NBC to broadcast ND women’s basketball game live in historic first

The last time Niele Ivey stepped foot in Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri, she won an NCAA championship as part of the 2000-2001 Notre Dame women’s basketball team.

“I never had an event that I had to go back there to go into the arena,” Ivey said. “So it’s going to be actually really surreal to kind of feel that vibe again, because I know I’ll never forget that feeling of winning in that arena.”

Now, returning to the Enterprise on Saturday, Ivey hopes to lead her squad to a win against the California Golden Bears in the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic. She will also be coaching the Irish in the first women’s collegiate basketball game broadcasted live on NBC and Peacock.

“It’s powerful,” Ivey said Thursday of being even a small part of the historic broadcast. “It’s the reason why I came back, and I always want to expose my team to incredible experiences and help mold them.”

The live broadcast will also feature an all-women broadcast team. And although the knitty-gritty of the broadcast is not Ivey’s main focus as head coach, she described it as a powerful moment.

“We have [an] all black broadcast staff I heard, [the] first women’s game on NBC and then having two first African-American female head coaches at the helm of two Power Five programs — Charmin Smith and myself — I think it’s an incredible moment, and I’m just happy to share that with my team,” Ivey said.

The game is also the first college basketball game broadcasted live on NBC since a Feb. 28, 1998, matchup between the Notre Dame and Providence men’s squads, according to an NBC press release.

As the game takes place more than 350 miles away from campus, NBC will host a watch party sponsored by On Her Turf (OHT), NBC Sports’ women’s empowerment brand, with Muffet McGraw confirmed as a special guest. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Rourke’s Public House on Eddy St.

Senior and OHT Notre Dame ambassador Elizabeth May said the chapter has been working on the watch party all semester.

“I’m looking forward to spreading awareness of the platform, because I feel like everybody knows NBC Sports but not everybody knows about On Her Turf,” May said. “And I feel like the women’s basketball team is a great kind of team to use in conjunction for promoting this platform.”

OHT has several other collegiate campus ambassadors across the country that plan and host events specific to their athletic atmosphere, May says.

As a student-athlete herself, May says she’s seen OHT stick out in circles on campus as it specifically focuses on the empowerment of female collegiate athletes, especially in the time of NIL deals in college sports.

“When you find a brand like On Her Turf that’s trying to celebrate [collegiate] success, I think that’s even more exciting than just the generic brand deals,” May said.

The game Saturday also marks a homecoming for Ivey and Cal head coach Charmin Smith, who both grew up playing hoops in the St. Louis area.

With her son Jaden playing in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons, Ivey knows the importance of showing up for family sporting events. Ivey’s parents, siblings and nephews will be in attendance at the game, in addition to her high school basketball coach, she said.

In addition to a personal homecoming, Ivey says she’s looking forward to showing her team where she got her start.

“I get a chance to bring [my players] home to show them my roots,” she said. “My journey was not easy, so I get a chance to show them what hard work looks like, what sacrifice looks like, and I’m excited to share that.”

Contact Alysa Guffey at


All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray

“Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind, there would have been no reason to write,” the writer Joan Didion said in a speech discussing the reasons and methods behind her writing. “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” 

When I first read that speech in an online archived edition of The New York Times with a strangely etched illustration of Didion’s face, desperately trying everything I could to improve my writing in the midst of college application season, I was puzzled. The idea that putting words on paper in order to learn what you’re thinking, rather than making up your mind about every idea before committing them to a Google Doc or journal page, was foreign to me. So while I appreciated some of the speech, I resigned myself to the idea that I was not a “writer” in the way that Didion described.

And yet in the past year, I find myself increasingly awake at night or distracted at coffee shops, with the urge to open the notes app on my phone and figure out what I’m thinking. The result of this is often bleak, despondent soliloquies; I tremble at the thought of anyone reading them. And yet, they have so often lifted weeks-long fogs over my mind, allowing me to see what it is that is weighing on me or what I am truly scared of. 

They’re not all apocalyptic or miserable, too, and on the occasion of this Inside Column, I come to my computer, ready to write, with a question far more boring than my previous contribution to the Viewpoint pages: Why am I obsessed with Californian identity?

