Women's basketball: All you need to know about Notre Dame's game with Virginia Tech

By Anthony Anderson
ND Insider
Notre Dame's Maya Dodson tries to grab a loose ball after North Carolina State's Elissa Cunane, bottom, fell to the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

WHO: Virginia Tech (15-5, 7-2 ACC) vs. No. 20 Notre Dame (17-4, 8-2).

WHEN: Thursday, 8 p.m.

WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149), Notre Dame.

TICKETS: Available.

WATCH: ACC Network.

LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM).

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

► Women's basketball: Notre Dame gets 'emotional' in stunning win over N.C. State

About Virginia Tech

Notre DameÕs Mikayla Vaughn (30) reaches for the ball next to Virginia TechÕs Elizabeth Kitley during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 84-78. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

The well-rested Hokies, in contrast to the Irish facing a second game in three days and fourth in eight, will be playing for the first time in seven days. … Tech’s won four of its last five, each by double digits, including a 65-54 win at then-No 16 Duke, with the loss being 51-45 at No. 3 North Carolina State. … The Hokies are led by ACC Player of the Year contender Elizabeth Kitley. The 6-6 junior center has been named the league’s player of the week four times. Nobody else has earned the nod more than once. Kitley’s averaging 18.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks, making her the lone 18/10/3 performer in the conference, male or female, to go with 54% shooting from the field. … Fifth-year guard Aisha Sheppard, who tallied 29 points in the second of two Notre Dame-Tech meetings last season, is averaging 12.9 to accompany 58-of-155 on 3s for 37.4%. Sheppard’s second among all active ACC players with 1,703 career points. … Other Tech leaders include sophomore Georgia Amoore (10.6 ppg, 4.4 assists, 39-of-99 on 3s); Purdue transfer and Martinsville product Kayana Traylor (10.1 ppg); Cayla King (7.5 ppg, 42-of-100 on 3s); and Azana Baines (7.0 rebounds, 4.7 ppg). … The patient Hokies rank 314th of 356 Division I teams in tempo. Far more relevant to effectiveness, they’re 23rd in defensive efficiency and 27th in offensive efficiency. They also stand 14th in fewest points allowed (54.2).

About Notre Dame

The Irish need a win to remain ahead of Tech for fourth place in the ACC (NC State is 10-1, Louisville 9-1 and Georgia Tech 9-2). The top four seeds receive the coveted double byes in the ACC Tournament next month.

North Carolina State's Kai Crutchfield (3) is defended by Notre Dame's Dara Mabrey (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

… Former Hokie and current ND guard Dara Mabrey has proven one of college basketball’s most durable players over her four seasons. She started all 64 games Virginia Tech played over her two years there and has started all 41 the Irish have played since her transfer. She also owns the novelty of being on the victorious side in each of the teams’ last three meetings, with ND prevailing 84-78 and 65-60 last winter, after Mabrey helped visiting Tech to a 68-62 win in February 2020. That stands as the Hokies’ lone victory across the two programs’ last 10 meetings dating back to January 2004. … Maya Dodson, coming off a sparkling 20-point, 10-rebound show in Tuesday’s 69-66 knock-off of No. 3 North Carolina State, is among ND’s season leaders at 12.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. Others include Olivia Miles (13.6 ppg 7.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals), Maddy Westbeld (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Sonia Citron (11.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Mabrey (10.9 ppg, 48-of-125 on 3s for 38.4%). Sam Brunelle has added 10.7 points a game over her last seven outings off the bench.

Quoting 

“We’re gonna celebrate, and then tomorrow morning we’re gonna get back to business, because I just feel like you gotta celebrate. It’s hard in this league, so they need to celebrate this and then tomorrow we’ll watch film and look at Virginia Tech.” — Niele Ivey, Notre Dame coach, after Monday’s win on the quick turnaround.

— By Anthony Anderson