Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2024

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2024 83 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL But then there are the many of- fensive possessions that she does not impact because she can't seem to find solid footing or proper positioning to seal opposing defenders off in the post. Senior center Nat Marshall is the same way off the bench. She's good for a swift move to the bucket for a basket here and there, but she's never going to dominate on successive trips down the floor. And as much of a 6-foot-5 spark plug as she is, the other team's post players still find ways to be quicker to loose balls and to sky over her for up- for-grabs rebounds. Watson falls victim to the same de- ficiencies. She admitted to them after Harris had her career-night for Lou- isville. "Most of her plays were basically outworking us or getting open looks," Watson said. "We'd fall asleep, mental mistakes." That leads us to team defense. Ivey does a good job of switching back and forth from man to zone, and for long stretches of games the frenetic flip- flopping confuses teams and holds them scoreless. But then there are other times when a player gets loose no matter what. Take what Louisville's Harris did for starters. One game later, Florida State's Ta'Niya Latson had 34 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. That produc- tion more than offset what Hidalgo did, which is an anomaly. Notre Dame was fortunate DeWolfe, Westbeld and Cit- ron showed up. Latson's big day would have sunk the Irish if they didn't. Hi- dalgo's 28-percent shooting perfor- mance wasn't going to be enough. And yet, she still led the team in scoring. Even when she's at her worst, she's the Irish's best. For that reason, everything circles back to her. She truly is what makes this Irish team go. Where would they be without her? It's almost a certainty they'd have more than five losses through 23 games if she wasn't in the picture. And some of those losses would be much worse without her, too. It only took one game to find that out when Hidalgo dropped 31 points in a 100-71 defeat to No. 1 South Carolina in her very first collegiate appearance. Hidalgo can take Notre Dame a few games into the NCAA Tournament. But once the Sweet 16 hits, if the Irish get that far, Ivey is going to be asking a lot for her to make a miracle run into a regional final or beyond. That's just the way this current roster is assembled with junior guard Olivia Miles side- lined rehabbing her surgically repaired knee. Imagine if Notre Dame ran into South Carolina in the Sweet 16. Maybe the Irish would keep it closer than 29 points, but who's betting on them to actually beat the Gamecocks? Even the player with the most ACC Rookie of the Week award wins can't do that all on her own. ✦ 2023-24 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Time/Result Nov. 6 vs. South Carolina^ L, 100-71 Nov. 12 at NJIT W, 104-57 Nov. 15 Northwestern W, 110-52 Nov. 18 vs. Illinois# W, 79-68 Nov. 21 Chicago State W, 113-35 Nov. 24 at Ball State W, 90-59 Nov. 29 at Tennessee% W, 74-69 Dec. 6 Lafayette W, 96-42 Dec. 17 Purdue W, 76-39 Dec. 21 Western Michigan W, 84-47 Dec. 31 at Syracuse* L, 86-81 Jan. 4 at Pittsburgh* W, 71-66 Jan. 7 North Carolina* L, 61-57 Jan. 11 Boston College* W, 98-48 Jan. 14 Miami* W, 70-59 Jan. 18 at Virginia* W, 86-76 Jan. 21 at Wake Forest* W, 75-56 Jan. 25 Syracuse* L, 79-65 Jan. 27 at Connecticut W, 82-65 Feb. 1 at Georgia Tech* W, 85-48 Feb. 4 Pittsburgh* W, 78-53 Feb. 8 at Louisville* L, 73-66 Feb. 11 at Florida State* W, 98-94 (2 OT) Feb. 15 NC State* (ACCN) 6 p.m. Feb. 19 at Duke* (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Feb. 22 Clemson* (ACCNX) 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Boston College* (ACCN) 12 p.m. Feb. 29 Virginia Tech* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Mar. 3 Louisville* (ESPN) 2 p.m. Mar. 6-10 ACC Tournament$ TBD ^ at Paris, France; # Citi Shamrock Classic at Washington, D.C.; % ACC/SEC Challenge; * ACC game; $ at Greensboro, N.C. Senior guard Anna DeWolfe scored 24 points in the double-overtime win at Florida State, her highest point total in an Irish uniform. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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