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Preview: No. 21 Michigan faces struggling Notre Dame in measuring stick matchup

The Michigan Wolverines face their first Power Five conference team of the season on Saturday. Notre Dame has struggled against ranked teams — 0-2 in such matchups this season.

Naz Hillmon looks to lead the Wolverines to their fifth win of the season.
Courtesy of Michigan Women’s Basketball Twitter

The No. 21 Michigan Wolverines welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their toughest matchup, on paper, this season. Notre Dame has clearly taken a step back this year, with losses to Tennessee and Michigan State behind them. Even so, the Fighting Irish are the first Power Five conference team on the schedule for the Wolverines and should not be underestimated.

Michigan is coming off a seesaw battle of a win against the Akron Zips, 80-71. The Wolverines were outscored by 16 points in the second and third quarters, while they outscored the Zips by 25 points in the first and fourth quarters. Sophomore Naz Hillmon scored a career-high 28 points in the win. Hillmon is averaging 17 points per game on the season to lead her team.

Notre Dame completed a comeback in their 54-51 win against Toledo. The Irish trailed 18-10 after the first quarter and would not gain the lead until there were fewer than five minutes left in the game. Sophomore Katlyn Gilbert and freshman Sam Brunelle are scoring 16 points per game so far this season.

Brunelle has been outstanding for the Irish. She registered her first career double-double in the win against Toledo with 19 points and 13 rebounds. She’s also highly proficient at putting the ball in the basket, scoring at least 12 points in each game she’s played thus far.

Notre Dame has struggled offensively, averaging 66 points in their five games, which ranks 187th in the country. However, they are forcing about 20 turnovers per contest while turning it over 16 times themselves. Michigan (although against severely lesser competition) has averaged 80 points per game.

Three-point shooting is a stat to pay attention to in this matchup. Michigan was 2-of-10 against Akron while Notre Dame was 1-of-10 against Toledo. Michigan has shot 38 percent on the season while Notre Dame comes in shooting just 21 percent from beyond the arc.

Michigan is at home and a win can solidify their standing at this point in the season. Notre Dame can start to put those early-season losses behind them with a tough win on the road.

Game information

No. 21 Michigan Wolverines (4-0) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-2)

When: Saturday, Nov 23 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch: BTN+