Notre Dame’s women’s basketball 2023-24 schedule released

Here’s the order in which the ladies will try to defend their ACC regular-season crown.

Notre Dame is ready to begin defense of the ACC regular-season championship it won a season ago. However, it’s also hoping to accomplish even more than that in 2023-24, and it has the personnel to do it. With four returning starters, everyone in the conference will be gunning for the Irish. We now know when they will be playing who in their league.

The Irish will be playing home-and-homes against Louisville, Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. They’ll see the rest of their ACC rivals only once during the regular season. Although Virginia Tech and Louisville are seen as better than this year’s Irish, every conference team knows it also will have to bring its best when they see Notre Dame pop up on its schedule. The Irish deserve respect for their history if not for how stacked they’ll be again this season.

For those looking to see the Irish play the most important games of the season, here is when they will play them:

Notre Dame women’s hoops’ all-time results vs. future ACC opponents

The Irish aren’t far removed from playing any of these teams.

If you’re a college sports fan, you undoubtedly know by now that the ACC will be growing in 2024. Specifically, California, Stanford and SMU are joining the conference. That’s two schools from the soon-to-be-extinct Pac-12 and one from the AAC that seemingly came out of nowhere. Such is the reality of a college landscape that’s changing on what seems like a daily basis now. You can’t really be blamed if you’re having a hard time keeping up with all of this upheaval.

While this decision, like all others these days, was made with football in mind, it also will affect every other sport, including basketball. With Notre Dame being part of the ACC for all sports outside of football and hockey, the time is right to see how the Irish have done against the teams they soon will see on a yearly basis. The meetings aren’t very extensive for any of these opponents, but that’s to be expected:

Watch: Notre Dame’s Sarah Cernugel announced as scholarship player

Congrats, Sarah!

Few videos are more heartwarming in college sports than a coach announcing a walk-on is getting a full scholarship. The coach makes the announcement, often to the surprise of the player, and the rest of the players celebrate their teammate’s good news.

This happened to Notre Dame guard [autotag]Sarah Cernugel[/autotag]. Take a look at [autotag]Niele Ivey[/autotag] making the announcement and her tweet congratulating her newest scholarship player:

Cernugel saw limited action in her first two collegiate seasons. Other than a seven-minute appearance early in her first season, she hasn’t seen more than three minutes of action in any game. In 39 minutes, she has shot 3 of 14 from the field for six points. In the Irish’s NCAA Tournament win over Southern Utah this past season, she recorded her first collegiate steal and block.

Here’s hoping Cernugel’s next two seasons provide her with more opportunities as a scholarship player.

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Notre Dame women release 2023-24 nonconference schedule

Which game are you most looking forward to?

Barring any unforeseen changes, Notre Dame will enter the 2023-24 season in as good of shape as it could be. [autotag]Olivia Miles[/autotag] will be healthy, [autotag]Cassandre Prosper[/autotag] will be around for a full season, and [autotag]Hannah Hidalgo[/autotag] has arrived. That doesn’t even account for the fact that virtually the entire rest of the rotation from the Irish’s second straight Sweet 16 is returning. Irish fans should be feeling very confident.

Before tackling ACC play, the Irish will play a nonconference schedule. Actually, one of those games is scheduled for the middle of conference play, but that game as well as the season opener will serve as real measuring sticks for where they stand. That’s because those opponents are among the class of women’s basketball.

Based on this schedule, what kind of shape do you think the Irish will be in by the time their conference opponents start popping up? Whatever you think, here it is:

Watch: Arike Ogunbowale signs autograph after being ejected from game

There’s one way to make a statement.

Tuesday’s game between the Dallas Wings and Atlanta Dream was historic for the wrong reasons. A WNBA record 10 technical fouls were called between both teams. Two of those were attributed to former Notre Dame star [autotag]Arike Ogunbowale[/autotag] as she sat on the bench, meaning she was ejected with 1:42 left in the Wings’ 85-73 victory. With the Wings’ win assured thanks in part to her 21 points, Ogunbowale decided she would make a spectacle as she headed back to the locker room:

When asked to comment on the technicals, Ogunbowale said this:

She also took to Twitter for some more unfiltered thoughts, sort of:

But she also probably was still on a high from this ankle-breaking move she executed during the game:

Ogunbowale, who scored a career-high 41 points as the Wings lost their previous game to [autotag]Jewell Loyd[/autotag] and the Seattle Storm, is well on her way to another All-Star selection. If the season ended today, she would have career highs of 23.3 points and 4.2 assists a game. There’s no reason to think she’ll drop off. As we just saw, she’ll bring attitude and a little creativity with her, too.

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Notre Dame to host Northwestern on Nov. 15

Will the teams be nice to each other this time?

We still do not have Notre Dame’s complete schedule for the 2023-24 season. However, other teams’ nonconference schedules are starting to come out, and the Irish have been listed on one of them. Northwestern has released its nonconference schedule and, in doing so, revealed that the Wildcats’ first road game will be Nov. 15 against the Irish.

