Welcome to WBB Wednesdays!
I know today is Friday, but I’m starting these weekly posts now. We have to make sure this gets covered, especially this week. We here at OFD have realized that there has unfortunately been a lack of coverage of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team. This team is consistently one of the best athletic teams that the Irish have. It is kind of necessary to do a post on them at least once a week.
Each week on Wednesday during the season, I will be recapping game outcomes, notes, and overall things to look for as the rest of the season progresses. When I was an undergrad at ND, I would be able to play for about half of the women’s home games. They are a blast, and the crowd loves this team. It also helped that I saw some pure dominance, and we continue to see that overall. I’m always going to be a huge fan and follower of this team.
Overall Season Recap
The Irish are overall 17-2 on the season with a 5-1 record in ACC play. Everything started out pretty much the same as it always does. Muffet is just a boss and powers through the early teams in the schedule. This entails the casual back to back games of dropping 100+ points. You know, casual.
However, the Irish have faced some very unfortunate adversity that has been anything but casual. Before the season began, it was announced that the main star player, Brianna Turner, would be out to have her ACL tear completely healed. This was a huge blow, but the team had time to adjust. Plus, the Irish have SO much talent, that they could confidently pick up the slack.
Unfortunately, though, just like the men’s team, the injuries started to pile up. Two more players, freshman Mikayla Vaughn and senior Mychal Johnson also tore ACLs. Muffet said that this situation for three players to have season ending injuries with the exact same injury is “unprecedented.” I would have to agree, as you just don’t see situations like that really ever.
Since the beginning of December, the Irish have played with just 7 scholarship players. You can survive with 9, be stretched at 8, but 7 really puts you at a disadvantage. However, Muffet has never let her players feel sorry for themselves. That is not the mentality. Overall, the Irish have rolled along with their season. The injuries led to other very good players Arike Ogunbowale, Marina Mabrey, and Jackie Young to step up in big ways. They have, just like they did to come up with clutch plays last season, and they have not really missed a beat.
The two hiccups came against UConn (who gives us fits every year, even if we can steal a win from them) and also against Louisville.
Against UConn, the Irish went into Hartford to take the lead late into the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, the short bench caught up with them, and they lost the lead to lose to UConn. Always a tough one. Against Louisville last week, the Irish went into the KFC Yum! Center and was run out of the gym, losing 100-67, the worst loss for them since the late 90s.
Fast forward to this past week after the Louisville game. Three days later, last Sunday, the Irish came back home to play Boston College, and they rolled to an easy victory. This just further solidifies the disparity in Women’s College Basketball and the ACC as well.
The big test was to be last night, when #6 Tennessee came into Purcell Pavilion to take on the #5 Irish. The girls really needed this game to get back on track against the “blue bloods” in women’s basketball.
It was looking the like a repeat of the Louisville game, as the team went down 27-10 after the first quarter. The girls fought back to cut the Volunteer lead to 39-27 at the half. After that, the Irish absolutely stormed back, going on 12-0 and 14-0 runs in the fourth quarter (shooting 60% in the fourth quarter) to take home the 14 point victory, 84-70. This was the largest comeback in school history, as the girls came back from a 23-point deficit to win handily. Pure awesome.
This was a HUGE win for the team, and a much needed one. Still look for the Irish to make another run for an ACC title as well as to make some noise in the NCAA Tourney.
Their next game is on Sunday at 1 PM as they take on the Clemson Tigers at Purcell Pavilion.
Check back each week for the WBB recap!
And, as always, Go Irish.