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Game 16 Preview: at #1 Louisville

Irish look for their sixth program win against an A.P. top-ranked team

2021 ACC Tournament 
ACC Tourney Central:Click Here
Where:Greensboro Coliseum | Greensboro, N.C.
Listen:99.9 WQLQ-FM
Live Scoring:Statbroadcast
2nd Round:vs. #11 Clemson (10-12)
When:Thursday, March 4 | 8:30 p.m. EST
Watch:RSN - Check Affiliates
Watch:Fox Sports to Go
Quarterfinals:vs. #3 Georgia Tech (14-7)
When:Friday, March 5 | 8:30 p.m. EST
Watch:RSN - Check Affiliates
Watch:Fox Sports to Go
When:Saturday, March 6 | 2:30 p.m. EST
Watch:ACC Network
When:Sunday, March 7 | Noon EST

Notre Dame Notes | Louisville Notes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Last time Niele Ivey was on the Notre Dame sidelines against Louisville, the Irish were hoisting the 2019 ACC Tournament title. Now, the Karen & Kevin Keyes Family head coach prepares her squad for a showdown against the No. 1 team in the country.

The rivalry gets renewed on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 7. Tip is set for 2 p.m. EST.


The Irish are 5-25 all-time against the No. 1 team in the country. They have also not beaten a No. 1 team not named UConn.

• vs Connecticut, 1/15/01, 92-76
• vs. Connecticut, 3/30/01, 90-75
• vs. Connecticut, 4/3/11, 72-63;
• at Connecticut, 1/5/13, 73-72; vs
• Connecticut, 3/30/18, 91-89 (OT)

This marks the first time Notre Dame is facing a No. 1 team during the regular season since UConn on Jan. 5, 2013.


Maddy Westbeld:
• Her 15.1 ppg tops all ACC rookies and ranks 11th overall in the league
• Nationally, her scoring average ranks 10th among all Division I freshmen
• Maddy is the only freshman in the country averaging at least 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2.5 assist & 1.5 steals
Ranks 5th in the country among freshmen in the Points+Rebounds+Assists/Game category with 25.2. Tops ACC freshmen.
• Ranks in the top-15 in the ACC in 6 different statistical categories. 11th in scoring (15.1), 10th in rebounding (7.4), 9th in FG% (.460), 11th in Steals (1.5), 8th in D-Reb (5.8) and 11th in FT% (.755).


Sunday features two of the best freshmen in the ACC right now, but when diving deep into the stats, Maddy Westbeld has been the most complete rookie in the ACC this year.

ACC Freshmen Rankings: 1st in Scoring (15.1), 2nd in Rebounding (7.4), 3rd in Steals (1.5), 4th in Blocks (0.9) & 3rd in Assists (2.7)). She is the only freshman in the league to rank in the top-five in all above-mentioned categories.


When looking at subs through the parameters of played 12+ games, but has started in five games or less, Destinee is the highest scoring sixth player in the country. Walker is averaging 12.4 ppg. The next best sixth player is Lauren Bevis of G-Webb and her 11.2 ppg.

It’s not too often you have a 2020 ACC Honorable Mention player coming off your bench. Over the last nine games in particular, Destinee has thrived, scoring in double figures in six of them, and even leading the Irish in scoring in three.


Notre Dame received a major midseason pick-me-up in star point guard Olivia Miles, who has enrolled early. Miles arrived on campus on Jan. 18 and partook in a week of quarantine. Once she was cleared, she started practicing with the team on Jan. 27. She had three practices under her belt heading into Syracuse, where she made an immediate impact.

Miles recorded four points, two assists, two rebounds and three steals in just under 15 minutes of action.

Miles made up one-half of Coach Ivey’s top-five nationally ranked recruiting class that also featured guard Sonia Citron. Miles was ranked the No. 8 prospect overall by ESPN and the No. 2 point guard.


On Feb. 2, Coach Ivey tweeted, best day of 2021 by far. Shortly after the program announced the addition of Stanford transfer Maya Dodson, who will be eligible to play for the 2021-22 season.

The 6-3 forward from Alpharetta, Georgia, had previously opted out of her senior season at Stanford. In just three years with the Cardinal, Dodson already worked herself into the program’s all-time top-10 in career blocks (78) and career field goal percentage (.497).

“I am thrilled to welcome Maya Dodson to our Notre Dame family,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Notre Dame Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “She is a program changer and the perfect fit for the culture that I am cultivating. She is highly driven with an incredible skillset and work ethic. She brings great experience and leadership to a very young and talented core. I can’t wait to get to work with her!”


A season ago, the Irish ranked dead last in the ACC in three-point shooting percentage (.271). Fast forward to now and the Irish have recorded quite the renaissance from beyond the arc primarily thanks to the quartet of Mabrey, Brunelle, Westbeld and Walker. In fact, the Irish are converting 37.1 percent from three, which not only ranks 2nd in the ACC, but also 22nd in the country.

Dara Mabrey is the primary reason. Leading the ACC in three-point shooting percentage for a portion of the season, Dara has slipped to second with her 43.2 percent. That number also ranks 36th in the nation. In addition, she has been pretty lights out from deep since the start of ACC play, converting 23-of-49, aka 46.9 percent.

Brunelle is also shooting over 40 percent from deep and has made a trey in all but two games this season. She’s shooting 40.4 percent overall and 41.0 percent in ACC games.

Then there’s Walker and Westbeld who keep you honest from three, knocking down 39.0 and 38.5 percent, respectively.


The Irish have been on a wild ride as of late. Since the start of the 2021 calendar year, every game but the Syracuse loss on Jan. 31 has been decided by 10 points or less. However, the real story is that the Irish have held substantial leads in almost every single game, but went 4-3 in the month of January. One can easily envision a scenario where the Irish are 9-2 in conference play.

At Boston College, Notre Dame was up 60-48 with 3:29 remaining, before losing 64-61. At North Carolina, Notre Dame was up 70-63 with 4:36 left before losing 78-73. The Tar Heels outscored the Irish 24-15 in the fourth. At Syracuse, the Irish once held a 15-point lead and were up 65-58 heading into the fourth. Then the Orange outscored the Irish 23-4 in the fourth to lose 81-69.

Now the Irish did hold on to some fourth-quarter leads during their three-game win streak, but still saw double-digit leads shrink to a one-possession game. Notre Dame was up 67-53 with 7:00 on the clock before Wake Forest trimmed it to one possession. ND went on for the 79-72 win. At Virginia Tech, the Irish built a lead as large as 21, before the Hokies cut it to 61-58 with 19.5 seconds left. ND then surged ahead for the 65-60 victory.


Over the last four games, Dara Mabrey has recorded 21 assists to just nine turnovers. She’s also averaging 16.5 points during said span. She also boasts two 20-point scoring games over the last four games as well.

Then when looking at the whole month of January, Dara averaged 4.3 assists/game, which ranked 6th among ACC players. Points wise, she averaged 14.0 in January, which led the Irish.

Meanwhile, Sam Brunelle is starting to heat up a bit. She posted back-to-back games in double figures, totaling 29 points, eight assists and 12 rebounds. She had her best game to date this season at Syracuse on Jan. 31 — a season high 19 points, career high five assists and a season-high tying eight rebounds.


When it comes to the Mabrey family, that’s a whole lot of buckets. Queens of three some might say. Marina graduated in 2019 as the program’s all-time career made three-pointer leader, draining a total of 274. Michaela converted a career total of 228, while Dara now boasts 187. All-in-all, the Mabreys have totaled a whopping 689 splash-downs.

— ND —