Notre Dame Basketball: Irish Women to Host Ohio State in Big Ten/ACC Challenge


Irish, Buckeyes to clash in early season battle

Notre Dame will only be facing Ohio State for the fourth time in their history, but when head coach Muffet McGraw looks over at the Buckeyes bench she’ll see a familiar face. OSU head coach Kevin McGuff is a former assistant of McGraw, and a key part of the coaching staff that helped bring Notre Dame win their first National Championship.

The two teams history is brief, with the Irish holding a 2-1 advantage in the series. Their last meeting was in 2012 when they met in the Carrier Classic, played on the deck of the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It’s believed to be the first outdoor meeting between NCAA Division I women’s teams.

Ohio State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season and finished No. 20 in the final USA Today poll of the season. They’ll be lead this year by the nation’s top scorer from last season in Kelsey Mitchell. Each team loves to run the floor and score, so it should provide an early and exciting match-up for both teams.

The Irish lost their top scorer in Jewel Loyd when she declared for the WNBA Draft, but will still be laden with talent from top to bottom. They return two honorable mention All-Americans in Lindsay Allen and Brianna Turner, and will add the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation to their arsenal. You’ll see two Mabrey’s on the floor, as Marina joins her older sister Michaela at Notre Dame. She was the 2015 Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year.

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The Irish also return sophomore Kathryn Westbeld and senior Hannah Huffman who were key off the bench for McGraw. Madison Cable returns for a fifth year, and junior Kristina Nelson (6-3) returns after sitting out last season recovering from shoulder surgery and will help add more size to the frontline.

The incoming class also includes Arike Ogunbuwale and Ali Patberg. Patberg was the MaxPreps Player of the Year, and Ogunbuwale was a three-time Wisconsin Player of the Year.

The stage is set for another fantastic year from McGraw and her women’s basketball squad.