Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 1, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 47 of 55

48 OCT. 1, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI T wo years ago, Notre Dame was surprisingly selected the pre- season No. 1 by the As- sociated Press, despite Connecticut winning the national title each of the four previous seasons and owning a five-game winning streak against the Fighting Irish (each by at least 10 points). There was a discernible discomfort felt by head coach Muffet McGraw and her players that they had not yet earned that ranking. It showed during a 72-61 loss at home that December to a fired-up UConn squad that was out to show who was still boss. This year, there is no such con- sternation or feeling of unworthi- ness. Notre Dame slayed the UConn dragon in the Final Four last spring, two days later captured its second national title with a dramatic buzzer- beating three-pointer by Arike Ogun- bowale, and scaled the summit de- spite losing four players during the year to ACL injuries. Plus, while UConn lost three stand- outs this spring to the WNBA Draft — Gabby Williams (No. 4 overall pick), Azura Stevens (No. 6) and Kia Nurse (No. 10) — the Irish return their top four scorers in Ogunbowale (20.8 points per game), forward Jes- sica Shepard (15.6), and guards Jackie Young (14.5) and Marina Mabrey (14.4), and add two-time All-American forward Brianna Turner to the mix after she took a medical redshirt while recovering from her knee injury last season. Connecticut, Baylor, Louisville and Oregon, among others, will re- main major challengers for Notre Dame, which has been ranked No. 1 this preseason by ESPN, Athlon's and Lindy's. On Sept. 18, the 2018-19 schedule was released, and the 30-game regu- lar season features 16 teams that qual- ified for the 2018 NCAA Champion- ship. Ten were ranked within ESPN's Too Early Top-25 from last spring. There will be 14 non-conference games before the 16-game ACC league schedule (with Boston Col- lege and Georgia Tech the two repeat opponents) commences Jan. 3. Last season, the ACC was the No. 1-ranked conference in both RPI and strength of schedule, and had a league-record-tying eight teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. This will be the last season the ACC women will have a 16-game confer- ence slate. The league teams will play each other 18 times in 2019-20. The highlights of the schedule in- clude: • The Nov. 9 opener versus Har- vard will be Friday afternoon (4 p.m.), the day before the final home football game versus Florida State. • The eight-team Vancouver Clas- sic during Thanksgiving weekend in which three games will be played over three days. The Irish will open with West Coast Conference cham- pion Gonzaga, and could potentially face 2017 national champ South Carolina or Oregon State — which advanced to the Elite Eight last year and Final Four in 2016 — in the final. • Three days after hosting Iowa, ESPN's No. 17-ranked team nation- ally, in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the showdown with 11-time national champ UConn will be at the Purcell Pavilion Dec. 2. • All-American Ogunbowale will play in her hometown of Milwaukee Dec. 22 versus Marquette. • On Jan. 10, Notre Dame hosts Louisville, the 2018 ACC champion that handed the Irish two of their three defeats last season. • The annual non-conference game with Tennessee in January will be in Knoxville this year. The dramatic rally to victory from 23 points down last year in January was crucial in the path to the national title. Eleven games will be nationally televised, with at least seven appear- ances on either ESPN or ESPN2. ✦ 2018-19 NOTRE DAME WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Time (ET) Oct. 30 Lewis University! 7 p.m. Nov. 9 Harvard 4 p.m. Nov. 12 Penn 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at DePaul 2 p.m. Nov. 22 vs. Gonzaga# 3 p.m. Nov. 23 vs. Rutgers or Drake# TBD Nov. 24 vs. TBD# TBD Nov. 29 Iowa% (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Dec. 2 Connecticut^ (ESPN) 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at Toledo 1 p.m. Dec. 16 Binghamton 1 p.m. Dec. 19 Western Kentucky 7 p.m. Dec. 22 at Marquette 1:30 p.m. Dec. 30 Lehigh 1 p.m. Jan. 3 Pittsburgh* 7 p.m. Jan. 6 at Georgia Tech* 3 p.m. Jan. 10 Louisville* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Jan. 13 Wake Forest* 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at Virginia Tech* 7 p.m. Jan. 20 Boston College* 1 p.m. Jan. 24 at Tennessee (ESPN/ESPN2) 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at North Carolina* 2 p.m. Jan. 31 at Clemson* 7 p.m. Feb. 3 Georgia Tech* 12 p.m. Feb. 7 at Miami* 7 p.m. Feb. 10 Florida State (ESPN) 12 p.m. Feb. 13 at Boston College* 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at NC State* (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Feb. 21 Duke* 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Syracuse* (ESPN2) 6 p.m. Mar. 3 Virginia* 12:30 p.m. Mar. 6-10 ACC Tournament$ TBD ! Exhibition; # Vancouver Classic at Vancouver, British Columbia (Drake, East Tennessee State, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Rutgers, South Caro- lina, Western Kentucky); % ACC/Big Ten Challenge; ^ Jimmy V Classic; * ACC game; $ at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. Schedule Will Test Popular Preseason No. 1 Irish RECRUITING NEWS • Forward Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo chose ACC rival North Carolina over Notre Dame Sept. 14. Thsitenge-Mutombo took an official visit to Notre Dame for the football game versus Michigan Sept. 1, joining current Irish ver- bal commits forward/wing Sam Brunelle and guard Anaya Peoples. Also on an official visit was top-five forward prospect Aliyah Boston, who still has an official visit to UConn pend- ing in November. The early signing period is Nov. 14-21. • Scheduled for official visits to Notre Dame for the Stanford game Sept. 29 are California wing Haley Jones and Canadian forward Laeti- cia Amihere. Jones is ranked as the nation's No. 1 pros- pect by ESPN HoopGurlz and is down to the Irish, UConn, Stanford, Oregon and South Car- olina. Amihere is ranked No. 10 and has taken trips to Kentucky and Louisville. JESSICA SHEPARD

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 1, 2018