ND Women’s Basketball
Irish officially rule Miles out for NCAA Tournament
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, March 16, 2023
Just hours before the start of the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame’s chances took a significant hit: the Irish announced sophomore guard Olivia Miles will be out for the remainder of the season.
Miles has not played since Notre Dame’s regular season finale, an ultimately pyrrhic 68-65 victory on Feb. 26 at Louisville. The victory clinched the regular season ACC title for the Irish, but at a steep cost. With 2:35 left in the second quarter, Miles injured her knee diving for a loose ball. She missed the rest of the contest and Notre Dame’s two ACC Tournament games.
Losing any player is devastating for an Irish team with a thin rotation already hit by injuries. Notre Dame already lost graduate student guard Dara Mabrey, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury on Jan. 22. However, Miles’ absence is particularly noteworthy. And it showed throughout Notre Dame’s rematch against the Cardinals in the ACC Tournament. Louisville wreaked havoc on an Irish team lacking its most dynamic guard, holding Notre Dame to a season-low 38 points and forcing a game-changing 22 turnovers. Over half of Louisville’s 26-point margin of victory could be attributed to points off turnovers alone.
In between her injury and Notre Dame’s official announcement of her status, Miles racked up accolades for the second straight season. She was named to the John Wooden Award ballot, All-ACC First Team, a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, a USBWA Third Team All-American and a finalist for the Dawn Staley Award. This comes after a dominant freshman season that saw Miles earn similar recognition. She is not just the team’s assist leader, but their second-leading scorer and — for a 5-foot-10 guard — surprisingly their leading rebounder. The Irish will miss these game-changing stats on Friday.
Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament journey begins at Purcell Pavilion Friday against No. 14 seed Southern Utah. They are still heavy favorites to defeat the Thunderbirds, but the 25-5 Irish face long odds at a deep run with one of their most impactful players on the shelf.