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March Madness: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Lose to NC State 66-63 in the Sweet 16

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Season ends in a brutal way

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Bridgeport Regional-Notre Dame vs NC State David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Sweet 16 Turns Sour

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish just played their Sweet 16 matchup in the Bridgeport region against NC State. Their run in the NCAA Tournament continued into this second weekend of March Madness. The result ended up as the Irish losing a tough one 66-63. Let’s see how it all shook out.

First Half

The Irish and the Wolfpack traded some buckets early on in the game. They seemed to be feeling each other out in how they would both play the game. At the media timeout of the first half, the score was deadlocked at 7-7. A noticeable difference between the teams after the first quarter where the Wolfpack took a 16-12 lead was that the Irish had five turnovers to the Wolfpack’s zero. Elissa Cunane and the Wolfpack were imposing a bit of will inside under the basket, too.

Fortunately for the Irish, they made some great adjustments between quarters. Niele Ivey’s team went on an absolute TEAR to begin the second quarter. The Irish started to impose their will on offense. Until the media timeout of the quarter with about 4 minutes left, the Irish went an amazing 8-8 from the field! Olivia Miles was of course the main star of the half, dropping 15 points and going 3-5 from beyond the arc. Dara Mabrey was a great secondary star for the team, too.

At one point, the Irish were up by 10 points. It was a great showing that would need to continue in the second half because it is not like the Wolfpack would go away quietly. The Irish took a 38-30 lead into halftime, shooting 55.6% compared to NC State’s 38.2%. Also the Irish were shooting 45.5% from 3-point land compared to the Wolfpack’s 18.2%. The Irish barely led the turnover battle 16-15 at the half, too.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Bridgeport Regional-Notre Dame vs NC State David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Half

The Irish kept the momentum through the rest of the third quarter, too. Of course it still was a tight game and the Wolfpack wouldn’t go away. The Irish still hit their shots to keep a 53-46 lead going into the final quarter. The fourth quarter was a completely different story. The Irish had 7 turnovers just in the fourth quarter alone. They just pretty much lost all composure. They kept the lead until the final 20 seconds when the Wolfpack got a steal from Dara Mabrey to get an easy transition bucket. From there, the Irish couldn’t hit a final shot. The Wolfpack were the ones to keep the composure and dominate when it was needed. They outscored the Irish 20-10 in the final quarter. And, unfortunately, we have seen this in past games this season from the Irish: they would let teams back into the games and not know how to finish strong. That downfall ended up being the main downfall for the season to end. The ND NCAA Tournament run ends after 3 games.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Bridgeport Regional-Notre Dame vs NC State David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports