5 - This thing starts and ends with #5, Olivia, "The Magician", Miles. Don’t forget it. While Ms. Walking-Triple-Double and National Player of the Year candidate wasn’t dealing dimes early against the Huskies, Miles, who opened the season’s scoring with a three, kick-started the Irish with ten first quarter points, three rebounds, and three steals. Baller.
I have goosebumps thinking about getting to watch #5 play this year. It’s going to be So. Much. Fun. Calling it now…Miles is going for a quadruple-double this year in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
6’5", 6’4", 6’4" - Maya Dodson had a huge 21-22 season. In Dodson, the 6’3" Stanford transfer, the Irish had an athletic big who carried the squad for stretches by getting easy buckets on post feeds and a rim protector who started the fast break with blocks and finished it through contact. But, despite her oversized heart and hustle, Notre Dame was a bit undersized down low, especially against elite squads.
That’s changed. After Dodson was wrongfully denied a final year of eligibility by the NCAA, Coach Ivey and her staff got to work and added 6 foot 4 Texas transfer Lauren Ebo and 6 foot 4 Oregon transfer Kylee Watson, AND they got 6 foot 5 junior Nat Marshall back from a November, 2021 ACL injury. The Irish front line, as strong as any in the country, is going to do work in the two-player game with Miles and should be tough to score against in the half court.
Against NIU, the white and gold clad home squad got 10 points & 6 rebounds from Ebo, 9 & 1 from Watson, and 9 & 2 from Marshall. Solid post production from the jump is a great sign.
4 - The vibes among Coach Ivey, Olivia Miles, and Kylee Watson at the post-game presser were special. You know how it is when you spot a group who really likes each other, who are grateful to be together, and who have each others’ backs? That’s what I’m seeing. Check back after the Irish lose one but for now the chemistry seems strong.
Of note, Ivey talked about players "individually giving a little bit more" on defense and about the team’s growth on that side of the ball this fall. Obviously, the Irish are going to score points this year, but if they lock in on the defensive side, trust each other, and get stops, the 22-23 season could be special. Really special.
Vibes + stops + talent + coaches who lead with love = a weekend trip to Dallas, Texas in late March/early April of 2023 and the program’s 10th Final Four. Let’s Gooooo!