ACC Tournament Time
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women’s Basketball team began their journey in the ACC Tournament on Friday night. They just got done competing against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the quarterfinals. The Irish got a solid win against GT to move on in the tournament.
The half began pretty lethargic for both squads. It was only 7-4 GT at the media timeout of the first half. The Irish were missing threes and getting called for some offensive fouls. They finally mustered up some chances to get some points, taking a 13-11 lead into the second quarter. Once the second quarter began, the Irish started to show some more life. OIivia Miles started to drive to the hoop well pretty much uncontested. Sonia Citron was getting great looks under the basket too. But the great performances in the first half were from Maddy Westbeld, scoring 10 points and Sam Brunelle (off the bench) scoring 8 points (6 of those points were from three-pointers). At the end of the half, the Irish showed more dominance and more skill, leading 34-25. They ended the half shooting a solid 56% from the field.
The second half started a bit more back-and-forth. After feeling each other out like the first half, both teams trades threes on about four our five possessions in a row. Georgia Tech is ranked, so you knew they wouldn’t lie down and let themselves get overwhelmed. However, the Irish kept the composure. They pushed the tempo when they needed it to find Olivia Miles in the lane or Maddy Westbeld for a jump shot. I thought they tore apart the GT defense tonight. The Yellow Jackets kept it relatively close, but the Irish were just no match for GT tonight. It also helped that shots were falling all over the floor for Niele Ivey’s squad, but the Yellow Jackets went pretty cold in the 4th quarter.
At the end of the game, the Irish ended with a commanding performance, winning 71-53. The Irish shot nearly 52% from the field compared to Georgia Tech’s 30%. The Irish were actually out-rebounded by three rebounds, but they did have more defensive rebounds on the night. Huge props have to be given to Maddy Westbeld and Sam Brunelle. Olivia Miles had a great game as always with 17 points and 13 assists, so tack on another double-double for her. But, Maddy Westbeld had a game-high 17 points and was all over the floor. Sam Brunelle had 14 points off the bench tonight - she was totally locked in.
*Maddy ended with 17 points tonight
The Irish continue on with their trip to Greensboro in the ACC Tournament. Believe it or not, Miami stunned Louisville in the game right before the Irish played. Miami hit a buzzer beater shot to win the game by two points over the Cardinals. Miami came back from a 16-point deficit to take the game against the hot Louisville team. So, the Irish will take on Miami in the ACC semifinals tomorrow, Saturday, at 2:30 PM ET. I’m sure the Irish won’t overlook the Hurricanes, but it is a nice help to see the Irish not have to face the Louisville Cardinals after they dismantled the Irish in both regular season meetings. You can catch the game on Saturday afternoon on the ACC Network.