Coming off a Thanksgiving break tournament championship, the Notre Dame Women’s basketball team looks to get back into a normal routine with a matchup against Iowa on Thursday.
The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team took home the championship at the Vancouver Showcase over the Thanksgiving break. Now they are back home to face off against Iowa in the ACC/B1G Challenge on Thursday night. This will be the last tune up for the Irish before welcoming long time rival UConn to Purcell Pavilion over the weekend.
Well the Irish took home a championship over the holiday weekend, but what they are really thankful for is the return of senior guard Marina Mabrey. In the championship game against No. 9 Oregon State on Saturday, Notre Dame had the big five of Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale, Jackie Young, Brianna Turner, and Jessica Shepard, all starting for the first time together this season. They definitely needed all five of them as Mabrey was the only one to play under 36 minutes.
Getting Mabrey back was a huge boost for the Irish, as they are in a bit of depth trouble once again. Freshmen Katlyn Gilbert and Abby Prohaska both played just over 10 minutes against Oregon State and neither had a point. Sophomores Danielle Patterson and Mikayla Vaughn played just two minutes apiece — both failing to score in that time. And to make matters worse, freshman guard Jordan Nixon missed all three games of the tournament due to injury.
The starters were able to score 91 points, but with two top 15 teams coming to South Bend this week, the Irish are going to need the bench to step up.
Iowa is 4-1 on the season, with their one loss coming to Florida State in the Junkanoo Jam by the score of 71-67. In their five games this season, the Hawkeyes have scored over 100 points in two games. They have one win over a ranked opponent, No. 25/20 West Virginia in the Junkanoo Jam. One player to keep an eye on for the Hawkeyes is Megan Gustafson. In five games played, the senior forward is averaging 23.2 points per game. At 6’3”, she will be a tough matchup for Jessica Shepard and Brianna Turner in the post.
How to watch
Tip-off for the matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on ESPN2 as part of the ACC/B1G Challenge.