn Gilbert is in the mix as well,” she said. “Looking at the conference, I don’t see anybody better. I think that [ Brunelle] has had a terrific year and she has done so many things. She is finishing strong. … It would be great for us to see that”

Reflecting upon her own performance and the end of the season so near, Brunelle commented on how it felt to end the season on a two-game winning streak.

“It is amazing because it has definitely been a bit of a rollercoaster, to say the least,” Brunelle said. “It is great that we have won two in a row, and it is nice to know that we are finishing strong. We still have a lot more to play moving forward. We just want to finish as strong as we can continuing on.”

Looking ahead to Florida State, the team still has a lot to prepare for. With that, Brunelle has no doubt her Irish team has what it takes to compete at the highest level.

“We have so much more fight than we think we do,” Brunelle said. “I think that is something that took us a while to find, and we are not even completely there yet, but towards the end of the season we have been showing that we’ve got it. It is exciting to know the potential that we have there moving forward.”

Similarly, McGraw wants the team to rally behind this UNC victory.

“I really think that we can have a springboard off of this,” McGraw said. “Florida State is going to be a tough game for us. But then to come back and to enter the tournament with a little optimism will be great for us.”

The game against Florida State will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Tallahassee, Florida.

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