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Notre Dame Falls Short in Sweet Sixteen, Bright Future Remains

Written by Jhett Garrett Writer Twitter/X: @JhettGarrett

Photo by Notre Dame Athletics


The Notre Dame women’s basketball team saw their season come to a close this past Friday in the Sweet Sixteen, at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers, 70-65. The Irish finished with a 28-7 record on the year and will head into the offseason with a lot of hope.


The Irish could never find an answer for the duo of Raegan Beers and Timea Gardner, who combined for 39 points, and 24 rebounds. Defensively, Notre Dame forced the Beavers to turn the ball over 26 times. There was just no paint presence for the Irish, which ultimately lost them this game.


Hannah Hidalgo didn’t have quite the afternoon that she expected, finishing with just 10 points on 4-17 shooting. The freshman just looked off her game, missing mid-range jump shots as well as looking out of place at times on the floor.


With this uncharacteristic performance, it is important to address Hidalgo’s exit from the game at the beginning of the second quarter. Throughout the season, Hidalgo has sported a nose ring which she was required to remove.





She played phenomenal and intense defense that provided a spark of energy for the Irish down 10 points. She collected two steals in total but was disruptive throughout the game on and off the ball. Along with her defensive effort, Hidalgo brought in four rebounds and tallied three assists.


Sonia Citron stepped up in this one, finishing the game with 22 points, five rebounds, and three steals. If you had to pick out any player for the Irish that pivoted them in this one, it was Citron. Her big stops on the defensive side of the ball coupled with her ability to make the big shot for Notre Dame kept them in the game. Despite the result in the end, Sonia Citron’s performance in this one should not be overlooked.


No one had a tougher task in this ballgame than Maddy Westbeld. Despite this, the junior still finished with 19 points on 7-15 shooting, while also collecting four steals. Westbeld is a face that Head Coach Niele Ivey is going to be looking to bring back next season.


In her final game with the Fighting Irish, Anna DeWolfe continued to shine in tournament play. Heading into this game, DeWolfe was averaging 10.5 points per game, which was a big part of Notre Dame finding themselves in the Sweet Sixteen. She shot the ball just nine times, knocking down five of those and finishing with 12 points. While she found herself in a lesser role than she has been used to the past four years, DeWolfe still performed when called upon, and provided veteran leadership for players that are going to be the future of the program, such as Hannah Hidalgo. The question becomes what now? Where do the Fighting Irish go from here?


Notre Dame will have the opportunity to bring back their big contributors outside of Anna DeWolfe. Two of these players include Kylee Watson and Olivia Miles, both of which did not play today. Kylee Watson’s size would have been huge for the Irish against a team like Oregon State that plays predominately in the paint. However, an injury in the ACC Tournament ended her season, leaving her watching from the sidelines. The player that Irish fans should be excited about getting back next season is Olivia Miles, who had her season ended last year, however, was not clear to play this year.





Miles was a star for the Irish a season ago, averaging 14.3 points per game, along with 7.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists, while shooting 46% from the field, and picking up 2.1 steals in the 2022-23 season. Plug those numbers into a team that just won the ACC Tournament along with 28 games? The Irish are set to once again be a force next season and it is going to be tough to beat a fully healthy Notre Dame team.


And if the Irish looked like they lacked size today, there is no need to worry in that department. The Irish will also be gaining the No. 1 post player in the class of 2024 (No. 5 overall) in 6’5 Kate Koval who is from Long Island Lutheran High School by way of Ukraine. While this is the only incoming freshman for the Irish, it is going to make a huge and immediate impact.


There is potential for Niele Ivey to coach a healthy team for the first time in her Notre Dame tenure. Not only is this her third straight Sweet Sixteen appearance, but Ivey has had an improved win total in every season she has coached in South Bend. If she can take unhealthy teams to the Sweet Sixteen in three consecutive seasons, imagine what she is going to be able to do with the healthy teams. Hopefully, we get to see that run next season with a fully loaded roster.


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