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Irish offense explodes as Notre Dame women’s basketball downs Oklahoma in second round

| Tuesday, March 22, 2022

On Monday night, Notre Dame women’s basketball put on a performance to remember against Oklahoma, downing the Sooners 108-64.

The Irish came out red hot from the opening tip, establishing their game inside the post and shooting the lights out from distance. At one point Notre Dame hit six consecutive three-pointers (with five coming from senior guard Dara Mabrey) to race out to a 35-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Head coach Niele Ivey discussed how impressed she was with her team’s energy out of the gate after the game, and what it meant in terms of setting the tone for the game.

“We had a lot of energy coming in,” Ivey said. “Everybody that’s here, we were really excited. I feel like being on somebody’s home court, you have to bring the energy yourself. I knew that it was super electric in here watching the IUPUI-Oklahoma matchup on Saturday, so we just talked about how we’ve got to bring the energy. It’s just us against the world, and I thought that really helped, with our group being locked in and really bringing the energy.”

Mabrey led the way for the Irish with 29 points, 21 of which came off three-pointers. Mabrey also chipped in with six rebounds and three assists in the Irish’s best offensive performance of the season. After the game, Mabrey remarked on the zone she was in from distance in the win.

“To be honest, when you shoot like that — I felt like I was unconscious — at one point I wasn’t thinking,” Mabrey said. “I just knew when I caught it I was going to let it go and it was going in. As a shooter when you believe in yourself like that, chances are it’s going to go in. That type of confidence spreads really easily, like wildfire.”

Mabrey wasn’t the only Irish player to light up the scoreboard in the victory. Freshman guard Sonia Citron and graduate student forward Maya Dodson both eclipsed the 20-point margin with 29 and 20 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Maddy Westbeld added 13 points of her own to go with a team-high nine rebounds. And while Olivia Miles only posted nine points, the freshman guard was as impactful as ever as a creator, dishing out 12 assists as well as grabbing seven boards.

Miles, who spent most of the game as the Irish’s primary ball handler, said the speed with which Notre Dame played in transition helped the offense put up the numbers it did. 

“When we got out in transition on the first play of the game, and Dara hit a three, we’re like, ‘Okay, we can do this every time,’” Miles said. “Our biggest focal point was getting back in transition, and we got the stops we needed so we were then able to run out and find gaps and space the floor like we were talking about before.”

Notre Dame will now advance to the national Sweet 16, where they’ll face top-seeded North Carolina State later in the week. The Irish have some prior history with the Wolfpack, having been the only team that was able to top North Carolina State in conference play. The win, a 69-66 triumph at Purcell Pavilion, marked one of Notre Dame’s best performances of the season. The Irish will have to bring their A-game and more this week if they want to advance to the Elite Eight.

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