|GAME 31||NO. 14 SOUTHERN UTAH AT NO. 3 NOTRE DAME|
|WHEN:||FRIDAY, MARCH 17 | 3:30 PM ET|
|WHERE:||SOUTH BEND, IN | PURCELL PAVILION|
|LISTEN:||NOTRE DAME RADIO NETWORK | CLICK HERE|
|SOCIAL:||@NDWBB | #GOIRISH|
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When No. 14 seed Southern Utah takes the floor at Purcell Pavilion on Friday afternoon, it will be the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. Contrast that with third-seeded Notre Dame, who will be playing in its 28th Tournament and its 25th Tournament game at home. But this is March, and anything is possible.
Notre Dame arrived here via a 25-5 season, one which included a regular season ACC title and a trip to the conference semifinals. Sonia Citron ran the point for an Olivia Miles-less Notre Dame team, putting up 28 points against NC State in the ACC quarterfinals. She now leads Notre Dame with 14.7 points per game and earned AP All-America Honorable Mention status on Wednesday. She will have to step up in the Tournament as well, as Notre Dame announced on Thursday that Miles will be out for the remainder of the year.
Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey has an arsenal of additional players at her disposal, including a pair of standout freshmen in KK Bransford and Cassandre Prosper. Bransford was tabbed as a member of the ACC All-Freshman Team at the conclusion of the regular season, and Prosper has already turned into one of Notre Dame’s best defensive players. Despite not playing for the Irish until Dec. 29, Prosper ranks third amongst ACC freshmen with 15 total blocks this year.
The Thunderbirds are riding a six-game win streak into the NCAA Tournament, including a Western Athletic Conference championship in the program’s first year in the league. Head coach Tracy Sanders largely uses a six-person rotation, and they have some height. Megan Jensen, a 6-3 center, and Lizzy Williamson, a 6-5 center, have started a combined 62 games this year.
Scoring-wise, Southern Utah is led by guard Cherita Daugherty. The 5-10 senior out of Vancouver, Wash., is posting 15.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. She had 26 points in the WAC Championship. While Daugherty is on top, the Thunderbirds bring a relatively balanced scoring attack to the table. In total, six players average at least 8 points per game.
Notre Dame is 69-25 in the NCAA Tournament, 23-4 in the First Round, 22-2 in home Tournament games all-time. The Irish…
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