#23 Notre Dame Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #5 ACC
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Year one of the Niele Ivey era did not go quite as hoped. At one point the Fighting Irish were 6-3 in conference play and looked like they were turning a corner. However, a tough stretch of road games and a few cancelled games put an end to that. Coach Ivey is trying to rebuild with freshmen so there are not as many transfers coming into the program compared to many other teams in similar situations, but this is Notre Dame and the talent is clearly not lacking. What was a young team is more experienced now and they will need to use that experience to come out on the winning end of close games. If that happens, Notre Dame will be back in the NCAA Tournament.
2020-21 Record: 10-10, 8-7
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Niele Ivey
Coach Record: 10-10 at Notre Dame, 10-10 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Destinee Walker, Guard, 11.4 ppg
Mikaya Vaughn, Center, 7.6 ppg
Alasia Hayes, Guard, 2.0 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Maddy Westbeld, Sophomore, Forward, 15.2 ppg
Dara Mabrey, Senior, Guard, 11.3 ppg
Olivia Miles, Freshman, Guard, 9.3 ppg
Anaya Peoples, Junior, Guard, 9.1 ppg
Sam Brunelle, Junior, Forward, 8.7 ppg
Abby Prohaska, Senior, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Katiyan Gilbert, Senior, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Key New Players
Sarah Cernugel, Sophomore, Guard
Trinity Cha, Sophomore, Guard
Sonia Citron, Freshman, Guard
Maya Dodson, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Stanford
Natalija Marshall, Sophomore, Forward
The reigning ACC Rookie of the Year is a great place to start. Maddy Westbeld led the Irish with 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6-3 forward proved to be an efficient and effective scorer from all over the floor and even dished out 2.5 assists per game. Another young player ready for a breakout season of her own is Olivia Miles. She only played in six games last season after enrolling early, but averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 assists in those contests. For somebody who was not practicing with the team until a few days before making her collegiate debut, at the age of 17 no less, those are some impressive numbers. With a full offseason under her belt, Miles is ready for a big season. The rest of the backcourt is an experienced trio of upperclassmen who started last season. Dara Mabrey was the best scorer of the bunch, averaging 11.3 points per game and knocking down a team high 40 three-pointers. Anaya Peoples added 9.1 points per game and was second on the team with 6.0 rebounds. Abby Prohaska is not a big scoring threat, but she can do a bit of everything. Sam Brunelle took a step back in the scoring department last season after tallying 13.9 points per game as a freshman in 2019-2020. She showed flashes though and led the Irish in scoring three times in their last six games. Maya Dodson is the lone transfer and will help replace the lost production of Mikaya Vaughn in the frontcourt. A quartet of freshmen, led by 6-1 guard Sonia Citron will add even more potential options for Coach Ivey.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.0 (88th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.5 (267, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.6 (19, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.1 (214, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (216, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.2 (41, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.2 (109, 8)
Rebound Margin: -0.7 (184, 11)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (38, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.1 (238, 12)
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#5 Olivia Miles
#21 Sonia Citron