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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish to close out regular season at home with Senior Day

| Thursday, February 27, 2020

Notre Dame will host their last home game of the regular season Thursday, concluding on Senior Day against North Carolina.

The Tar Heels (16-11, 7-9 ACC), despite boasting a solid record, find themselves on the wrong end of a five game losing streak. The slump started in just their second game of the month at Duke on Feb. 6, where they lost by 10 to the Blue Devils. The scoreline would be the slimmest margin of defeat for the Tar Heels in all of their losses up until their overtime loss last weekend at Wake Forest.

Notre Dame (11-17, 6-10 ACC) leads the overall series record against North Carolina 8-2 and has never been beaten by the Tar Heels at home. The Tar Heels beat the then No. 1 ranked Irish last season in Chapel Hill to give the Irish their second loss of the season, but the Irish would run over the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship a few months later.

Nathanial George | The Observer
Notre Dame graduate guard Marta Sniezek looks to drive to the basket against Virginia Tech on February 20 at Purcell Pavilion

Barring any miracles at the ACC Championship this year, it looks like Notre Dame will not be making the tournament in March. Heading into this season, the Irish had made 24 straight appearances and 26 total at the NCAA Tournament, a streak stretching back to the 1996 team.

Additionally the Irish hold a home record of 5-9 this year. The Irish have never finished with a losing home record in the 33-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw. McGraw said that she will be giving a special thanks to Irish fans after the last home game of the season, who have stuck with the team through mostly thick but for what seems like close to the first time now — thin.

“I’m planning on getting on the microphone after the game tomorrow to thank them, because it has been a challenging year and we really appreciate more than ever, what our fans mean to us,” McGraw said. “There’s been a lot of new things for us to learn this year.

“I think that the whole year has been a great learning experience for our freshmen. There’s so many things, so many teachable moments, so many opportunities to grow as a team to learn a little bit more. And they keep coming back, and they just keep fighting and that’s probably the most important thing to me.”

Nathanial George | The Observer
Irish freshman forward Sam Brunelle pulls up for a jump shot against Virginia Tech on February 20 at Purcell Pavilion

With a smaller graduating class than last year, Senior Day festivities will likely be brief. Guards Kaitlin Cole and Marta Sniezek will be honored before the game. Cole, a senior hailing from Toledo, Ohio will play her final game in Purcell Pavilion after playing the role of the sixth woman this past season. McGraw commented on Cole’s production.

“She has really given us a boost this year, and been just a major contributor off the bench just to have her energy, what she does defensively, I think, are things that don’t show up in stat sheet, diving for loose balls, taking charges. She’s really contributed quite a bit to our team,” McGraw said.

Sniezek, a graduate transfer from Stanford will also be honored prior to tipoff. McGraw also spoke on the McLean, Virginia native.

“I think Marta and Cole have given us those intangible moments of defense and taking charges,” McGraw said. “They’ve given us that experience that an upperclassman has. So it’s difficult to come in for one year and really leave a mark and she has definitely left her mark.”

Tipoff against the Tar Heels is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. inside Purcell Pavilion.

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About Jimmy Ward

Jimmy is a senior at Holy Cross College, where he studies English and sports management. He is originally from Westfield, Indiana. Currently, Jimmy serves as an associate sports editor at The Observer. You can find him at @jimmyyward on Twitter.

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