Women's basketball: What to know about Notre Dame's rematch with Pittsburgh

Anthony Anderson
Tribune Correspondent
Feb 16, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Olivia Miles (5) reacts in the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: No. 10 Notre Dame (21-4, 12-3 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (10-16, 3-12).

WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Petersen Events Center (12,508), Pittsburgh.


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

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ABOUT NOTRE DAME: The Irish are coming off a riveting 78-76 overtime win over Louisville on Thursday, capped by Olivia Miles’ 18-footer that was the program’s first game-winning basket at the buzzer since Arike Ogunbowale’s in the 2018 national title game. … It also happened to be ND’s first overtime home contest since even longer ago, a 91-85 win over Marquette in December 2017. … The Irish improved to 2-1 in OT games under third-year coach Niele Ivey, losing to Georgia on a neutral court and winning at Georgia Tech last season. … With the extra period helping to make it happen, three ND players logged career highs in minutes against the Cardinals, with Sonia Citron at 44 (she played 42 at Georgia Tech last winter), Olivia Miles 43 and Kylee Watson 39. … Miles continues to lead the Irish in points (15.0 per game), rebounds (7.2), assists (7.2) and steals (2.1). Her rebounds and assists are identical at 181. … Citron’s averaging 14.2 points and is 38-of-88 on 3-pointers for 43%. Maddy Westbeld’s at 10.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.4 blocks and coming off a career-high four steals against Louisville; Lauren Ebo 9.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg; KK Bransford 8.2 ppg; and Watson 6.8 ppg. … Ebo, returning from a lower body injury, played for the first time in six games Thursday. The grad center saw five minutes, with Ivey indicating that the Irish intend to up Ebo’s usage each time out as long as she continues to recover. … ND trailed visiting Pitt 50-47 with nine minutes remaining less than two weeks ago before rallying for a 69-63 win. Citron had 20 points, three blocks and three steals, and Westbeld 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. … With three games left for each, the Irish and No. 9 Duke are tied atop the ACC standings at 12-3, but the Blue Devils own the head-to-head tiebreaker for seeding purposes in the league tourney. Virginia Tech’s one game back at 11-4.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH: These appear not to be your big sister’s Panthers; they appear not to be even last month’s Panthers. After starting the ACC portion of its season 0-11, last-place Pitt has rung up three wins in its last four outings with its six-point loss at ND the exception. The last time the Panthers won three of four in conference play was 2015. They joined the ACC in 2013-14 and have not won three straight league contests since, which they’ll be trying for here. All three recent wins are against clubs no better than 4-11 in the league, though they’ve also won those games by nine, six (double OT) and 11 points. … The Panthers featured a two-platoon substitution pattern against the Irish. Who starts hasn’t mattered lately. Over the last four games, Pitt’s non-starters are averaging 63% of the team’s points while playing 51% of the minutes. In each of the last two, Panther backups have tallied over 50 points, a first in program history, and totaled 109, a best in program history. … Season leaders are junior forward Liatu King (10.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.4 blocks), senior forward Amber Brown (9.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg), senior guard Dayshanette Harris (9.4 ppg) and sophomore forward Mariyah Johnson (8.5 ppg). Six other players are averaging 3.2 to 6.3 points apiece. … Harris, who scored 20 in the recent visit to Notre Dame, is at 15.5 points over Pitt’s last four games, while grad transfer guard Channise Lewis, who arrived after four years at Maryland, is at 10.3 over those four games. … Though the Panthers have another home date after Sunday, it’s the visit by the Irish that will serve as their senior/grad student day, with six players being honored. … Pitt is 4-33 all-time against ND, having dropped 16 of the last 17 overall and each of the last eight at home.

QUOTING: “I mean, playing with such good guards, and everyone else on the team, they make it real easy for me. Teams need to (defend) them, so I get a little bit more open space to go to work.” — Kylee Watson, Notre Dame forward, after her 20-point game with 8-of-8 from the field in Thursday’s win over Louisville.

— By Anthony Anderson