One game at a time: A journey through Notre Dame's 2021-22 women’s basketball season

A running game-by-game breakdown of Notre Dame’s 2021-22 women’s basketball season:

Nov. 27 — Game 7

Notre Dame 64, Oregon State 62

Record: 7-1, 1-0 ACC

A freshman almost single-handedly flipped Notre Dame’s evening from an encouraging bounce-back display into a disastrous defeat, before the Irish escaped with a win at the Daytona Beach Invitational.

Oregon State guard Talia von Oelhoffen poured in 20 fourth-quarter points to lead the No. 16-ranked Beavers’ back from a 60-42 deficit at 7:39 remaining.

► GAME 7:Women's basketball: Notre Dame holds on for win over No. 16 Oregon State

OSU (3-2), which never drew even, had three chances to tie the game in the closing seconds, including Kennedy Brown going to the line at 0.7 remaining off her offensive board and Maddy Westbeld’s foul.

Brown, though, missed both free throws before ND’s Maya Dodson cradled her team-high ninth rebound, to go with her team-high 14 points, as time expired.

The Irish (6-1), in control much of the way, led by a high of 56-34 in the closing minute of the third quarter before the Beavers began their rally.

OSU became ND’s highest-ranked victim since the Irish downed No. 2 Connecticut at the 2019 national semifinals.

Von Oelhoffen finished with 25 points for the Beavers.

Nov. 26 — Game 6

Georgia 71, Notre Dame 67, OT

Record: 6-1, 1-0 ACC

Playing in a tight game at the wire for the first time this season, Notre Dame extended the contest to overtime, but ultimately fell from that wire in the Daytona Beach Invitational as No. 21-ranked Georgia rallied.

The Bulldogs (5-0) scored the final eight points after the Irish (5-1) took a 67-63 lead at 1:48 remaining in the extra period.

Olivia Miles, in just her 12th collegiate game, poured in a career-high and game-high 24 points for ND, but was also charged with a career-high nine of her team’s season-high 25 turnovers.

► GAME 6:ND women's basketball: Notre Dame falls in OT to Georgia

Jenna Staiti, Georgia’s 6-4 grad student center, scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked six shots — including Dara Mabrey’s top-of-the-key, 3-point try for the win as regulation expired.

Maya Dodson tallied 13 points and blocked four shots for the Irish.

Maddy Westbeld also netted 13 points, but was slowed by picking up her fourth foul at 6:14 to go in the fourth quarter with ND up 58-53.

Sophomore Sarah Ashlee Barker scored 14 points for the Dogs, while senior Mikayla Coombs piled up eight steals, seven of them in the game’s first 11 minutes.

Nov. 21 — Game 5

Notre Dame 94, Bryant 35

Record: 5-0, 1-0 ACC

SOUTH BEND — Even shorthanded, Notre Dame was decisively the long arm.

With six players scoring in double digits, the Irish buried Bryant 94-35 in at Purcell Pavilion.

It didn’t matter a bit that usual starter Anaya Peoples (flu-like symptoms), super sub Sam Brunelle (back spasms) and senior guard Katlyn Gilbert (flu) were each out, the first time this season that ND’s missed any of its scholarship personnel.

► GAME 5:Women's basketball: Irish improve to 5-0 with dominant win over Bryant

The Irish moved to 5-0 while dropping the overwhelmed Bulldogs to 0-5.

Olivia Miles dished 14 assists, three off the school record, against just two turnovers to go with 14 points and three steals.

Maddy Westbeld put in a game-high 19 points that included 8-of-10 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds.

Dara Mabrey added 14 points and five assists; Sonia Cirton 13 points; Nat Marshall 11 points and four steals; Abby Prohaska 10 points; and Maya Dodson a game-high 12 rebounds to go with four blocks and eight points.

Nov. 18 — Game 4

Notre Dame 71, Fordham 56

Notre Dame's Dara Mabrey (1) celebrates during the Notre Dame vs. Fordham University NCAA women's basketball game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame’s closest win of the young season still wasn’t that close in the end as the Irish re-pulled away for a victory over Fordham at Purcell Pavilion.

Dara Mabrey’s scorching start — 15 points in the opening quarter on her way to a game-high and season-high 20 on the evening — was accompanied by Maddy Westbeld’s 18 points, as well as by freshman Sonia Citron’s first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench, as ND improved to 4-0.

► GAME 4:Women's basketball: Mabrey comes out firing as Notre Dame downs Fordham for 4-0 start

The Irish raced to a 41-20 lead by the 4:09 mark of the second quarter.

The Rams (2-1) scrapped to as close as 54-47 at 7:40 to go in the fourth, before ND answered that with a 10-1 run to retake control.

In an encouraging sign for the Irish, it didn’t even matter much that foul-plagued point guard Olivia Miles had by far her most ineffective college game, going 1-of-9 from the field and coughing up five turnovers against two assists over 23 minutes.

Nov. 14 — Game 3

Notre Dame 82, Syracuse 56

Nov 14, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Madelyn Westbeld (34) and Syracuse Orange guard Teisha Hyman (5) battle for the ball during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Maddy Westbeld led a thunderous 21-0 finish with the first nine points of that spree as front-running Notre Dame pulled away down the stretch for an 82-56 win over host Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

► GAME 3:Notre Dame women's basketball gets season's first road test at Syracuse

The Irish improved to 3-0, all three of those wins coming by at least 26 points.

Westbeld scored 19 points, made 8-of-13 field goals and added six rebounds despite sitting out all of the second quarter and finishing at 23 minutes.

Sam Brunelle added 17 points in 24 minutes off the bench.

Backcourt partners Dara Mabrey and Olivia Miles were both multi-pronged potent.

