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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish fall short of Cardinal sweep and ACC title without Miles

| Monday, March 6, 2023

Notre Dame women’s basketball didn’t look like the same team when they took on the Louisville Cardinals Saturday at noon. Scoring only 15 points in the first half, the Irish fell 64-38 in the semifinals of the 2023 ACC Tournament.

Notre Dame saw the Louisville Cardinals twice before in the regular season. The wins came ten days apart in two tight games. First, on Feb. 16, the Irish won 78-76 in overtime at home. Then, to close the regular season, the Irish beat the Cardinals in Louisville on Feb. 26, 68-65. The second win didn’t come without a price, though. Sophomore guard Olivia Miles went down with a knee injury halfway through the meeting. Miles has not been on the court for the Irish since. The point guard is still “day to day” and was only seen in sweats besides injured graduate student guard Dara Mabrey during the ACC Tournament.

While the Irish were able to surge in the second half of the season finale without Miles — and won again without her against NC State in the ACC quarterfinals — it wasn’t possible to notch a third win over the Cardinals on Saturday, especially since the squad was once again without Miles.

Outside of junior forward Maddy Westbeld’s five points, each Irish player had no more than one basket through the first two frames. Sophomore guard Sonia Citron, who took over at point when Miles fell, had  8 points, nine rebounds and five assists on Friday, but couldn’t recreate that same magic Saturday. Citron started the matchup 1-4, including two efforts from beyond the arc that didn’t fall. Early enrollee freshman Cassandre Prosper also couldn’t get anything to fall early, going 0-for-6. Westbeld ultimately had the only Irish three on the day. She also remained the leading scorer for the Irish to the end, going 4-for-12 and ultimately claiming nine points.

Only scoring 15 in the first half was the lowest point total for an Irish first half since they saw Louisville in February of 2022. Four Irish players only drained one basket, and they shot 31% from the field as a unit. Citron ultimately put up eight points, while Prosper and graduate student Lauren Ebo snagged five boards each.

On the other hand, four Cardinals players scored in the double digits. The 35-15 Louisville lead at half grew as large as 34 points before the Irish cut it down. The deficit was too large to surmount though, and Notre Dame lost by 26 with only 38 on the board. By a considerable margin, it was the fewest points ever scored by the top seed at the ACC women’s basketball tournament. The previous low was 52 points.

Notre Dame will be back on the court in the NCAA tournament. The Irish were a No. 3 seed in the most recent selection committee release, but this weekend’s results may change that positioning. They’re looking to improve on last year’s Sweet 16 finish.

The Irish will look for their seeding with the rest of the nation on March 12, Selection Sunday. The selections will be announced at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Notre Dame awaits two announcements, though — the second being Miles’ return. Further information on her injury will inevitably change what the Irish post-season run will look like.

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About Mannion McGinley

Mannion McGinley is an American Studies and Sociology major with a Journalism minor in Notre Dame's class of 2023. She is a member of the Glynn Family Honors program and currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor at The Observer.

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