The Three Point Play - Three Thoughts on Notre Dame WBB win over the Cal Bears in St. Louis

by Andrew Lammers

"Show them who we are."

Coach Niele Ivey came up in St. Louis, balled out as a high school state champ in St. Louis, and helped lead the Irish to a Natty on April 1, 2001 in St. Louis. Bringing her squad home under the Arch to meet the family for the Citi Shamrock Classic had to be special but, like homecomings can be, was also fraught. Going home means showing you’ve made good.

The NBC camera caught Ivey’s pregame message to her squad. "Show them who we are," she said. And her Irish did. They romped to 31 first quarter points, shooting 73% from the field and going perfect from the foul line. They notched three steals, got ten points off Cal turnovers, and Olivia Miles, the Duchess of Dish, (are the goggles magical!?!) had SEVEN dimes in the first ten minutes.

This is who the Irish are: a group who gets buckets. From the jump, when Miles drove the paint and whipped a one-handed laser to Maddy Westbeld who knocked down a three, the Irish had it rolling.

There's value in adversity

Would Notre Dame prefer to have put up a hundo and have everything be easy? Likely not. Because it’s when things get tight that you find out what you’ve got. When the game got close in the 4th and Cal pulled within 3, Notre Dame found out a little about themselves.

The highly participatory referees had themselves a night. Between Cal and Notre Dame, eight players "earned" at least four fouls. Two members of Ivey’s squad were disqualified.

Miles picked up her fourth at the end of the third quarter. With Westbeld and Lauren Ebo already on the bench with four, the Irish were forced into a lineup including fifth year shooting guard Dara Mabrey handling the ball and true freshman guard KK Bransford and redshirt sophomore post Nat Marshall getting big minutes off of the bench.

Up five to start the quarter, the Irish were plus eight when Miles and Westbeld checked in halfway through the fourth. While Ivey has known for years that Mabrey is clutch, it had to be nice to learn that there’s quality, reliable depth on the bench in Bransford (3 points, 3 boards, and an assist) and Marshall (9 points, 6 rebounds, and a dime.)

Two on + two off = four November dubs

Notre Dame is two-for-two on the court in November with wins against Northern Illinois and Cal, but they’re also two-for-two off the court, picking up two big recruiting dubs this week.

Five star flame-throwing guard, Emma Risch out of Florida (29th highest rated player in the class of 2023) inked her letter of intent this week on Wednesday.

On Saturday, five star forward and walking Swiss Army knife, Cassandre Prosper (rated the the 16th best player in class of 2023 and the number one Canadian), made her commitment.

This week on Wednesday, the Irish jump on the bus to Chicago to take on Northwestern as they look to get to 3-0. Could Ivey and her staff also get a third huge recruiting win on Tuesday night when top-five player and the nation’s number one point guard, Hannah Hidalgo announces her decision. Why yes, yes they could.