Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2023

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

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48 JANUARY 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY TYLER HORKA T he record book is on notice every time Olivia Miles takes the floor. The sophomore point guard knew ex- actly where she stood statistics-wise when she stepped to the free throw line in the second minute of the fourth quar- ter in No. 5 Notre Dame's 108-44 dis- mantling of Merrimack College Dec. 10. Twelve rebounds, 10 assists and 9 points. She sunk the attempt and shook her fist a few times. That isn't a part of her usual routine. That's because triple- doubles aren't a part of anyone's usual routine. Miles recorded the third of her career on the free throw make. Nobody in Notre Dame women's bas- ketball history has ever had more. Skylar Diggins-Smith had 2 in 124 career games from 2009-13. Jackie Young also had a pair in 109 career games from 2016-19. No. 3 for Miles came in game 48. "Just a remarkable accomplishment," head coach Niele Ivey said. Miles is different. Remarkably dif- ferent. She's upped her scoring average from 13.7 points per game in 2021-22 to 16.0 points per game through the first nine matchups this season, and she has not surrendered much of her playmak- ing ability in the process. She averaged 7.4 assists per game as a freshman. As a sophomore, she's av- eraging 7.2. Her rebounding total has increased from 5.7 boards per game to 7.8 as well. "I come in to every game knowing I'm going to do X, Y and Z for the pro- gram," Miles said. "I'm going to get my rebounds; I'm going to get my points; I'm going to get my assists. "It's a domino effect. It leads to my other teammates and helps them do well. When I start off well, push pace, control what I can control and do well, it really helps the rest of our team." Led by Miles' 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Notre Dame beat then- No. 3 Connecticut 74-60 in South Bend Dec. 4 to snap a two-game losing streak to the Huskies. UConn's extra attention on Miles opened avenues for four other Irish players — junior forward Maddy West- beld (17 points), graduate student center Lauren Ebo (12), sophomore guard Sonia Citron (10) and graduate student guard Dara Mabrey (10) — to reach double fig- ures in scoring. Miles is the straw that stirs the drink. "Like all really, really good guards, I think she senses the tempo of the game," UConn head coach Geno Au- riemma said. "She dictates where she wants the ball to go, and there is very little that you can do. "There are only so many things you can prepare defensively. 'OK, let's see if we can take away this. Let's see if we can take away that.' But for every little thing you take away, she finds — and obviously you need a supporting cast — whoever it is that you left open to help compensate for her." As of Dec. 12, Miles ranked fifth na- tionally in assists per game. She scored at least 13 points in all of Notre Dame's first nine games, too. With a short ro- tation of seven players in close games, the Irish can't afford for Miles to have an off night. She only shot the ball nine times in a 74-72 loss to Maryland, for instance. A more aggressive Miles might have helped avoid the Irish's first loss of the season. She came out firing in the very next game against UConn and scored 13 points in the first quarter. "I can tell when I'm not playing great — it's not that we don't play great when I'm not playing great — but I set the tone for the team," Miles said. "I feel like that's my responsibility to come Sophomore Point Guard Olivia Miles Does It All For The Fighting Irish Miles owns the program record for career triple-doubles with three and counting. She averaged 16.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game while leading the Irish to an 8-1 start. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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