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Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Notre Dame women's basketball battles past Florida State in double overtime

Four players tallied 18 or more points as the Irish ended the Seminoles' three game winning streak.

It took a village for Notre Dame women’s basketball on Sunday afternoon.

Playing on the road against a Florida State squad riding a three-game winning streak, the Irish found themselves in a heavyweight battle. It took four players scoring  at least 18 points, two overtimes and nearly 100 points, the ACC’s highest-scoring offense eventually defended their top spot against the conference’s second-best in Tallahassee.

Early on, it seemed the Irish could be at risk of getting run out of the building, as the Seminoles raced out to an early 16-6 lead. Florida State was shooting 60% from the field and 75% from three-point range midway through the first quarter, starkly contrasting Notre Dame’s 18% and 0% splits in the same categories.

The Irish worked themselves back into the contest though, leaning on a ten point quarter from graduate student guard Anna DeWolfe, who found her rhythm early while the rest of the Notre Dame roster shot 21% in the game’s first frame.

After the game, head coach Niele Ivey praised DeWolfe — who also had eight fourth quarter points and hit a crucial three-pointer near the end of the first overtime period — for perhaps her best performance of the season.

“I felt like this was her night,” Ivey said. “She really shined in this moment. She stepped up the confidence today. I’m really proud of what she brought today and she made some big shots.”

DeWolfe wasn’t the only Irish player who made a major impact as Notre Dame eventually battled their way to a six point halftime deficit and later a double overtime win. Freshman phenom Hannah Hidalgo had an uncharacteristically inefficient day shooting the ball, finishing just 7-25 from the field, but got to the free throw line for 14 foul shots, making 13. Outside of her 27 points, Hidalgo’s all-around contributions met her usual high standards, amassing seven rebounds, nine assists and five steals.

Senior forward Maddy Westbeld was vital, chipping in 19 points as well as a team-high 14 rebounds. Westbeld’s 47 total minutes marked the most of any player on the floor Sunday. After the game, Ivey highlighted the importance of Westbeld — and DeWolfe — on and off the court, veteran influences on an otherwise generally young squad.

“We have some great leaders. They really stepped up and helped us today,” Ivey said. 

Sonia Citron capped off a quartet of particularly critical Irish performances. Like Hidalgo, the junior guard struggled with an unusually inefficient outing, finishing 7-21 from the field. But when she was needed most, her seven points in double overtime marked the most by any player in the final frame, two of which came via a pair of three throws that put Notre Dame ahead with four seconds remaining. 

After the Seminoles racked up 48 points in the first half, the Irish defense dug in their heels over the game’s final thirty minutes. Florida State didn’t crack double digit points in either of the game’s two overtime periods. The Seminoles were held without a field goal for the final four minutes of double overtime.

With the win, the Irish will now look ahead to perhaps their toughest test yet — a visit from No. 3 NC State on Thursday. Notre Dame’s history with the Wolfpack in the Ivey era is longer than most teams. The Irish topped then-No. 3 NC State 69-66 in South Bend in 2022, the team’s first statement win with Ivey as head coach. But the Wolfpack would get their revenge later that year, handing Ivey her first NCAA tournament loss in the Sweet 16. 

The teams split a pair of matches last season. Their first matchup of 2023-24 will likely prove a vital one for ACC tournament seeding. First tip is set for 6 p.m and the contest will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

Senior sports writer Jake Miller contributed to this article.

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