Yep, the season officially is on.
Even with a healthy [autotag]Olivia Miles[/autotag], Notre Dame would have been an underdog against South Carolina in the season opener in Paris. After all, the Gamecocks have a better recent track record and a higher preseason ranking.
Whether Miles would have made a difference for the Irish on Monday will remain a mystery. All we know is they’re off to an 0-1 start after a 100-71 blowout loss to the Gamecocks, the first NCAA game ever to be played in the City of Lights.
Freshman phenom [autotag]Hannah Hidalgo[/autotag] scored 13 of her game-high 31 points in the first quarter, leading the Irish to a 25-24 lead after the first 10 minutes. The second quarter was a completely different story as the Gamecocks outscored the Irish, 24-8, and never looked back. In fact, the deficit only continued to balloon from there.
The Gamecocks held considerable advantages over the Irish in many statistical categories. This included bench points (30-10), points in the paint (62-18), fast-break points (24-6), blocks (11-3) and assists (28-10). In short, the Irish were completely outplayed, outworked and outhustled after the first quarter, and it was obvious to anyone watching.
Kamilla Cardoso did the most damage for the Gamecocks with an astonishing line of 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. Freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley was equally lethal with 17 points, six assists, six steals and one of the smoothest moves you’ll ever see anywhere:
The move even got Magic Johnson’s attention:
Three other Gamecocks also reached double figures in scoring, and two of those players had at least six assists. It proved just how many complete players Dawn Staley is lucky to coach.
[autotag]Maddy Westbeld[/autotag] and [autotag]Sonia Citron[/autotag] were the two other Irish players to score in double figures with 12 points apiece.
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