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Notre Dame Women’s Basketball: 2021-22 Season Preview

Let’s get this new, more normal season rolling

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tip Off Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

They’re Back, Like They Never Left

We are just days away from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women’s Basketball team beginning their regular season schedule. As another season is upon us, I wanted to make sure we could recap some things that have happened since the offseason. I am hoping and looking to provide you all with much more NDWBB content throughout the season. That can start with you all knowing exactly what is going on with the team as we head into their November 9th opening game.

The Team

The roster for the 2021-22 Irish is as shown above. Most of the players who were on the team last season have come back. That includes, most notably, Dara Mabrey who transferred from Virginia Tech, Maya Dodson, a grad transfer from Stanford, and Abby Prohaska, who was sidelined for the 2019-20 season with a pulmonary embolism. Junior Sam Brunelle is looking to be a major player again as well, causing havoc in the paint and also from beyond the arc.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule of Games

The Irish played an exhibition game already against Emporia State last week. Now, though, begins the actual regular season on Tuesday evening. You can view the full schedule here. Some notable games to keep track of:

  1. On November 26 and 27 of Thanksgiving Weekend, the Irish travel to play in the Daytona Beach Invitational to take on Georgia and Oregon State.
  2. On December 2, the Irish will travel to East Lansing to play Michigan State for the ACC/BIG Challenge
  3. Immediately after that on December 5, the team will head to Connecticut to play UConn in that yearly rivalry game.
  4. On December 12 against Purdue-Fort Wayne, the program will honor Muffet McGraw and put her into the Ring of Honor in Purcell Pavilion.

Niele Ivey in Her 2nd Season

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tip Off Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach Niele Ivey is beginning her second season as head coach of the Fighting Irish. This will look to be her first normal season, as starting with a rebuilding lineup in the middle of a pandemic could not have been the easiest first year as coach of a renowned program. But, with all of the talent coming back and new talent added to the roster, we believe in Ivey bringing the team back to establish dominance in the ACC and in the nation. She still is the best person to take over for Muffet McGraw, and I’m excited to see how she does when she can run with a normal practice routine and full season schedule.

Newcomers and Other News from the Offseason

There are two freshmen on the team for this coming season. Olivia Miles is a freshman that has actually already played. She was an early enrollee last season, and she was actually the first ever NDWBB early enrollee. She was granted the ability to play starting in 2021. But, with the Covid year rules allowing anyone to take that as a redshirt year, Olivia will retain her freshman eligibility status with the team. Additionally, Sonia Citron will join the team as a true freshman for the 2021-22 season. She comes into the program as a guard from New York who was named a McDonald’s All-American. We’re excited to get her into the mix.

Both freshmen named above were named to the 2021 Jordan Brand Classic. Maddy Westbeld was named to the preseason All-ACC list after being named the ACC Rookie of the Year last season. Also, Sam Brunelle was named to the Katrina McLain Award watchlist. That award is given to the top power forward in the nation.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Up Next

With that, we have come to the beginning of the season! The Irish were picked to finish 6th in the ACC this season. I am sure that Niele Ivey, her staff, and the players have their hearts set on being better than that. Nationally, the Irish were in the “Others Receiving Votes” list in the preseason AP Poll, getting 8 votes to be ranked.

The first game is Tuesday evening, November 9 at home in Purcell Pavilion against Ohio University. Tip off is at 7 PM on ACC Network Extra and on the Notre Dame Radio Network.