So many times in high school, I told my mother and anyone who would listen how much I disliked California, how much I couldn’t wait to leave to another state that was less frustrating or insane. It didn’t help that I lived in Sacramento, epitomizing to my restless adolescent self both the dysfunction of our state’s government and the utter boringness of west coast suburbia (see: Lady Bird).

I didn’t feel exactly that way when I left home for my freshman year, but in the time I’ve spent here, I constantly think about how much I’m a Californian and how alien that can be. The tears I cry while watching Lady Bird have become so much more palpable, and there is so much more weight to hearing Lana Del Rey croon about the California sun and the movie stars, or the way the Beach Boys say “Californ-aye-a” on “Surfin’ U.S.A” or the Mamas and Papas’ lyrics that the title of this column is lifted from.

I was in office hours with my political theory professor last year, and our conversation somehow made its way to how Didion’s work was increasingly conquering the shelf of books in my dorm, as I bought secondhand copies of everything she wrote on weekend trips to Chicago bookstores. I had no doubt that her writing prowess and the resonance of her work was part of that, but a huge part was seeking to understand California, to feel it even while trekking through the South Bend snowbanks. Professor Kaplan told me something that has stuck with me: “There’s something about this place that lets people really learn about who they are.”

I think that in many ways, my obsession is silly. I visited a friend in Virginia a couple times this summer from my internship in Washington, D.C. As we drove through the Virginia countryside, I kept coming up blank in response to questions about how things were like in California. The state is massive; there’s little my sleepy, suburban Sacramento adolescence or childhood in San Francisco shares in common with the dozens of Orange County residents I’ve met here. And yet, as I spent those months in D.C., I kept noticing things: our summers are browner in California, our old houses aren’t as old, the heat’s a different creature.

I genuinely think there are things that unify California, that define its identity and spirit. But I think that perhaps this obsession, this fixation comes not from a need to define myself or to categorize various feelings of alienation and homesickness. I don’t know. I wrote, and I did not receive a definitive answer.

But I did finish my Inside Column — see you back in the (superior) News pages.

You can contact Isa Sheikh at

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


State Senator Monique Limón discusses elevating voices, women in politics

On Friday morning in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium, California State Senator Monique Limón spoke about the intersection between her experience working in public office and her Latina identity. The lecture is part of Hispanic Heritage Month and was hosted by the Hesburgh Program in Public Service and the Institute for Latino Studies. 

Limón is a first-generation college student and was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and received her master’s degree from Columbia University.

In 2016, Limón won the State Assembly seat and in 2020, she won the State Senate seat. She serves the nineteenth Senate District, which includes Santa Barbara County and part of Ventura County. 

Limón is the first woman of color to be elected from the district to the State Assembly and the first person of color from the district to be elected to the State Senate. 

Although she represents a mostly white voter base, demographics are changing, and “as issues become more complicated and include many different communities, we are starting to branch out to think about who reflects the values that are important for the voters,” Limón said. “With my background, I have felt not just an honor to represent my community, but also a way to bridge stereotypes.”

Women make up just over 30 percent of the California State Legislature, but over 50 percent of California’s population.

Limón said there needs to be “an individual and collective commitment to ensure there are more marginalized communities represented in public office,” and women need to see others they identify with and support in these positions. 

Another problem Limón identified in her community is that, when people think of Santa Barbara, they only think of the pockets of wealth.

“This makes other people in my community invisible,” she said. 

It’s been important as a representative to ensure the voices of the community who aren’t always at the table are elevated and do so in a way that creates more allies, Limón said.

Before she became involved in politics, Limón was a member of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education, and her educational background taught her about the issues she cares about from a policy perspective. She worked with many students who were the first in their families to go to college and qualified for financial aid. 

“I very quickly understood that the issues that our community cares about weren’t limited to the classroom, because it turns out that whatever’s happening in the community is going to show up in the classroom,” Limón said. 

She became involved with non-profit community organizations to help students, and this motivated her to make the switch from implementing policy to creating it.

Limón said her connection to her community and her large network of students and their families made her a successful candidate for public office. 

