Women's basketball: What to know when Irish host Pittsburgh

Anthony Anderson
Tribune Correspondent
Pittsburgh Panthers guard Dayshanette Harris (1) dribbles against Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion on Dec. 19, 2021. As a freshman in 2020, Harris' shot eliminated Notre Dame from the ACC Tournament in what would be coach Muffet McGraw's final game. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Pittsburgh (8-15, 1-11 ACC) vs. No. 10 Notre Dame (18-4, 9-3).

WHEN: Thursday, 6 p.m.

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

TICKETS: Available.

WATCH: ACC Network.

LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM; link at UND.com).

Sunday wasn't the time for No. 9 Notre Dame to suffer through an identity crisis

Duke women snag first place in ACC with first-ever win over Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion

ABOUT PITTSBURGH: The Panthers are coming off their first ACC win of the season, 60-51 over visiting Virginia on Sunday. With the game tied 31-31 in the third quarter, Pitt went on a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. Senior guard Dayshanette Harris scored 10 of those points. … Harris remains a painful memory for Irish fans. As a freshman curling around two defenders, she hit a 5-foot floater along the right baseline with 2.7 seconds left as the Panthers stunned ND 67-65 in a 2020 opening-round ACC Tournament matchup at Greensboro, N.C. It would be Irish coaching legend Muffet McGraw’s last game. Harris finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for her first career double-double. … This season, she’s averaging 8.6 points and 1.3 steals for Pitt. Senior forward Amber Brown is at 10.1 points and 5.0 rebounds; junior forward Liatu King 10.0 points, 7.7 boards and 1.6 blocks; and sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson 8.3 points. … Six other players are at 3.4 to 5.8 points each, including freshman guard Marley Washeritz, whose 1.9 assists in 15.6 minutes paces the team. … The Panthers are 0-4 against ranked clubs, with single-digit margins among those games being a 53-44 loss at Duke and a 69-62 loss against Virginia Tech. … Despite its losing record, Pitt’s averaging slightly fewer turnovers than its opponents at 0.2. The Panthers are shooting just 39.1% from the field overall and 30.8% on 3-pointers, but those figures are comparable to the 39.5 and 32.1 their defense is allowing.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Coming off their first-ever home loss to Duke over seven such meetings, the Irish head into Thursday with a 15-0 all-time home record against Pitt. … ND’s in the thick of a congested fight to secure one of the four coveted double byes in next month’s ACC Tournament. The No. 9 Blue Devils lead the league at 10-2 after Sunday’s 57-52 win at Purcell, followed by the Irish and No. 19 Florida State at 9-3, No. 11 Virginia Tech at 9-4 and three other clubs in No. 14 North Carolina, Miami and Louisville all at 8-4. Notre Dame will face the Cardinals twice this month, Feb. 16 at home and Feb. 26 in Louisville. … Irish leaders include Olivia Miles (15.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 2.1 steals), Sonia Citron (14.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5 steals), Maddy Westbeld (10.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.4 blocks), Lauren Ebo (9.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg), KK Bransford (8.0 ppg) and Kylee Watson (6.0 ppg). … Ebo, who has missed the last three games due to a lower body issue, remained “day to day” Wednesday morning, according to a team official. … ND’s virtually even with its opponents in turnovers at 0.1 per game fewer, but the Irish are shooting 46.6% from the field overall and 31.7% on 3s to their opponents’ 35.2 and 28.4. … ND’s won three straight meetings against the Panthers, 15 of the last 16 — the exception being the above-mentioned 2020 Harris game — and 32 of 36 all-time. The teams meet for a second time in 11 days when the Irish visit Pittsburgh on Feb. 19.

QUOTING: “Yes, injuries have plagued us the last couple weeks, but adversity gives a lot of opportunity for our team.” — Niele Ivey, Notre Dame coach.

— By Anthony Anderson