How Sweet It is
Tonight, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team played their NCAA Tournament Round of 32 game against the Michigan State Spartans. Like Saturday’s game, this one was also at home for the Irish. Having a home crowd helps in tournament games, and the Irish did not disappoint.
For the first few minutes of the first quarter, the Irish and Spartans stayed pretty deadlocked, with the score stuck at 6-6 for a few minutes. This was maybe looking like the game would be a bit closer than many games the Irish (32-3) have played this season. However, after Jess Shepard and Jackie Young got in the mix with some pull up jumpers and shots under the hoop, the Irish got more in stride. After the 1st quarter, the Irish led 25-14.
The Irish did not let up. Arike, Jess, and Brianna Turner all got great looks inside the arc to build the lead to 47-20. At the end of the half, Arike hit a buzzer beater jump shot to make the score 52-26, doubling up the Spartans. On Saturday, the Spartans hit many shots especially from three-point land. Tonight, the Irish defense stifled them so that they could have the same offensive success they saw against Central Michigan.
The second half was more of the same story. The Irish had stifiling defense while the offense kept on rolling. MSU was not able to catch up, as the Irish lead was too much for them. After a while, we were able to see Maureen Butler and Danielle Cosgrove with some points off the bench as well. Once it was all said and done, the Irish took care of the Spartans with a score of 91-63.
Additionally, Arike passed 2,500 career points, the first player to do that in team history. Bri Turner also passed Ruth Riley for the most amount of rebounds in program history. The final game at Purcell Pavilion for the season and for Arike’s career did not disappoint.
The Irish have now made it to their 10th straight Sweet 16. They will travel to Chicago for the Chicago region semifinal and (hopefully) the final. They will play the #4 seed Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, March 30. The game will be on ESPN2 at 4 PM.