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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish fall to No. 4 Louisville 86-64 to close out regular season

| Monday, February 28, 2022

Sunday afternoon Notre Dame women’s basketball fell to Louisville 86-64 at Purcell Pavilion. The loss marked the team’s final game of the regular season.

The contest could not have started worse for the Irish, who were cold from the floor throughout the entire first quarter. Compounding matters, the Cardinals were seemingly unable to miss. Just 10 minutes in, Louisville led 31-3 behind a perfect 100% three point percentage and an 80% overall shooting percentage from the field. To the contrary, Notre Dame shot just 7% from the field. The Irish also managed just 4 rebounds to Louisville’s 13.

In the second quarter, things hardly improved. The Cardinals stretched their lead to 54-15 at halftime, as the Irish struggled to find their offensive rhythm and an answer to Louisville’s efficient shooting. Despite a vocal Purcell crowd, the Irish entered halftime down by 38.

After halftime, the Irish showed signs of improvement, as they found their game more. Head coach Niele Ivey said her talk to the team at the break had focused more on the mental side of the game than the tactical.  

“I told them that there’s nothing I could draw up, there’s no play or defense in that moment,” Ivey said. “It was more about our pride, our fight. I talked to them about what it means to wear a Notre Dame jersey, what it means to be here at Notre Dame. And no matter what I wanted them to come out with that fight and that pride of knowing the magnitude of being a Notre Dame women’s basketball player. Because we weren’t playing our game. We wanted to finish this game knowing we left it all on the floor in the second half.” 

That pride was evident in an improved second half performance. The Irish outscored the Cardinals over the final 20 minutes 49-32. Freshman guard Oliva Miles found her rhythm running point. She scored 11 points in the second half on a perfect 4-4 shooting performance from the field. Fellow freshman guard Sonia Citron added five rebounds to her team-high total of eight, as well as ten points. Overall, Notre Dame’s field goal percentage increased by 40 points (22% to 62%) from the first to second half, as the Irish slowly chipped what was once a 42 point deficit down to 22. 

Despite the strong second half showing, Ivey stressed the need to improve and learn from the loss heading into the ACC tournament.

“That’s not something we’re going to forget,” Ivey said. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to take away from the last couple weeks, but especially today. Friday we have to come out with a better intensity defensively. We have to handle our offense, but it’s more about our mentality and our defensive mentality. That’s where we have to grow. I’m happy we have a couple days to rest, but also to get better. Once we see the seeding and who we’re playing we’ll adjust and make sure that we have our game plan ready.”

Notre Dame women’s basketball will resume later this week when they travel to Greensboro, North Carolina for the ACC Tournament. Their opponent is yet to be determined.

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