Mabrey netted 16 points, drained 4-of-6 on 3-pointers, dished seven assists and snatched a career-high four steals. Miles tallied 10 points to go with eight assists and seven rebounds.

Nov. 11 — Game 2

Notre Dame 76, Western Illinois 50

Record: 2-0, 0-0 ACC

A double dose of double-doubles — compliments of record-tying sophomore Maddy Westbeld and freshman Olivia Miles — were the remedy as Notre Dame overcame shaky shooting and a downtick in energy at Purcell Pavilion.

With Westbeld grabbing 18 rebounds to match the Purcell standard by an Irish player and tossing in 15 points, and with Miles netting 16 points and, clutching 11 rebounds, ND pulled away in the second half of its win over first-time opponent Western Illinois.

► GAME 2:Women's basketball: Western Illinois no match for the Maddy Westbeld & Olivia Miles show

Fans stand for the national anthem before the game between Notre Dame and Western Illinois Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at the Purcell Pavilion.

Nov. 9 — Game 1

Notre Dame 105, Ohio 69

RECORD: 1-0 overall, 0-0 ACC

Notre Dame's Maya Dodson (0) goes up for a shot against Ohio's Madi Mace during an NCAA basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

SOUTH BEND — The fans were finally back, Sam Brunelle demonstrated that she’s back, and Notre Dame players performed like a seamless, selfless bunch who had each other’s backs during the season opener.

► GAME 1: Dodson, Brunelle pave way for Irish in season-opening win

On top of it all, Maya Dodson contributed in a manner that suggested she’s always been here.

With Dodson, the graduate transfer from Stanford, pumping in a career-high 25 points and blocking four shots during her official Irish debut, Notre Dame pulled away in the second half, shredding Ohio 105-69 at Purcell Pavilion.

Just a year ago, the visiting Irish lost 86-85 to virtually these same Bobcats in that opener.

Nov. 1 (Exhibition)

Notre Dame 104, Emporia State 46

At Purcell Pavilion, South Bend

Welcome to the Irish, Maya Dodson!

In her first game action in a Notre Dame uniform, the 6-foot-3 graduate transfer from Stanford wasted little time proving her worth against overmatched Emporia State (Kansas). 

Notre Dame's Maya Dodson (0) during the Notre Dame women's basketball media day Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 at the Rolfs Athletics Hall in South Bend.

She scored a game-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a game-high five shots before sitting out the fourth quarter.

“Running’s my game,” Dodson said of her Irish debut. “It’s always been my game since high school, and I’m starting to get back to that after the injuries. I think with more games, it’s going to be even (better). Right now, I’m just getting used to the pace of getting back into a game, but running’s what I want to do, and use my size and my athleticism.”

► Game story: Notre Dame women, Dodson dominant in exhibition win over Emporia State

Season preview

► Notre Dame women all healthy as season is set to begin

When Notre Dame conducted an open women’s basketball practice for its fans before the start of the season, the most notable thing missing compared to the last several years was that nobody was missing. A positive development from the previous couple seasons.

Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey during the Notre Dame women's basketball media day Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 at the Rolfs Athletics Hall in South Bend.
Notre Dame women's basketball season stats

2021-22 ND WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE

(Purcell Pavilion homes games in ALL CAPS; all times Eastern)

NOVEMBER

1: EMPORIA STATE (exhibition), 7 p.m.

9: OHIO, 7

11: WESTERN ILLINOIS, 7 

14: At Syracuse, noon

18: FORDHAM, 7

21: BRYANT, 5

26: Georgia, 4:30, (Daytona Beach Invitational)

27: Oregon State, 7,  (Daytona Beach Invitational)

DECEMBER

2: At Michigan State, 8 (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)

5: At Connecticut, noon

8: At Valparaiso, 7

12: PURDUE-FORT WAYNE, 2

19: PITTSBURGH, 2

22: At DePaul, TBA

30: At Virginia, 7

JANUARY

2: At Duke, 2

9: N.C. STATE, 2

13 At Wake Forest, 7

16: NORTH CAROLINA, 1

20: At Boston College, 8

23: At Pittsburgh, 2

27: SYRACUSE, 8

30: BOSTON COLLEGE, 2

FEBRUARY

3: VIRGINIA TECH, 8

6: At Florida State, 2

10: MIAMI, 8

13: At Louisville, 2

17: At Georgia Tech, 8

24: CLEMSON, 8

27: LOUISVILLE, TBA

Roster

No. | Player | Position | Height | Class | Hometown | High school

0 | Maya Dodson | Forward | 6-3 | Gr. | Alpharetta, GA | St. Francis/Stanford

1 | Dara Mabrey | Guard | 5-7 | Sr. | Belmar, N.J. | Manasquan/Virginia Tech

2 | Trinity Cha | Guard | 5-5 | So. | Irvine, Calif. | Crean Lutheran

5 | Olivia Miles | Guard | 5-10 | Fr. | Phillipsburg, N.J. | Blair Academy

10 Katlyn Gilbert | Guard | 5-10 | Sr. | Indianapolis | Heritage Christian

11 | Sonia Citron | Guard | 6-1 | Fr. | Scarsdale, N.Y. | The Ursuline School

12 | Abby Prohaska | Guard | 5-10 | Sr. | Liberty Township, Ohio | Lakota West

15 | Natalija Marshall | Forward | 6-5 | So. | Queens, N.Y. | Christ the King

21 | Anaya Peoples | Guard | 5-10 | Jr. | Danville, Ill. | Schlarman High

25 | Sarah Cernugel | Guard | 5-4 | So. | Westmont, lll. | Hinsdale Central

33 | Sam Brunelle | Forward | 6-2 | Jr. | Ruckersville, Va. | William Monroe

34 | Maddy Westbeld | Forward | 6-3 | So. Kettering, Ohio | Fairmont