The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Team open up their title defense on Friday. Here is a preview of the game vs. Harvard.
The last time Muffet McGraw’s Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team was on the court, confetti was falling and a trophy was raised. Now, the journey to defend that title begins. This will begin with a matchup against Harvard. Tipoff for the game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.
When the Irish take the floor on Friday afternoon, expect Arike Ogunbowale, Jackie Young, Brianna Turner, and Jessica Shepard to be in the starting lineup. The point guard spot will be an area to keep an eye on for the Irish. In Notre Dame’s lone exhibition game, Marina Mabrey was unable to play due to injury. While an MRI revealed nothing serious about Mabrey’s injury, it isn’t completely apparent how much the senior might miss.
On Thursday afternoon, McGraw officially announced that Mabrey is unable to go, so expect freshman Jordan Nixon to get a look at the point. This is a position that has seen a lot of turnover in recent years, so if the Irish can develop Nixon into a good point guard at this level, it could be a real asset moving forward. If she struggles or the Irish want to mix things up, Young could also take a few reps at the point, as she did at the end of last season and into the tournament.
Another player to keep an eye on is Brianna Turner. Last season, Turner sat out after tearing her ACL in the 2017 postseason. With Kathryn Westbeld and Kristina Nelson graduating, the Irish have a starting forward spot open. Turner and Jessica Shepard are both strong under the basket, but
In 2017-18, Harvard went 18-11 and lost in the first round of the WNIT to Fordham. The Crimson are returning 13 players from last season. Of those returning players, four were among the top five scorers on the team last season.