She was able to build this network because she grew up in a big household with a large extended family.

“Family has taught me a lot about politics,” Limón said. “There are times when you have to break bread with individuals and not always agree with them.”

Her family also taught her important skills that helped her persevere when running for office.

“My parents always taught me the skills that it takes to work hard to overcome barriers and move forward,” she said. 

Although Limón’s commitment to higher-level education has influenced her policies, she said people assumed that when she got to the legislature she was only going to focus on education, since that was her strength.

“I did go in really focused on education, and I had this history being on the school board, and I cared a lot about it. But what happens when you’re in office is that, sometimes, you don’t get to pick what you work on,” Limón said. 

A year into her term was the beginning of the Thomas Fire. The fire affected Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and was the largest fire in California for six months. Over 100,000 people were evacuated from her district.

“And at that moment, no matter how much I cared about education, I had to turn immediately to become a policy expert in natural disasters,” Limón said.

She explained that she had to use her skill set to tackle different issues.

“I’ve always been a big believer that no matter what you do in life, you have to know how to transfer your professional, academic, intellectual and interpersonal communication skill sets to every environment,” she said. 

Some of Limón’s most important policies have been in different areas not related to her educational background.

“Most of the policy that I’m known for is actually not education,” Limón said. “I’m known for environmental policy, consumer protections, women’s issues and natural disasters.” 

Limón said she hopes to act in the best interest of the communities she serves, and her main goal is to elevate the needs of the individuals in these communities.

“I have adapted to being a leader that the community needs of me, and the community will decide when they no longer need the skill sets and the values that I move forward,” she said.

Contact Caroline Collins at

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Gameday Gallery: Notre Dame vs. Cal


Estime talks brotherhood and ‘keeping the chains moving’ following first win of the season

Notre Dame finally notched a win Saturday against the California Golden Bears — in no small part due to the running back corps. After struggling to get the run game going in the first two games of the season, the Irish notched 147 rushing yards split between three players. One of them was sophomore running back Audric Estime, who led the rushing category with 76 yards (51.7%).

“It was really rewarding just busting our tails off during the week, having a tough week,” he said. “We got the win, so it’s definitely a satisfying feeling, but there’s a lot more work to be done.”

Thanks to the offensive line — which posted a stellar day compared to their earlier performances — the running backs were able to find the lanes through the defense that they had struggled to execute previously. Estime noted that the position group’s goal coming into the game was to “run the ball, be dominant.” For Estime, this came to fruition most notably in a series of rushes that got him and his team a touchdown. 

In this scoring drive, Estime totaled 30 yards, nearly 40% of his total yardage on the day. Quarterback Drew Pyne noted that at the end of the drive, the offense ran the same play four times in a row to get Estime in the end zone. When asked about his thoughts on this fact, Estime said the team should simply keep doing what works.

“Just don’t stop, you keep on doing things that work,” he said. “And that play was working, and we just had the momentum. And the O-line were just pushing guys off the line and were just opening up holes for me, and we just executed and finished that drive.”

Pyne said that if he gives the ball to Estime, the running back falls forward. Estime said that his mentality is to just keep going, no matter how many yards he receives. His goal was just to move forward in whatever way he could.

“I just pride myself that no matter what, I’m always gonna go forward, get as many yards as I can, because that’s what keeps a drive going, keeps the chain moving,” he said. “No matter what, I got to try to get positive yards, no matter what.”

Head coach Marcus Freeman said that sophomore running back Logan Diggs had missed practice on Thursday due to an illness, which put more emphasis on Estime and junior running back Chris Tyree. Estime said this did not change his mindset heading into Saturday.

“I just had to do my job,” he said. “We just knew that we had a bigger load with Logan not playing. That’s something that we’re ready for, and we’re prepared for, and we just handled it.”

Estime said that the running backs had a goal to have a “breakout game” for all of them and get more than 100 combined yards; he and Tyree were able to do so, which he described as a “surreal moment.”

“Just being able to do that, fulfill a goal that you set with your brothers, is a surreal moment,” he said. “And there’s a lot more for this running back group with me, Chris and Logan.”