The Week in Notre Dame Athletics: Getting Back into It

Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame student athletes have been on a bit of hiatus over the winter break, but basketball has continued to post strong performances and hockey got back to it last night.

Track and swimming will begin again next week as basketball and hockey play on. Fencing, tennis, and lacrosse pick up near the end of January, followed by softball, baseball, and golf in February.

Without further ado, we bring you the results of the last week's Irish match-ups.

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Hockey: The no. 1/2 Irish (14-5-0, 10-1-0-0) returned to the ice after a three-and-a-half week break and came up short in their contest at no. 1 Minnesota last night, losing 1-4. The teams were nearly even on shots, with Notre Dame recording 23 and Minnesota recording 26, but Minnesota got out to an early start, netting two goals against Steven Summerhays and the Irish in the first period (in the second and eighth minutes!) before Notre Dame's Jeff Costello scored for the Irish, assisted by Bryan Rust and Anders Lee. Minnesota scored again in each of the second and third periods and held the Irish without another goal.

The Irish face Michigan State in East Lansing this Friday and Saturday as they return to conference play.

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Basketball: The no. 2 women's team (13-1, 2-0) has claimed 7 wins in 7 games since we last looked at "The Week in ND Athletics." After a ten-day layoff, the Irish won victories over Alabama A&M (100-39), Kansas State (87-57), no. 22 Texas A&M (83-74, in a rematch of the 2011 national championship game), no. 11 Purdue (74-47), St. Francis (128-55), no. 1 UConn (73-72), and South Florida (75-71).

The stunning victory over rival UConn has turned decidedly toward the Irish lately, with Notre Dame claiming five of the past six meetings and both of the past two Final Fours. This time around, the Irish, down by a point as the clock wound down, won on a pair of free throws from Skylar Diggins with 49 seconds left to play. Reflecting on the end-of-game triumph, coach Muffet McGraw commented, "How many times can we put up our defense....I thought about our football team getting that goal line stand [against Stanford] three times in a row, if they can do it, we can do it."

The women's team faces Rutgers this Sunday (3:30 p.m. EST, ESPNU) and Georgetown on Tuesday (7:00 p.m. EST, CBSSN).

The no. 17 men's team (14-1, 2-0) racked up another four victories since our last "TWINDA," claimed against Kennesaw State (85-57), Niagara (89-67), Seton Hall (93-74), no. 21 Cincinnati (66-60). The streak of 12 wins is the longest for the Irish since 2006-07, and their 14-1 start is coach Mike Brey's best in 13 seasons. For more on the Irish conference-opening win over Seton Hall, see alstein's article here.

The Irish face Connecticut on Saturday (2:00 p.m. EST, BEN) and St. John's on Tuesday (7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2).

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We'll bring you updates again next week on all our Notre Dame Olympic sports. Go Irish.

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