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Notre Dame Women’s Basketball: Fighting Irish Wrap Up the Regular Season 21-7 and 13-5 in the ACC

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Up and down end to the regular season

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

Onto the Tournaments We Go

And that’s a wrap, folks. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women’s Basketball team has concluded their 2021-22 regular season. It came after a mostly positive last month of the season, with only a couple of roadblocks. They defeated NC State to open up the month of February, giving NC State it’s only conference loss of the season (with one game still to go for the Wolfpack). However, in the last two weeks of the season, they dropped both games they played against Louisville.

The game that just got over was unfortunately a bloodletting, as the Irish were down 31-3 after the first quarter. Yes, that really was the score. Louisville is a great team, and they were hitting everything in Purcell Pavilion; the Irish were not After the total dominance, the final score ended up 86-64. The Irish ended, then, with just one loss at home all season. Their record in conference is technically 13-5 even with only playing 17 ACC games because they never got to play UVA, as the Cavaliers had COVID-19 issues earlier in the season, causing them to forfeit their game against the Irish.

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

How We Got Here

As mentioned above, the Irish had an overall strong month of February. They took down Virginia Tech at home but then dropped a game on the road to unranked Florida State. After a win against Miami but then an awful loss to Louisville on the road, a true statement win was needed after that for the Irish to get back on track. They delivered with a very gutty performance the road to defeat a ranked Georgia Tech team in OT, helping the Irish pull even more ahead of the Yellow Jackets in the ACC standings. The team got their final win of the season with a commanding win over Clemson before today’s loss to Louisville.

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

Coming Up: Two Tournaments

Next week, the Fighting Irish will begin their run in the ACC Tournament. They will either be the 3 or the 4 seed in the tournament. NC State still plays Virginia Tech on Sunday evening. If VT wins, they will hold a better record than the Irish. Regardless, the first game for the Fighting Irish will be on Friday, March 4th because they have secured a double-bye. This is a far cry from being bounced the previous two years on the very first day of the ACC Tournament.***

After hopefully three ACC Tournament games, Niele Ivey’s squad will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. Before their last game, the Irish were slated to be a 4 seed, which would allow them to host the first two rounds. Hopefully the lopsided loss won’t affect that so the Irish can play a couple of tournament games at home.

There is still a lot left in front of the Irish for them to accomplish this season. This team has the potential to make a deep tournament run, but they will need to clean up the mistakes and make sure they keep games in front of them. There has been a propensity for the Irish to take large leads only to let their opponents come back in games. All players will need to step up just as they have done periodically all season. Olivia Miles, Sonia Citron, and Maya Dodson have been excellent all season. Dara Mabrey and Maddy Westbeld have had their great moments pretty consistently, and Sam Brunelle has been a good presence. However, they all need to play at an elite level for the team to get far in this upcoming postseason. The potential is there, which is exciting, and they can use the fuel of knowing they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019 to get play some solid and dominant games.

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

***Update

Since this was written, the full ACC Schedule has completed. The Irish will play on Friday night, March 4th at 8 PM ET in the Greensboro Coliseum for the ACC Tournament. They locked up the #3 seed as NC State beat Virginia Tech to knock them down to the #5 seed, going beyond UNC at #4. The squad will play the winner of Georgia Tech and Wake Forest/Virginia on their side of the bracket.