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This Week in Notre Dame Athletics: March Madness Begins

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The Notre Dame athletics train rolls on as hockey season is over but nearly a dozen more sports continue their seasons as the warm spring weather is coming to Indiana.

What's even better---spring football practice starts tomorrow too!

If you haven't read over how the other Notre Dame teams have been doing this year, you should really do so. There are a lot of really strong teams in South Bend right now who are doing work.

Check them out after the jump.

Women's Basketball: 31-3 overall, 15-1 Big East

The women's basketball team won their 31st game of the season with an easy victory over Liberty during the first round of the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame won the game by as many points as they have wins this season.

"It was important for us to come out and understand that the game started at 0-0 and we did not want to underestimate them, so we wanted to get off to a good start," guard Skylar Diggins said.

"We hadn't played in a while and that fed into it a lot. Plus, it's the NCAA tournament and upsets happen on both sides (men and women) and you don't want to be that team. So, we wanted to make a statement right off the tip and control the tempo right away."

Novosel finished with 12 points and Peters 10. Diggins, the Irish's leading scorer at 17 points a game, attempted only six shots and finished with seven points to go with nine rebounds and six assists. The Irish didn't need her to score.

"She really had a complete game. She could have shot a lot more. I thought she was a little too unselfish today. She worked defensively and she went and got the ball rebounding wise," McGraw said.

The Irish---who hosted this first game at Purcell Pavilion---who also host California in the second round tonight.

Swimming: 6-4 (Men's) & 6-6 (Women's)

The women's swimming and diving team sent a handful of participants to the NCAA Championships held at Auburn late last week.

Freshman Emma Reaney earned Honorable Mention All-American status for her time in the 200 IM, lowering the school-record which she had previously owned in the process. Reaney also earn HM-AA status in the 100 breast stroke and 200 breast stroke.

Junior diver Jenny Chiang just missed qualifying for the 1-meter finals by two points as she finished in 17th place, while she also placed 39th in the 3-meter event.

Sophomore Ryan Kelly placed 27th in the 100 breast stroke, but bounced back on Sunday with a 7th place finish in the 200 back stroke. Kelly also finished 44th in the 100 free, but was later named an All-American for her time in the 200 back stroke.

All in all a very successful weekend for Notre Dame as they finished 22nd nationally as a team---their highest finish in the NCAA Championships since a 19th place finish in 2002.

Fencing: 40-7 (Men's) & 34-9 (Women's)

The fencing teams got some good news in the middle of last week as they qualified the full 12 players for the upcoming NCAA Championships at Ohio State beginning this Thursday.

The Irish had to replace 8 people from their title winning team last year but were still able to make it back to the big tournament for 2012.

Tennis: 12-7 (Men's) & 12-4 (Women's)

Coming off a two-week break, the men's tennis team dropped a match 4-3 to South Florida down in Tampa. The boys now take another two-week break and will host Ball State on March 31st.

Since last checking in with the women's tennis team, they went on a tear during their Hawaii road trip. The Irish defeated Texas Tech 4-3, Hawaii 6-1, and shutout Wyoming 7-0.

Notre Dame will travel to Ann Arbor tomorrow at 4 PM to face rival Michigan.

Track and Field

Notre Dame is preparing for the outdoor season which begins in another week.

Golf: Men's & Women's

The men's golf team just returned from a trip down to Georgia where they finished 12th in the Schenkel Invitational held at Forest Heights Country Club.

The team will return to Georgia this weekend to play in the Linger Longer Invitational at Reynold's Plantation Great Water Course in Greensboro.

After a 10th place finish in their previous tournament at LSU, the women's golf team finished 5th in the Clover Cup tournament in Mesa, Arizona this past weekend.

The women will have a week off before playing in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic hosted by Georgia in two weekends.

Baseball: 10-7

Baseball had a fairly successful time down in Texas over the weekend, finishing with a 3-2 record.

The won three straight games to start the road trip, defeating UTSA 12-0, Houston Baptist 7-3, and Kansas 1-0. However, Notre Dame dropped both of their final games to Indiana State, first by the score of 6-4 in 10 innings and then 6-1 to close out the championship game.

The Irish return to South Bend to open their home schedule this week, starting with a game today against Eastern Michigan.

Softball: 11-10

The Notre Dame softball team lost their last two games of their California road trip but were able to stay above .500 on the season with some crucial wins early on the trip.

After beating Loyola Marymount 4-3, the Irish clobbered Cal State Fullerton 15-0, and followed that up with a 2-0 win against Iowa. Since then they dropped a 2-1 game to Michigan, a 7-2 game to Washington, and had their final game cancelled due to nasty weather.

Notre Dame travels to Georgetown this weekend for a 3-game series.

Lacrosse: 4-1 (Men's) & 6-0 (Women's)

Men's lacrosse continues playing some of the best competition in the country and sneaking out nail biting victories. This week the Irish topped Denver 10-9 in triple overtime---with senior Sean Rogers scoring the game-winning goal for the third straight contest.

Notre Dame travels to Ohio State tomorrow and looks to continue their winning streak.

The women's Irish lax team remained undefeated with two more wins since we last checked in. They took out Yale last Tuesday 15-9, and hung on to beat Cornell 17-13 on Saturday. The Irish went a perfect 2-0 on their Florida trip.

They will open up Big East play this weekend by hosting Louisville in South Bend.

Go Irish!