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Women’s Basketball: Fighting Irish Defeat Louisville and Are ACC Champs

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That’s 5 out of 6

NCAA Womens Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

ACC Champs for the 5th Time

They did it again! The Irish played for the ACC championship against Louisville today, and they took care of business. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team has now won 5 ACC titles in the 6 years that they have been in the conference. They continued to wear teams down with offense, and they simply dominated.

1st Half

A slower start for both teams saw a bit of a lower score through most of the first quarter. As the Irish got more into a rhythm offensively, the score started to reflect that. The Irish were dominating the Cardinals under the hoop and offensively overall. Rebounds and buckets in the paint were coming very easily to the Irish.

The Cardinals had a couple of injuries to Arica Carter, who sat out the whole game, and Sam Fuehring, who had a fracture in her nose and then rolled her ankle. She sat for pretty much the whole second half. Because of this, the Cardinals did not want to foul inside much. That proved costly as the Irish out-rebounded the Cardinals 30-11. The Irish got more possessions to shoot exactly 50% from the field. The Cardinals shot 57%, but they didn’t have any offensive rebounds in the first half, leading to no shots at second-chance points. After the first half, the Irish led 48-39.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament - Syracuse vs Notre Dame Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Half

The second half saw more of the same story. Again, the Irish dominated the offensive glass, and they were just way too much for the Cardinals to handle. It became a clinic for hoops inside the lane. After it was all said and done, the Irish took it to the Cardinals, again shooting 50% for the half. Louisville seemed to play the long game for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, because it seems like with the injuries and overall way the game was going, they somewhat backed off trying to make a comeback. The Irish took this one and the championship 99-79.

Jess Shepard had 30 points and a double-double, which was simply outstanding. She was a machine today. Again, all Irish starters had double-digit point totals. Asia Durr, the back-to-back ACC Player of the Year for the Cardinals had a quiet day and only 15 points. Meanwhile, Shepard, Turner, and Young all had 20+ points for the Irish.

Next Up

With this ACC Championship, the Irish have solidified a Number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament that starts in two weeks. As of now, it looks like they will also be placed in the Chicago region for the tournament, which helps a lot with travel and then not having to go out to Portland potentially to play Oregon in their backyard. An amazing finish to the season led the Irish to this point. We will check back in with their actual placement on Selection Monday next week.