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ND Women’s Basketball

Irish seek first win of season in Sunday matinee at NJIT

| Thursday, November 9, 2023

Mary Votava
Irish junior guard Sonia Citron holds the ball during a game against Louisville in Purcell Pavilion on Feb. 16, 2023.

On Sunday, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team takes on NJIT on the road. This game marks the Irish’s first trip to NJIT, a mid-major program out of the America East. Last year, the Highlanders finished 13-16. They are led by Mike Lane, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1993 with a degree in marketing. Since his graduation, Lane has coached women’s basketball at several small institutions, including the University of Chicago, Dominican University and Bucknell University. Lane did not play basketball at Notre Dame, but he found an interest in coaching after starting at the high school level in the Chicago suburbs.

For the Irish, playing an away game at a much smaller school presents an oddity. But the tradition goes back to Muffet McGraw’s time at the helm. McGraw typically scheduled an away game in the hometown of every senior on the team. Forwards Natalija Marshall and Kylee Watson are from the New Jersey area along with junior guard Olivia Miles.

NJIT won its season opener against Army in a 73-57 showdown. The Highlanders are led by Alejandra Zuniga, a sophomore guard from Spain. Zuniga scored 23 points in the season opener, shooting 80% from the field.

The Irish will look to bounce back after an especially tough loss against No. 6 South Carolina. On Monday, the Irish had trouble guarding the lane. Look for Niele Ivey to make adjustments and try out several different defensive schemes, including a 1-2-2 zone, a 2-3 zone and a man-to-man defense.

Freshman guard Hannah Hidalgo showed off on Monday, shooting 10-for-24 from the field, including a trio of three-pointers. The Irish won’t be able to solely rely on Hidalgo, though. Additionally, they’ll eventually add Olivia Miles back to the rotation, which will tweak the offensive system. Watch Ivey try to get the ball in the hands of Anna DeWolfe and Sonia Citron. DeWolfe, the graduate student guard who transferred from Fordham, started against South Carolina but only registered 22 minutes. She also did not attempt any threes. The Irish will look to DeWolfe as a specialist from deep. Citron struggled against South Carolina, being pushed into the corner, which resulted in her shooting 5-for-15 from the field. Ivey still trusts the junior guard, and she is the team’s established star. Expect Citron to log heavy minutes and help advance the ball up the court.

The Irish take on NJIT on Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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About Jake Miller

Jake is the President of NDTV. On occasion, he contributes to The Observer, primarily covering football and women's basketball.

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