#1 Seed Incoming
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women’s Basketball team just played their final game of the regular season, defeating the Louisville Cardinals 68-65. They beat Louisville both times the teams played this season, just 10 days apart too. With this win and a Duke loss to UNC, the Irish clinched the ACC Regular Season Title outright. This is the first ACC regular season title since 2019, the first outright title since 2017, and Niele’s Ivey’s first as head coach. The Irish will be the one-seed this coming weekend in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC.
The Irish and the Cardinals squared off in a back and forth game in the first quarter, albeit a bit sloppy on both teams’ parts. It was a slower game with a bit less scoring than we might be used to. The Irish took a 15-14 lead into the second quarter. From there, though, late in the second quarter, Olivia Miles got twisted up on a drive to the hoop and lost control of the ball. On the way down, she twisted her knee in a non-contact injury. Writhing on the ground in pain, Miles had to get helped to the locker room, but she tried to limp off the court under her own power. The Cardinals took advantage of one of the best players being down, built a little more of a lead, and went into halftime down 33-24.
In the third quarter, the Irish kept clawing back even with a big deficit to cover. Sonia Citron started to feel it from the floor, hitting more shots and helping Maddy Westbeld and KK Bransford get some good shots. After three quarters, the Irish were down just 46-43, outscoring the Cardinals in that quarter. At one point, the Irish were shooting 81% from the field in that quarter alone, so that helped with the comeback.
In the fourth quarter, Sonia Citron truly came alive. She was hitting great threes and getting good dribble drives to force some chaos under the hoop. At the halfway point of the quarter, the Irish had the lead 56-53 and never gave up the lead. Louisville was too little too late on some final pushes to tie or take the lead. Olivia Miles, who was on the bench with ice around her right knee, kept hobbling up to root for her team as much as possible. After the final whistle, the Irish sat victorious 68-65, claiming the ACC Regular Season title along with a solid, comeback win. Sonia Citron was definitely the player of the game, ending with 27 points.
NOTRE DAME DOWNS LOUISVILLE TO WIN THE ACC REGULAR SEASON TITLE!— Notre Dame WBB (@ndwbb) February 26, 2023
68-65 IRISH!#GoIrish☘️ pic.twitter.com/uzxRjdWFRG
The status of Olivia Miles is not determined as of now. We hope that she can rehab her knee enough to play in the ACC Tournament and definitely the NCAA Tournament in a few weeks. The Irish have attained the Number 1 seed in the ACC Tournament next week, getting a double-bye in the process. The first game for the Irish will be on Friday, March 3 at 2 PM against the winner of Thursday’s Syracuse (8-seed) vs. NC State (9-seed) game.