Pregame Meal Before UConn-Notre Dame

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

With the expected announcement of the breakup of the Big East Conference coming this week, Notre Dame and UConn will need to plan future regular-season meetings after Monday night’s game at the Purcell Pavilion.

The Catholic 7 are expected to secede before next season into a new basketball conference that will retain the Big East name.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh will join the ACC next season. Notre Dame could either spend a year in the new Big East, which is not considered likely, or petition to be immediately included in the ACC a year before schedule.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma will approach the new era positive it will turn out well for the Huskies.

“We went from being a conference without any national respect in 1995 to becoming the best women’s basketball conference in the country – and we did it by adding Conference USA teams,” Auriemma said.

“It bothers me because you lose traditions and you won’t be seeing a lot of people you enjoy spending time with. You won’t have the chance to enjoy those relationships as much as you once did.

“You have to deal with change, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”

Auriemma said rivalries like Notre Dame will continue in a non-conference format if both schools wish it.

“We can still play all of those guys if we wanted to,’’ Auriemma said. “So that doesn’t change anything.’’

UConn, South Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Louisville, Central Florida, Temple, Southern Methodist, Houston and Memphis are expected to operate under a new banner beginning next season.

With an 18-game conference schedule planned, each team will play home-and-away against it nine rivals.

South Florida coach Jose Fernandez echoed Auriemma’s sentiment last week.

“It’s tough,” Fernandez said. “Women’s basketball is not high on the totem pole when those decisions are made. What we had was unparalleled as a basketball conference for men and women, the best in the country, without a doubt.

“Not only are we losing great teams, we are losing great people, coaches, players and administrators. But it is what it is and you have to move forward.”

Loyd Could Play

One of Notre Dame’s top assets this season is freshman guard Jewel Loyd,  a WBCA All-American last season. She sustained a concussion last Tuesday against Syracuse and did not play Saturday at Providence. She will continue to be evaluated today and the Irish say her status will be a game-time decision.

First-team All-Americans

It is expected that Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins will reprise her role as a first-team All-American this season when the Associated Press announces its team. She will be joined by Baylor’s top duo of Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims and Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike.

But who will get the fifth spot? Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne made the team last year. But she could be pushed this season by UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the nation’s top three-point shooter.

And Stefanie Dolson could garner much support for second-team.

“It’s cool to hear that,” Dolson said. “It means the hard work has paid off. It makes me happy. I just wanted to work hard not to allow it make me complacent.

Said Mosqueda-Lewis: “It’s nice to know the changes you’ve work hard to make are being noticed.”

One UConn player not in consideration would be junior Bria Hartley, a WBCA All-American last year as a sophomore. She has had a nightmare season beginning this summer when she injured her ankle playing for USA Basketball in Greece.

Hartley was 0-of-11 from the field (0-of-5 from three) in 32 minutes at South Florida. She also committed five turnovers. Hartley is 4-of-27 from the field (2-of-16) over the last three games.

 Free throw discrepancy

One of the big things to watch Monday will be how the game is officiated. Notre Dame has enjoyed an enormous advantage from the free throw line over the last six meetings, of which the Irish have won five.

“Honestly, when you go into a game if you’re a smart player you kind of get a feel for it first,’’ UConn senior Kelly Faris said. “You play aggressively until the refs kind of stop you type of thing. And if they do then you know how they’re going to call the game. At the same time, you’ve got to be smart enough not to be put in a position where you are going to let the refs kind of have to make that call or not make a call. So it’s more on us to just play our game, but you’ve got to be really smart about it. That’s where we’ve talked about mentally we have to keep growing and growing as a team and as individuals.’’

In their last six games, Notre Dame is 104 of 139 from the free throw line and has made 152 field goals. UConn is 64 of 86 from the foul line and has made 161 field goals. That means Notre Dame has scored 40 more points and taken 53 more free throws than UConn in the six games.

How crucial is this: The cumulative score of the six games is Notre Dame 439, UConn 411.

This season alone Notre Dame is 497 of 626 from the free throw line (79.4 percent). That accounts for 22 percent of its 2,272 points; UConn is 340 of 452 from the free throw line (75.2 percent). That accounts for 14 percent of its 2,397 points.

Diggins leads the Irish with 145 free throws. She has made 33 more (119) than UConn’s team leader in attempts, Stefanie Dolson (86). Notre Dame center Natalie Achonwa is also 101 of 126 from the free throw line.



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11 thoughts on “Pregame Meal Before UConn-Notre Dame



    1. MaryAnne Hartley

      I sure hope Shea Ralph had time to teach these guys how to jump into the opponents to get fouls called on them!!!
      Saw a bit of that with Stewart in the Pitt game, she initiated contact and got the call (against pitt)
      A big factor is who guards McBride. I think I’d start off with Stewart on her, Faris on Jewel. Jefferson on Diggins, at the 10 minute mark of the first half. If the kid can run Diggy ragged her shot will be off.
      I like the idea of 2-3 zone, if Stewart has learned how to play in it.

  2. Gerri

    Coaching with talent they have-draw
    The only thing seperarting these two teams is what the past great teams had. Diana want’s to beat you by 100 then shove the UC jersey in your face. Cutie Sue would just as soon tell you to go drive a truck. Maya was no less with giving no quarter to anyone at anytime until they yelled uncle. Time to walk in, stare down and bring a shovel for the clean up.

    1. Attitude, Talent not Everything

      ND doesn’t have any more “attitude” than Uconn. Diggy Baby is a complainer and pouter. Dolson, KML, Doty and Faris are not MEAN girls, but they can play mean with an attitude. If WANTING this game is the factor, Geno wins.
      Stewart and Tuck are the key. If they shy away from contact game over. If they play tough and commit under 3 fouls in the first half and score, game over Uconn wins.
      Sue Bird was/is a very nice woman–but when the going got tough, she got tougher. Who will be the Sue Bird on this team??

  3. Fairfield County Fan

    I agree Gerri – UCONN women are too nice; they need to be mean; they need to play with a chip on their shoulder , and they need to WANT THIS ONE more than ND!

  4. UconnFan

    I do not think there will be a problem with these two playing in the future since it is a game ESPN will pay good money to televise and has been a decent draw, but no more 3-4 times a year.

  5. U-Conn! Hus-kies!

    Always the refs fault. Never Genos. Never the team. Shoot 3s. Complain about FTs. Drive in the lane and pop or dish without contact. Complain about FTs. Whine. Whine. Whine. Go Huskies!

  6. marl szamatulski

    Once again, officials decided a basketball game by giving the ball away to ND on a manufactured foul Let the girls pay!

  7. pat

    we must be the dirtiest players in the league. we just foul so much it’s amazing. between Baylor and ND it was so obvious watching the game on TV that we just foul willy nilly and get caught every time (sarcasm.)

  8. Keith

    The double standard in officiating is so obvious it is laughable. Dolson’s 4th foul was a nasty intentional foul on breaker who was choking Dolson. Breaker could be fouled out in any 5 minute stretch of any game she plays. And dolson’s last foul diggings could have won the academy award!

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