Women's basketball: Notre Dame has rematch with No. 4 Louisville
WHO: No. 4 Louisville (24-3, 15-2 ACC) vs. No. 14 Notre Dame (21-6, 13-4).
WHEN: Sunday, noon.
WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149), Notre Dame.
LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM).
► Plenty at stake: Plenty at stake as Irish host No. 4 Louisville
► One game at a time:One game at a time: A journey through Notre Dame's 2021-22 women’s basketball season
ABOUT LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals can still tie for their fifth straight ACC regular-season title with a win and a North Carolina State loss later in the evening at Virginia Tech, though the Wolfpack will be the No. 1 seed in the league tourney regardless based on beating Louisville head-to-head. … UL’s only other losses all season are a 61-59 OT decision at No. 11 Arizona in November and 66-65 at No. 18 North Carolina on Feb. 17. … Individual leaders for the Cardinals are sophomore lefty Hailey Van Lith (13.6 points per game), senior guard Kianna Smith (11.6 ppg, 2.9 assists, 50-of-137 on 3s for 38.2%), senior transfer Emily Engstler (11.4 ppg, 9.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.8 blocks) and sophomore forward Olivia Cochran (8.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg). … Louisville’s .779 points allowed per possession is seventh-best in the nation among 356 Division I teams, while its offense ranks 21st. By comparison, ND rates 58th defensively and 43rd offensively. … Cardinal coach Jeff Walz is 409-111 in his 15th season. His teams have advanced to at least the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight on six occasions, including national runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2013.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME: The Irish, 13-0 at Purcell, are trying to earn the eighth unbeaten home regular season in their 45-year history (the others were completed in 1979, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018). … Including its 73-47 loss two weeks ago at Louisville, Notre Dame has dropped five straight to the Cardinals, its longest active skid against anybody, with two of those games at home. Four of those five defeats have been by 17 or more points as well. The Irish still lead the all-time series 16-11, yet dating back to a 100-67 blowout road loss in January 2018 by none other than a club that went on to win the national title, they’ve lost seven of the last nine meetings. … ND leaders are Olivia Miles (13.8 ppg, 7.1 assists, which is fourth in the nation, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals), Maya Dodson (12.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.8 blocks, which is eighth in the nation), Sonia Citron (11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.6 steals), Maddy Westbeld (11.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Dara Mabrey (9.7 ppg, 2.5 apg, 56-of-158 on 3s for 35.4%). … If the Irish beat Louisville, it would mark the first time in program history that they knock off two top-five opponents within the same regular season. ND defeated No. 3 NC State on Feb. 1.
QUOTING: “I want us to come out there and play with heart. This is our home, it’s the last game before the ACC Tournament. So if we play our game, it’s gonna be a great game. We’re gonna be ready for them.” — Maya Dodson, ND forward, on the Louisville rematch.
— By Anthony Anderson