Women's basketball: What you need to know about Notre Dame's game at Wake Forest

By Anthony Anderson
ND Insider
Dec 19, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Niele Ivey (right) talks to forward Sam Brunelle (33) in the second half against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 20 Notre Dame (11-3, 2-1 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (12-4, 2-3)

WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (14,407), Winston-Salem, N.C.

WATCH: ACCNX (subscription required).

LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM).

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

► Notre Dame women's basketball: A decent midseason report card for Ivey's Irish

About Notre Dame

Irish coach Niele Ivey said Wednesday that “three or four players” were unavailable last week as part of the team’s adherence to COVID health and safety protocols. Starter Anaya People shared that she was one of them, adding that she became ill Wednesday and experienced “pretty bad” symptoms for about three days. She returned to practice Tuesday and said she feels ready to go. … Ivey said she expects backups Abby Prohaska and Katlyn Gilbert to be the lone players unavailable against Wake Forest, in Prohaska’s case because of her continuing recovery from a concussion suffered Dec. 22 at DePaul. … With last Sunday’s scheduled matchup against N.C. State postponed due to the pause, the Demon Deacons will be ND’s first game in 11 days and just second in 22. The team’s last contest was also along Tobacco Road, a 72-70 loss at now-No. 16 Duke. … Irish leaders include Maddy Westbeld (13.8 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, 57.0 effective field goal percentage), Olivia Miles (12.6 ppg, 7.5 assists to rank second in the nation, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 steals), Maya Dodson (12.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.6 blocks), Sonia Citron (11.7 ppg, 33-of-37 at the line) and Dara Mabrey (10.0 ppg, 3.1 apg, 30-of-79 on 3s for 38%). … If ND’s schedule isn’t tweaked again, Thursday’s game will be the first of 12 in 36 days, or 13 if the N.C. State contest is rescheduled for within that window.

Notre Dame's Anaya Peoples (21)during an NCAA basketball game against Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. (Tribune Photo/Robert Franklin)

About Wake Forest

The Deacons are coming off Sunday’s stunningly lopsided 87-46 loss at Florida State (7-6, 1-2), which occurred just 10 days after they beat the Seminoles 75-69 in overtime. … Wake is 3-0 in games decided by six or fewer points and is 9-2 at home. … The Deacs have faced just one ranked team, losing 62-45 three weeks ago at No. 18 Georgia Tech. … Sophomore sharpshooter Jewel Spear is pacing Wake at 19.8 points per game. She’s converted 49-of-130 on 3-pointers for 37.7% (the rest of the team is 49-of-184 for 26.6%) to go with 49.6% on 2s and 83.1% at the line. … Other leaders include 6-2 senior forward Christina Morra (9.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg), freshman guard Elise Williams (8.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.4 steals) and 6-2 junior forward Olivia Summiel (6.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg). Seven other players are averaging 3.4 to 6.5 points each. … The Deacs have been strongest on the defensive end. Their effective field goal percentage allowed of 40.3 is 39th in the nation among 356 teams and their 3-point percentage allowed of 25.2 ranks 23rd. Their points per possession allowed of .873 is 47th and their defensive rebounding rate of 74.1% is 27th. … Wake has never beaten Notre Dame in nine tries. The two closest meetings have been the last two, with visiting ND winning 75-71 in February 2020 and host ND prevailing 79-72 last January.

Quoting 1

“When you take a loss, it’s like you want to get right back after it. After the Georgia loss, after UConn, we played right away … so having this time (off) is definitely unsettling as a coach, but it gave us an opportunity to watch a lot of film, do individual work, and a lot of teamwork (and) team building, so tomorrow we’ll be ready.” — Niele Ivey, Notre Dame coach.

Quoting II

“We’re renewed, we’re ready. We have energy. I mean, I guess to look on the positive side, we had a little break, and now we have a lot of energy to go back on the court and kick some butt.” — Anaya People, Notre Dame junior guard.

— By Anthony Anderson