Notre Dame Women’s basketball continues its brief two-game home stand with a Thursday night game against Florida State. The Fighting Irish will play their first game without Dara Mabreywho suffered a season-ending injury on Sunday.
Where: Notre Dame, Ind—Purcell Pavilion
When: Thursday, Jan. 26 – 8:00 PM EST
Network: Regional Sports Network – Tom Werme and Fallon Stokes
Radio: ND Radio Network, 99.9 FM WQLQ in South Bend – Sean Stires PBP
Let’s take a look at today’s matchup:
#7 NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (16-2, 7-1 ACC)
Head Coach: Swallow Ivey (50-21 – 3rd season at Notre Dame)
Notre Dame improved to 8-1 at home this season with Sunday’s 78-54 win over Virginia. Sonia Citron led the Irish with 20 points, thanks in large part to going 6 for 7 from 3-point range. She hit her first six 3s before missing her last attempt in the fourth quarter. Citron just missed a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds. Lauren Ebo added 15 points off the bench, while Olivia Miles scored 12 points and dished out seven assists.
The result was the good news, but there was considerable bad news on Sunday for the Irish as well. Mabrey suffered an ACL tear and a tibial plateau fracture of her right knee early in the game, which means the end of the Graduate student’s college career. Mabrey had started every game of her 135-game career, the first two at Virginia Tech and the last three at Notre Dame.
Projected Irish Starting Lineup
G Olivia Miles– 5-10, Soph. – 15.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 7.1 APG
G Sonia Citron – 6-1, Soph – 13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG
F Kylee Watson – 6-4, Jr. – 6.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 17 BLK
F Maddy Westbeld – 6-3, Jr. – 10.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 26 BLK
#24 FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (18-4, 7-2 ACC)
Head Coach: Brooke Wyckoff (18-4 in 1st season at school, 28-13 in 2nd year overall)
Brooke Wyckoff will be the fourth first-year head Coach Notre Dame has faced in the last five games. The Florida State alum played in the WNBA from 2001-2009 before returning to her alma mater as an Assistant in 2011. Wyckoff led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament as FSU’s interim head Coach in the 2020-2021 season when head Coach Sue Semrau took a one-year leave of absence. Wyckoff moved back to her role as associate head coach last season and took over the program for good when Semrau stepped down last March.
The Seminoles are led by freshman Ta’Niyah Latson. The 5-8 guard is leading the ACC at 23.6 points per game. She is 30 for 83 on 3-pointers and has hit 142 of 163 (87%) from the free throw line. She has been named ACC Rookie of the Week nine of a possible 11 times this season.
Projected Starting Lineup
G Ta’Niyah Latson – Stats – 23.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.2 APG
F Makayla Timpson – Stats – 13.1 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 54 BLK
G Sara Bejeda – Stats – 11.9 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.5 APG
F Erin Howard – Stats – 7.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.4 APG
G Jazmine Massengill– Stats – 5.7, 4.5 RPG, 3.9 APG
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
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For the first time this season, Notre Dame will have to change its starting lineup after the season-ending injury to Mabrey. She had been part of Notre Dame’s starting five that started the team’s first 18 games together. Despite a recent shooting slump, Mabrey also leads the Fighting Irish with 33 3-pointers made this season. Citron is the next closest with 24 after connecting on six vs Virginia.
The most likely move is for KK Bransford to make her first career start. The freshman is currently averaging 7.9 points in 20.8 minutes. She has played in all 18 games, reaching double figures six times, including 10 on Sunday vs UVA. Midseason enrollee Cassandre Prosper is also likely to see increased minutes. The 6-2 freshman has played in all seven possible games since joining the team right after Christmas. She’s averaging 3.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 10.1 minutes per game.
The Seminoles and Irish are No. 1 and 2 in the ACC in scoring offense, averaging 85.8 and 79.7 points, respectively. But the Irish have the No. 3 scoring defense (58.0), while FSU is second to last in the conference at 66.9 points. Florida State’s best win is over No. 15/19 North Carolina. Their two ACC losses are to Boston College (in OT) and Louisville.
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