Getting Geared Up For The Irish

by Categorized: ACC, Big East women's basketball, Gampel Pavilion, Geno Auriemma, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

I don’t know about how everyone else feels, but I am really pumped up for Saturday’s UConn-Notre Dame I at sold-out Gampel Pavilion. The game is on CBS, as in Walter Cronkite, so it should be a little easier to find than ESPNU or the Pac-12 Network.

Every season brings new dynamics to rivalries as players come and go. The Irish, who lost the last two national championship games to Texas A&M and Baylor – after beating some Big East team in the semifinals both times – is a truly different team without Natalie Novosel, Dev Peters and Brittany Mallory.

Big East Player of the Year Skylar Diggins is back. So is UConn nemesis Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa, who played this summer for Canada’s Olympic team. But ND also has talented freshman, namely Jewell Loyd.  And think about this: Notre Dame scored 128 points against St. Francis (Pa.) Monday while the Huskies were celebrating New Year’s Eve in  Oregon.

After beating the Ducks, here’s what Geno Auriemma had to say about the Irish.

“Natalie (Achonwa) got a lot of experience playing in the Olympics (for Canada). She is a lot better than she was two years ago and it better than she was last year,” Auriemma said. “And Jewell has made a huge difference. She is one of the best freshmen in the country, and has added an awful lot because Notre Dame did lose a lot.

“Everybody knew that McBride was a great player in high school and she was great during their run [to the Final Four]. They have a lot of pieces in place. Their depth is going to depend on how well their freshmen keep improving but I am not surprised.”

The Huskies flew home on commercially after Monday’s game – Eugene to San Francisco, San Francisco to Washington, Washington to Hartford. They celebrated New Year’s by wearing flashy 2013 glasses on the Eugene to San Francisco leg.

Then they took some time off to rest.

“Wednesday [is the day] we will probably get back to our normal routine for game days. Then Thursday the real work will start. We’ll spend two days on the court getting ready [for the Irish].”

I can’t wait. It’s going to be a lot of fun.


The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

17 thoughts on “Getting Geared Up For The Irish

  1. bob Dahill

    John — Walter Cronkite? I know the UConn fan base skews “a bit older” but Walter Cronkite was last seen reporting on the Vietnam War.

    Maybe ‘CBS the sister company of MTV’…

    BEAT the Irish!

  2. Sam

    I know people say stats go out the window in big games, but stats do tell a story.
    I believe Uconn defense and Stewie will make a difference.

    Stats through 12/16/12
    1st 53.5-FG%-Edge Uconn
    3rd-29.9-FG% Def-Edge-Uconn
    3rd-FG Def-34.49%-Edge-Notre Dame
    6th- 3 pt FG-41%-Edge-Uconn
    9th-8.3 3’s/game-Edge-Uconn
    17th-Rebound Margin-10.3-Edge-Even
    52nd-Steals-11.8-Edge-Notre Dame
    21st- Blocks-5.8-Edge-Uconn
    32nd-14.6 Turnovers per game-Edge Uconn

  3. Sam

    One change from earlier:
    301st-FG Def-34.49%-Edge-Notre Dame

    Yes, Notre Dame is a big game, big rivalry, but I think closer matchup is Baylor

  4. Village Idiot

    I too am looking forward to the ND game. Achonwa is very good but in the past Dolson could take her, and now Dolson is thinner and more aggressive.
    Watched the 2011 Big East Championship against ND with all those graduated and McBride and Achonwa. Uconn beat them handily.
    KML is an all around Ball player now. NO more a lost sheep waiting for ND to shear her. She shall score her 20 and won’t be intimidated.
    Dolson is a new Dolson
    Faris is no longer the player to not guard
    KML is amazing enough said
    Doty is playing her best in 3 years
    Hartley-s hurt isn’t hurting
    Banks — is fast and steals everything in sight
    Stewart–is big fast, amazing shooter
    Tuck–a big body under the hoop
    Jefferson–smart, good passer, doesn’t lose the ball
    Stoke—not ready for this game
    Buck–a decent defender needs good guidance

    OK this is ONLY MY opinion–like arm pits everyone has one–don’t agree, keep it to yourself. Provide your assessment.





  5. Marion Berry

    Past performance is an indicator of future performance–doctor phil, but does not always work in basketball.

    St. Francis isn’t Baylor or Stanford–more like Uconn beating Holy Cross. 129 point is a crime, not to be admired.

    Geno calls off the dogs when the difference is 30 points. Just like Father Taylor told us, do not embarrass your opponent by rubbing it in, someday that may be you..

    How did ND do with the top 10 or top 25 or top 50??? But really after you get past the top 15 the rest are pretty bad.

  6. CT_OR_Guy

    Notre Dame beat UConn three times last year! I know; new season, different teams, but while UConn is much stronger compared to last year, ND still has some great players and is very well coached. Excited for a good game and a UConn victory!

    1. Michael Keller

      Two of those losses were in overtime. Unquestionably Connecticut is stronger this season and Notre Dame is not as strong.

  7. Mike McManus

    UCONN went to Stanford on a mission. ND is coming here on a mission. Don’t sell the Irish short because this is a good team and they will get even better. However, if UCONN plays defense like they did against Stanford, they should win the game hands down. O’Brien and Diggins have been tough on the Huskies in the past, though the real Huskie-killers have graduated. Should be a great game.

    1. Kerwin James

      Mike—You are right so often I don’t want to dis agree–BUT. In the Stanford Game, at least this past game, Uconn really had to defend ONE player tightly and the rest lost confidence. Stanford DOES HAVE 6 OR 7 GREAT PLAYERS, but they didn’t show up on the 29th.
      Notre Dame (as you pointed out) has a great coach, has depth, has a great center Achonwa, All American point guard Diggins, Excellent Freshman Loyd, a decent forwarder Braker and a Three point threat McBride. I don’t know who O’Brian is. She may be great too.

      Point is don’t put this one into the W column just yet. Hopefully Uconn will have a battle and WIN

  8. martin fallon

    If UCONN executes its defense and stays our of foul trouble, they should win at home. Jewel is still passing instead of shooting. And if we can keep Diggens from turning the corner, and we did it last year in the Big -East final, the Huskies should prevail. I still think ND is the big rivalry, and will be. When Griner leaves Baylor, they should retreat to just another team, unless there’s a future 6′ 8″ phenom waiting for them in the wings.

  9. CT_OR_Guy

    Here’s why *Notre Dame* fans should be cheering for UConn to win on Saturday. UConn clobbered Stanford last week, but then 3 days later Stanford won the Rose Bowl! Our UConn gals next destroyed Oregon, and yesterday Oregon won the Fiesta Bowl! So now our UConn women’s hoops greet ND — but ND fans, your football team is playing Alabama for the national championship! Pattern is clear — when the UConn women destroy you on the court, your football team wins a bowl game!!

  10. Sam

    1 pt loss, either doesn’t lose or win here. Both teams now have 1 loss, we will see which team is the best at the end of the year. Baylor is going to be tough game. On to the next game at Georgetown on Wed.

Comments are closed.