Tough Trip to Storrs for the Irish
On Sunday afternoon, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women’s Basketball team took the court against the 2nd-ranked UConn Huskies. Even with this not being a Muffet McGraw-Geno Auriemma smack down like in the past, the rivalry is still very much alive and well with Geno still coaching at UConn but Niele Ivey leading the Irish. It was a highly anticipated matchup like always, but especially because both teams were ranked (ND was 24th).
In the first half, we saw some back-and-forth basketball to start. It was a relatively low-scoring first quarter as UConn took a 16-12 lead. It was still a pretty tight game throughout most of the 2nd quarter. This one was potentially looking like another classic, even with it being a pretty low-scoring game. After an Olivia Miles layup cut the UConn lead to 25-23 with 3 minutes to go in the half, the Irish were looking to hang in. Unfortunately, though, the Huskies went on a 10-2 run to close out the half and lead by 10 points going into the locker room.
The Irish tried to hang with the Huskies, but Geno’s team showed to be too much for the Irish on Sunday. The Huskies kept the Irish at bay and at that 10-point arm’s length for most of the third. The Irish got some help with some good lucks for shots to get some fouls called and bring the deficit down to 51-44 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. It wouldn’t be enough, though, as the Huskies kept rolling and eventually just tore open the game. At the end of the game, the Irish kept the loss to under 20 points due to a literal last second, garbage time lay up by Sonia Citron. The Huskies totally overmatched the Irish.
Citron again came off the bench and led the team in points (19) by a large margin. Meanwhile, the Huskies had four players with double-digit points, including freshman phenom Paige Bueckers (22). Bueckers had an excellent game, but that became overshadowed by a non-contact injury to her knee she sustained when dribbling the ball. She had to be carried off the court with no ability to put any pressure on her left knee. The injury is still undisclosed, but she will have an MRI soon.
The Irish (7-2, 1-0) actually moved up 2 spots in the Ap Top 25 poll to #22 despite the loss to UConn. The next games for the Irish are against in-state opponents. The team will travel to nearby Valparaiso to take on the Beacons on their home court. That game will be on Wednesday, December 8 at 7 PM Eastern time. You can listen to that game via the Notre Dame Radio Network. Then, the Irish come back home on Sunday, December 12 to take on the Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons. That game will tip off at 2 PM Eastern time on ACC Network Extra and the Notre Dame Radio Network. Sunday’s game will be the time that Muffet McGraw gets inducted into the Ring of Honor.