ND Women’s Basketball
Notre Dame women’s basketball downs Massachusetts in March Madness opener
J.J. Post | Sunday, March 20, 2022
Notre Dame women’s basketball took down Massachusetts Saturday night, 89-78 in Norman, Oklahoma.
The Irish were propelled by an impressive performance by Olivia Miles, who posted her second career triple-double. With her 12 point, 11 rebound, and 11 assist night, Miles became just the third player in Notre Dame history to notch multiple triple-doubles. The freshman guard joins some elite company on that list, in program greats Skylar Diggins and Jackie Young.
Miles, who had a visibly excited reaction when she registered her 10th assist to seal the triple-double, said she knew it was coming by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“I told Dara and I told Maddy, ‘I need one more assist, one of y’all are going to get it for me.’ And then a few minutes go by, and I hit Maddy on a wide open three, and she knocks it down. And that feeling was just so great. Just the connection and the fact that it was an assist for the triple-double is just all the more special. That connection is just so amazing.”
It wasn’t just Miles who had a day to remember. The entire Notre Dame offense was flying in the team’s highest-scoring performance since December. Sophomore forward Maddy Westbeld posted a team-high 19 points on an efficient 8-11 shooting performance from the field. Graduate student forward Maya Dodson and senior guard Dara Mabrey each also chipped in with 18 points apiece.
Head coach Niele Ivey said she was pleased with how well her team spread the ball out and scored at all three levels.
“My goal was to establish our inside game initially. I really wanted to get out and run. I thought we mixed it up perfectly. We have great balance- four of our starters in double figures,” Ivey said. “I thought we shared the ball really well. They sat off and really tried to clog the lane, and I felt we did a great job of making the extra pass. And that extra pass really helped us. And we had the opportunity to share the ball in transition. So I thought that was phenomenal today.”
Graduate student forward Sam Breen led the way for the Minutewomen, posting a game-high 31 points. Breen shot an impressive 12-19 from the field, with much of Massachusetts offense running through her.
Coach Ivey commended Breen’s performance and remarked about how much the Irish had to work to prepare for her.
“I thought she was fantastic. She was somebody that we’ve been focusing on all week,” Ivey said. “I put Maddy on her, and was going to try to have size to try to bother her. But my game plan was to try to limit her touches. She played for 40 minutes. I thought she played her heart out. She left it on the floor. We didn’t do our job against her. But again, you know, she’s got a lot of experience, a veteran. And I thought she played phenomenally well.”
With the win, Notre Dame will now move on to the round of 32, where they will face fourth-seeded Oklahoma, who is the regional host. The Sooners took down 13th-seeded IUPUI 78-72 Saturday night. The time of the game has yet to be announced.