This particular game will be interesting because there should be some lingering feelings from when these teams met in Evanston last year. Late in the first half of a 92-58 Irish victory, a skirmish emerged after [autotag]Olivia Miles[/autotag] hit two free throws. Three Wildcats left the bench to participate and were ejected for doing so. Two of those players, leading scorer Caileigh Walsh and Jasmine McWilliams, will be on this year’s Wildcats team.

With most of last year’s Irish returning this year, you know they’ll remember this. More importantly, they’ll remember how much they dominated the Wildcats on their home court. Can they hold serve as the home team? We’ll find out.

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Jewell Loyd sets WNBA All-Star scoring record, wins MVP

Notre Dame was well-represented in the WNBA’s annual showcase.

[autotag]Jewell Loyd[/autotag] has turned in one phenomenal scoring performance after another for the Seattle Storm this season. That carried over into this year’s WNBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas. Her 31 points and 10 3-pointers both were records for the event, and they were key in Team Stewart’s 143-127 win over Team Wilson. Plus, she was named All-Star MVP, making her the second former Notre Dame player in three years to earn the honor after [autotag]Arike Ogunbowale[/autotag] did so in 2021.

Ogunbowale also played in this game, scoring 18 points for Team Wilson but shooting only 2 of 11 from 3-point range. [autotag]Jackie Young[/autotag], the third Irish legend in the game, was teammates with Ogunbowale for this affair. She didn’t fare much better, knocking down only a pair of 3-pointers on 2-of-12 shooting from the field.

Maybe Notre Dame’s representation wasn’t terrific across the board, but the fact that three of its players were there shows how great the program is. Check out how they looked under the bright All-Star lights:

Arike Ogunbowale advances to WNBA 3-Point Contest finals

The former Notre Dame star can say she was a part of history.

[autotag]Arike Ogunbowale[/autotag] was busy when it came to tipping off WNBA All-Star Weekend. The Notre Dame legend and current Dallas Wings star, who now is a three-time All-Star selection, participated in both of Friday’s events that served as precursors to Saturday’s game in Las Vegas. After her and Wings teammate Satou Sabally’s 52.6 seconds were not enough to advance in the Skills Challenge, it was time for the 3-Point Contest.

In the first round of the 3-Point Contest, Ogunbowale made four of five shots on her “money ball” rack, and her 21 points were enough to advance to the finals. Fellow former Notre Dame star [autotag]Jackie Young[/autotag], who leads the WNBA with a .480 3-point shooting percentage, had a chance to eliminate Ogunbowale as the last first-round competitor. The Las Vegas Aces guard only scored 15, and her elimination surely was a disappointment to the hometown crowd.

Ogunbowale was off the mark in the championship round, scoring a contest-low 11 points, but she would have had to be almost perfect to win anyway. The New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu turned in a historic performance with 37 points while missing only two shots and making 14 straight in between misses. That’s a record for either a WNBA or an NBA 3-Point Contest. In fact, you need to see it to believe it:

If Ogunbowale was going to lose this contest, at least it happened in part because of a performance like that. Now, the 2021 All-Star MVP can focus on the game itself. That should be fun for her, Young and [autotag]Jewell Loyd[/autotag].

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Watch: Jewell Loyd ties WNBA record with nine 3-pointers in a game

She is on fire this season.

Former Notre Dame guard [autotag]Jewell Loyd[/autotag] already is having her best season ever with the Seattle Storm. Plus, she seemingly is pushing herself to new heights every game. The latest example came in the Storm’s 93-86 loss to the Washington Mystics. Despite the defeat, Loyd did everything she could in scoring 39 points and tying the WNBA single-game record with nine 3-pointers:

Loyd had a chance to break the record at the final buzzer, but her shot went off the rim. The way the All-Star and former top overall pick has been playing, don’t be surprised if she has another chance to break that record this season. For now, she’ll have to be content with matching the mark set by the Indiana Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell in 2019.

As well as Loyd as played, it hasn’t be enough to prevent a six-game losing streak for the Storm that has given them the league’s worst record at 4-16. All she can do is continue to play well. At least Storm fans can look forward to that.

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Matchups for 2023 ACC/SEC Women’s Basketball Challenge unveiled

The Irish will get a historic opponent.

With the Big Ten no longer broadcasting on ESPN, the ACC’s annual battle with that conference came to an end. However, ESPN wasn’t willing to let the idea of teams in two major conferences playing each other die. So the SEC was called in to fill the gap left by the Big Ten after ending its annual series with the Big 12. We now know who will be playing who in both the men’s and women’s challenges.

This opens up a world of possibilities for new rivalries to form or old rivalries, perhaps from the NCAA Tournament or notable past nonconference meetings, to reignite. We know the SEC is king in college football, but we’ll see how strong it is in college basketball. The ACC has provided some quality teams recently, and there are a couple of historic and contending teams in the SEC, so in at least some challenge games, that quality should shine through.

Here the matchups for the women’s challenge: