Watch: Niele Ivey addresses team after Notre Dame beats North Carolina

Who wouldn’t run through a wall after hearing this?

Once a powerhouse, Notre Dame has fallen off over the past few years. However, a 70-65 win over North Carolina convinced a lot of people that this program is on its way back up. Both teams are ranked in the Top 25, but this victory put the Irish (13-3, 4-1) ahead of the Tar Heels (14-2, 4-2) in the ACC standings and into a tie for third with Virginia Tech. Coach Niele Ivey told her team exactly what this meant in the locker room afterward:

With the victory, the Irish have won six of their past seven games. They have yet to play NC State or Louisville, the two teams that are undefeated in conference play and also rank in the top five nationally. Barring a collapse over the next month-and-a-half, the Irish should get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. It’s only a matter of how good they’ll be when that time comes.

Notre Dame women’s basketball wins at Wake

Irish cruise to a road victory at Wake Forest…

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – In just its second game since the holiday break, the No. 20/19 Notre Dame women’s basketball team (12-3, 3-1) came ready to play, rolling to a 74-64 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12-5, 2-4) on Thursday night. Sam Brunelle, Maya Dodson, Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey all finished in double figures, scoring all but nine of the team’s points.

It was both a season and game high 22 points for Mabrey, recording her second 20-point effort of the season. Mabrey was also 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Miles earned double-double No. 6 on the year, as the nation’s assist leader dished out 12 assists to go with her 15 points. It marked her fifth double-digit assist performance and 11th game in double figures.

Next, Brunelle finished in double figures for the fourth time this season, pouring in 16 points. The junior was an efficient 7-of-12 from the field. Lastly, Dodson posted her fourth game in double figures over the last five games with 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting.

How It Happened

There was no rust in the Notre Dame offense from the long layover between games, as the Irish jumped out to a 16-2 start over Wake, converting six of their first nine shots. Mabrey hit three treys in the quarter, including one at the buzzer from the center-court logo, pushing the Irish ahead 20-12.

In fact, Mabrey was already in double figures after a pair of free-throws at 8:57 in the second quarter. The Notre Dame defense did its part as well, collecting four turnovers in a two-minute span to keep the distance up 28-16 at 4:43. Ultimately, the Irish outscored the Demon Deacons 17-10 in the quarter, which was capped by another long three, this time by Sam Brunelle.

At the half, Notre Dame boasted a 37-22 lead on 13-of-32 (41 percent) shooting. Mabrey led with 11 points, followed by seven from Brunelle. Westbeld and Miles each had six points, as the latter also dished six assists. Sonia Citron led with seven boards.

Dodson and Miles combined for an 8-0 run to start the third, forcing another Wake timeout, now up 45-22 at 7:23. Later on, starting at 3:19 left in the period, Brunelle caught fire, scoring seven straight points for the Blue and Gold. Next, a nifty pass from Miles to Mabrey at the buzzer kept the Irish rolling, up 58-34.

The score was only deceivingly close thanks to the fourth quarter, where the Demon Deacons outscored the Irish 30-16.

Up Next

The Irish will finally get to play inside Purcell Pavilion once again, marking the first time since Pitt on Dec. 19. Notre Dame is set for a top-25 battle against No. 21/18 North Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. ET. The game is on RSN, so for the Northwest Indiana community, be sure to check the Marquee Network.

Notre Dame women’s basketball trip to Virginia postponed

Another cancelation

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that the Notre Dame at Virginia women’s basketball game scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 30, has been postponed due to COVID precautions in the Cavaliers program. Both teams are working with the ACC to reschedule the contest. Meanwhile, Virginia is adhering to the outlined COVID protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report, which is available on theACC.com (full report).

Notre Dame’s contest at Duke for Jan. 2 remains intact.

Notre Dame’s Dodson named ACC Player of the Week

Big honors for a big time player

GREENSBORO, N.C.  — Notre Dame’s Maya Dodson has been named Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, for her outstanding play in the road win over DePaul on Dec. 22. The achievement marks the first for Dodson in her career, including her Pac-12 days. It’s also the first Player of the Week honor for the Irish this season, as Sonia Citron has claimed four Freshman of the Week honors.

Dodson scored a career-high 28 points to lead the now 17th-ranked Fighting Irish to a 91-86 win at (RV) DePaul. The 6-3 forward turned in a stellar second-half performance, scoring 20 of her points after the break. In fact, Dodson was instrumental down the stretch, scoring 10 straight points from 4:46-0:26, maintaining a lead that didn’t stretch more than two possessions in length.

All-in-all Dodson scored 12 of the Irish’s 19 points in the fourth quarter and even got a clutch offensive board in the final 10 seconds after a Maddy Westbeld free-throw which iced the game. Dodson finished the game with eight rebounds, including seven offensive boards.

Dodson and the rest of the Irish return to action on Dec. 30 in a road matchup at Virginia. That contest will tip at 7 pm ET on ACCNX.

Notre Dame women’s basketball outlasts DePaul

Notre Dame women’s basketball got their best win of the year to date just before their Christmas break.

CHICAGO  — The No. 20/17 Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (11-2) won the track meet against the No. 1 offense in the country (RV/RV) in DePaul (11-3), outpacing the Blue Demons by the score of 91-86.

The victory marked Notre Dame’s first NET top-50 win of the year and evened the series in Chicago against DePaul at 11-11.

