Athlete of the Week: Laszewski, Miles star as Irish basketball shines
Aidan Thomas | Monday, January 31, 2022
For the third week, The Observer sports staff voted on the tri-campus athletes and team of the week. Notre Dame basketball shone this week on both the men’s and women’s sides, which the final results reflected.
Men’s Athlete of the Week: Nate Laszewski, Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
As Notre Dame won the first two games of a pivotal three-game home stretch, they turned to senior forward Nate Laszewski to provide a spark. Down 35-30 against the NC State Wolfpack on Wednesday night, the lethargic Irish offense received a lift from Laszewski. The senior poured in two triples and cut through the lane for a thunderous dunk and a personal 8-0 run. He finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds as Notre Dame secured a victory over NC State.
A few nights later, Laszewski added to his fantastic week, notching 16 points and 6 rebounds against Virginia. He tied for the team lead in scoring with senior guard Dane Goodwin and finished the week with a 7-10 conversion rate from beyond the arc. Notre Dame heads into their biggest contest of the year against No. 9 Duke on a four-game winning streak, largely thanks to the contributions of Laszewski. His efforts have earned him The Observer’s Tri-Campus Men’s Athlete of the Week.
Honorable Mention: Landon Slaggert, Notre Dame Hockey
For the third consecutive week, the hockey program finds itself with a winner in this award category. This time the honorable mention award goes to sophomore forward Landon Slaggert, who delivered in the clutch for the Irish against No. 10 Minnesota. After assisting on one of the Irish’s two goals in regulation, Slaggert buried a rebound to claim the Irish victory in overtime. The Irish had lost three straight to Minnesota, and the goal salvaged a split in a critical Big Ten series.
Women’s Athlete of the Week: Olivia Miles, Notre Dame Women’s Basketball
After coming an assist shy of a triple-double on Thursday night, Irish freshman guard Olivia Miles delivered a matinee performance for the ages Sunday. Miles shattered her previous career-high with a 30-point effort against Boston College. Miles also chipped in six assists, as the Irish claimed a 74-61 win over an Eagles’ squad that had bested the Irish barely over a week ago.
That performance came days after Miles torched Syracuse to the tune of 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Miles continues to mature beyond her years as the floor general for this Irish team, which should improve on their No. 20 ranking after an unbeaten weak. Miles, meanwhile, earns The Observer Women’s Athlete of the Week after her second nomination for the award.
Honorable Mention: Rachel Tanczos, Notre Dame Track & Field
For the second time in three weeks, graduate student Rachel Tanczos has claimed an honorable mention to the Women’s Athlete of the Week. Tanczos has been nominated in all three weeks of the award’s existence, as she competed in and won the shot put for a third consecutive week. She also notched a second-place finish in the weight toss. While the team was in Louisville this weekend, Tanczos’s winning hurl of 15.91 meters broke the previous Trager Center record for women’s shot put.
Team of the Week: Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
In a vote that came down to the wire, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team claimed The Observer Tri-Campus Team of the Week award. The Irish were undefeated on the hardwood between both their men’s and women’s teams. The men’s program got the nod for two massive ACC wins that bumped Mike Brey’s squad to 7-2 in ACC play ahead of their Duke clash. Most notably, the Irish broke a long stretch of futility against Virginia on Saturday night, beating the Cavaliers for the first time since 2017.
Notre Dame is now 4-0 over their past two weeks, and they sit tied for second in the conference. They’ll face Duke, who is tied for second with the Irish, and Miami (first) next week, along with NC State.
Laszewski (first nomination), Slaggert (first), Justin O’Neill (first), Nicholas Dinu (first)
Miles (second nomination), Tanczos (third), Emily Chang (first), Sara White (first)