Women’s Basketball: Northwestern blown out by No. 9 Notre Dame in turbulent loss


Tabi Parent/The Daily Northwestern

Sophomore guard Melannie Daley dribbles the ball in transition. The New York native scored a season-high eight points off the bench Wednesday night.

Jake Epstein, Reporter

Northwestern (1-2, 0-0 Big Ten) looked to build upon its undefeated home record in Wednesday’s matchup with No. 9 Notre Dame (3-0,0-0 ACC). But, unfortunately for the Wildcats, their momentum came to a screeching halt in a turbulent 92-58 loss.

The Fighting Irish took control of the game from the opening tip and never looked back. After three scoreless minutes, a three-pointer from sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh put an end to Notre Dame’s 9-0 run. 

NU did not back down from its top-ten opponent, and its patented Blizzard defense held the potent Irish offense to a meager 34.8% from the field. However, Notre Dame’s stingy post defense shut the Cats down, as they only made 29.4% of their first quarter field goals. 

“We were good (in) the first quarter,” coach Joe McKeown said. “I thought we were ready to play.”

A basketball player in a white jersey holds a ball and runs past a player in a dark blue jersey.
Graduate student guard Sydney Wood runs past a Notre Dame player. (Tabi Parent/The Daily Northwestern)


At the end of the first quarter, the Irish held a 21-14 lead, which they would swiftly build upon in the second. Irish guard Sonia Citron hit three three-pointers in the second quarter, and Notre Dame looked to be heading into cruise control before halftime. The 2022 ACC Freshman of the Year led all scorers with 24 points in the contest on an efficient 8-for-10 clip. 

With a little over a minute left in the half, tensions flared between the two squads after Irish forward Natalija Marshall and NU junior forward Paige Mott got tangled up in the paint, and a scuffle ensued. 

Irish guard Olivia Miles and Marshall received technical fouls, along with Mott. Following a lengthy review, three Cats were ejected for leaving the bench: graduate forward Courtney Shaw, junior guard Jasmine McWilliams and Walsh. 

“It’s a disappointing situation that happened — for everybody,” McKeown said.

Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said the incident was a “teaching moment,” and “lesson for both teams” in keeping composure down the stretch.

Entering the second half, NU was down 17 points and without its starting frontcourt.

Any window to stage a comeback was slammed shut early in the third quarter, as Notre Dame got out to a 12-0 run. The Cats, rendered heavily shorthanded by the first half ejections, failed to slow down the 14th ranked scoring offense in the country.

Led by Miles’ explosive play, the Irish picked apart the NU defense throughout the third quarter. Miles lived up to her First-Team All-ACC billing, tallying 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists on 6-for-13 shooting.

The Cats were granted reprieve from Miles’ game-changing speed when she received her second technical foul with one minute remaining in the third quarter. But, down 73-43 with just ten minutes to play, there was only pride for which to play.


A basketball player in a white jersey runs while dribbling a ball.
Senior guard Laya Hartman advances the ball across the court. (Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer)

NU held Notre Dame to its lowest scoring quarter to close out the game, as sophomore forward Mercy Ademusayo and sophomore guard Melannie Daley saw their first significant playtime of the season, tallying six and eight points respectively.

McKeown’s squad will look to improve upon poor showings from the free throw line and on the boards. The Cats converted just 45.5% of their foul shots and were outrebounded 58-32. They struggled heavily on the offensive glass, tallying 11 offensive boards compared to the Irish’s 24.

“We have to be smart and move forward,” McKeown said.

Next up for NU is the third of five straight home games at Welsh-Ryan Arena, as they host Southern Illinois on Saturday. The Salukis (0-2,0-0 Missouri Valley) might be an ideal opponent for NU to bounce back from its second 30-plus-point defeat in three games.

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Twitter: @jakepste1n

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