Maya Dodson achieved a career high career 28 points, including 10 straight in crunch time late in the fourth quarter. Maddy Westbeld supplied a season high 22 points, while Olivia Miles netted 20 points. It marked the first time the Irish had three 20-point scorers since Jessica Shepard (30), Jackie Young (21), Brianna Turner (20) vs Louisville on March 10, 2019.

The stat of the game goes to Notre Dame’s rebounding and second-chance points – both of which they dominated. The Irish owned a 24-5 offensive rebounding advantage, which translated to 29-1 second-chance points. Overall, the Irish owned a 51-26 rebounding advantage.

Next – How It Happened…

Citron again wins ACC freshman of week honors

Becoming like clockwork…

Release:

GREENSBORO, N.C.  — Make it four out of six possible weeks for Notre Dame women’s basketball guard Sonia Citron in claiming ACC Freshman of the Week honors. The league office announced her fourth award of the year on Monday afternoon after she helped lift the Fighting Irish to a 2-0 start in ACC play with a dominant 85-59 win over Pitt.

Citron continues to challenge 2019 alumna Brianna Turner who set the program record with six ACC FOTW honors. Going back into the program’s Big East days, both Jacqueline Batteast (01-02) and Alicia Ratay (99-00) were each six-time winners as well.

Citron nearly tallied a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds against Pitt, shooting 5-of-12 from the field and 3-of-7 from deep. The New York native also collected three assists and three steals.

The 6-1 guard is 1-of-3 freshman in the entire country averaging at least 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal. Breaking it down even further – there are only two players in the entire country (of any class) who are putting up those numbers off the bench: Citron and NC State’s Diamond Johnson.

Watch: Muffet McGraw gives Ring of Honor induction speech

Great honor for an Irish legend.

LaPhonso Ellis wasn’t the only Notre Dame legend to be inducted into the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor this weekend. One day after Ellis was honored during the men’s basketball team’s upset win over Kentucky, women’s basketball coaching legend Muffet McGraw got her day during the Irish’s 78-41 victory over Purdue-Fort Wayne. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick indicated that McGraw also eventually would get a statue outside the building. With all these good things happening to her both now and in the future, the Hall of Famer addressed the crowd and everyone else who was in attendance to honor her:

McGraw’s honor did not go unnoticed by men’s coach Mike Brey, a school legend in his own right:

McGraw retired after the 2019-20 season, and two national championships and four national coach of the year awards among many other accolades meant this honor was a long time coming. Here’s to others in her former position following her example in the years to come.

Notre Dame’s Sonia Citron wins third ACC Freshman of the Week

What more can Citron accomplish this season?

Notre Dame might have its next legend in the making in Sonia Citron. How else to explain the hardware she already has earned during her short time in South Bend. For the third time out of a possible four weeks, Citron has been named the ACC Freshman of the Week. The Irish record for this award since the program entered the conference is six, set by Brianna Turner during the 2014-15 season.

Citron earned the award after a 29-point performance against Michigan State, followed by 19 points against UConn, which was ranked second at the time the game was played. Through five games, she is third on the Irish with 6.2 rebounds a game and fifth with 10.2 points a game. She also is shooting 48.8 percent from the field.

Obviously, it’s way too soon to add Citron to the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor, but the path to that honor is becoming clearer with each game.

Notre Dame’s ridiculously successful sports weekend

Did anyone have a better weekend nationally than the Fighting Irish athletic teams?

There are good weekends and then there are great weekends and the Notre Dame athletic department just had a truly great one.  Sure, we’re all aware the football team cruised to a 28-3 primetime victory at Virginia that moved them to 9-1 on the year, but it wasn’t just the football team taking care of business.

Nine different Fighting Irish athletic teams went to battle this weekend and walked out with an array of impressive accomplishments.  Here’s the rundown for you:

Notre Dame announces new athletic award

A new award has been created by the Notre Dame Athletics Department

The following release is courtesy of the University of Notre Dame:

The University of Notre Dame Athletics Department and the Monogram Club have announced the creation of the Frazier Thompson Award, which will recognize outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion by Monogram Club members and others in the Notre Dame community. The award is named in honor of Frazier Thompson (‘47, track & field), Notre Dame’s first Black Monogram winner.

The Monogram Club will work with Athletics leadership to align this new award with other initiatives related to diversity, inclusion and engagement, including the StaND Together platform. StaND Together, which was launched in the summer of 2020 by Notre Dame student-athletes, focuses on six main avenues for change: listen, amplify, focus, diversify, engage and vote.

“Frazier Thompson was a pioneer at the University and his impressive legacy will live on through this award,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, said. “Notre Dame’s commitment to diversity and inclusion goes to the heart of our mission, to who we are and to what we want to be, and it is most fitting that we recognize those doing outstanding work in this regard. This award not only illuminates Frazier’s exemplary contributions but also the ongoing efforts of those who work tirelessly to advance justice and equality in our society.”

Frazier Thompson Award recipients will receive a $10,000 grant to be donated to an organization that will further diversity and inclusion. Grants will be funded by the creation of the Frazier Thompson Award Fund, generously gifted and endowed through the benefaction of Monogram Club President Don Casey (’82, ’83, swimming) and his wife, Ann.

You can read more about the new Frazier Thompson Award by clicking here.