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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

Irish men win in overtime against Oklahoma State, women capture third straight victory over Illinois

Men's Basketball

Following a 23-point loss to Auburn on Thursday night, the Irish fought back to edge out an overtime victory against Oklahoma State 66-64. Led by freshman guard Markus Burton with 20 points, the Irish played and won their first overtime game of the season. Junior guard J.R. Konieczny made his first start this season and produced a strong 11-point game with 2 made threes helping lead the Irish to victory down the stretch. 

After falling behind 11-5 in the first 5 minutes, freshman forward Carey Booth knocked down 2 threes in a minute to tie the game. After taking the lead 13-11 on a layup from freshman guard Braeden Shrewsberry, the Irish never trailed again through regulation. Allowing only 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Irish piled on to keep a 10-point lead 46-36 with 10 minutes left in the game. However, the Cowboys, led by Javon Small's 16 points in the final 10 minutes of the game, did not give up and found themselves with a chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds. Eric Dailey Jr. made 1-2 free throws that evened the game at 55. Burton had a chance to win it at a buzzer with a contested baseline jumper that rimmed out as time expired, sending it into overtime. 

The Cowboys continued their strong fourth-quarter momentum retaking the lead for 59-55 for the first time since 11-9 in the first half with 3:56 left in overtime. The Irish battled back, and Burton banked in a layup and hit a free throw for a crucial 3-point play to bring the score to 61-62. With 1:35 left, Burton hit two more free throws to regain the Irish lead 63-62. Then capped off by strong defense and free throws from Konieczny, the Irish closed the game out 66-64. Ending the night 8-9 from the free throw line in overtime was impressive for the Irish who have shot 72% on free throws this year. As Konieczny’s minutes have increased through the season ramping up to replacing Shrewsberry in the starting lineup, the Irish seem to have another major scoring threat on offense. Still shooting 21-94 on their threes (22.3%) this season, they have significant offensive areas to improve. A nice bounce-back victory brings the record to 2-2 with the next game home against Maryland Eastern Shore Wednesday. 

Women's Basketball

The Irish women also secured a victory this weekend against Illinois 79-68. The win is the team's third in a row since the season-opening loss to No. 1 South Carolina. Led by freshman guard Hannah Hidalgo and senior forward Maddy Westbeld each with 24 points, the Irish controlled the game against Illinois. In their first game since leading scorer and junior guard Sonia Citron suffered a sprained knee, the Irish still shot efficiently and continued their scoring barrage from the 3-point line going 7/13 (53.8%). While the Illini held the Irish to 79, Notre Dame still controlled the game to win.  

With three minutes to go in the first half, Illinois cut the lead to one point, but the Irish quickly scored 9 straight and extended the halftime lead to 37-27. Despite Genesis Bryant’s best effort with 15 points in the first half for the Illini and 31 on the night, closing quarters continue to be a strength for the Irish as they fed off of Westbeld’s 15 in the first half. To start the second half, Notre Dame continued the momentum and ballooned the lead to 49-33 in the 3rd. Leading 61-45 at the end of the third quarter, the Irish never looked back. In the fourth, they led 70-50 after a KK Bransford 3-pointer with 6:44 remaining and went on to win 79-68, bringing their record to 3-1. 

The Irish have continued to impress even with their most prolific scorer in Citron out for “a few weeks” according to head coach Niele Ivey. Hidalgo has stepped up her scoring, together with Westbeld who is averaging 16 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Averaging close to 19 assists per game and 39.7% from 3, Notre Dame has found its recipe for success as they continue to dazzle in non-conference play after the South Carolina loss. Notre Dame faces Chicago State on Tuesday and looks to continue the winning streak without Citron. 

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