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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish prepare for four game spread, Syracuse is first up

| Thursday, January 27, 2022

Notre Dame women’s basketball will be back in action Thursday to take on Syracuse at home. This matchup kicks off four straight games in Purcell, with the Fighting Irish hosting Boston College on Jan. 30, NC State on Feb. 1 and Virginia Tech on Feb. 3. 

“I hope we can feed off the energy of our crowd,” head coach Niele Ivey said. “The fact that we will be here for over a week and a half, I hope that works out in our favor.”

The Irish are coming off of their 77-63 victory against Pitt away earlier last weekend. Irish defense showed out in the fourth quarter, limiting the Panthers to a mere eight points in the final stretch of the game. Ivey has made the defense a main focus moving forward.

“We finally won the fourth quarter on Sunday versus Pitt,” Ivey said. “You have to execute offensively but you also have to compete on the defensive end, so that’s an area we are going to continue working on. I feel like this group is going to respond to that.”

Senior guard and New Jersey native Dara Mabrey said she is looking forward to being home as well after the team made adjustments from the on-the-road loss against Boston College.  

“I think we’ve learned a little bit about ourselves and other teams with that stretch of away games,” Mabrey said. “It’s tough playing on the road in this conference. People tend to play better at home.” 

The last time the Notre Dame women’s team took on Syracuse was Nov. 14, 2021, when they emerged victorious in an 82-56 game. The Irish came alive in the second half of the game, consistently outshooting the Orange and ending the game with a 21-0 run. There’s no doubt they are looking to do it again, but it won’t come without some work. 

“Syracuse is a super tough, testing team,” Ivey said. “They’re going to press it for 40 minutes and they’re a team that sits in the zone, but [we’ve] been playing a lot of zone this year. I’m happy we have the chance to play them, so we have a little better idea of what we did successfully against them and who they are identity-wise this year so it’s going to be a fun matchup.”

With the Irish and the Orange playing a lot of zone defense, it is important that both make a point to hone in on each aspect of the game. 

“We just gotta come together and be disciplined and stick to what we know,” Mabrey said. “Still stay aggressive in the offense. Even if we have a lead, we want to get those good shots and not pass those up. And then get stops on defense. That’s basically what it comes down to.” 

Mabrey recognizes the competitiveness that is the ACC conference and the importance of taking it one game at a time. Keeping the energy and confidence throughout could give the Irish a good shot at some substantial success in the league. 

“Maturing and being disciplined in the fourth quarter is huge,” Mabrey said. “The game of basketball is a game of runs and you can’t take anyone lightly in this league.” 

The Irish have their sights on Syracuse and Ivey says they’re taking it “one opponent at a time” for now.

“I’m very fortunate that I have an incredible group of young women,” Ivey said. “They’re committed, they’re loyal. They love this University, they love each other. They’re just fun. I feel like I’m blessed to do what I do and it’’ fun to be able to do this with this group.” 

The game against the Orange will broadcast from Purcell Pavilion on ACC Network starting at 6 p.m. EST.

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