Tournament Wrap Up

Author: Matt Cotner

Tournament Wrap Up

Men's Basketball

The men’s basketball team’s season ended in a 59-53 loss to No. 3-seeded Texas Tech in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. This capped an impressive run for the Irish, who had been relegated to the First Four after an early exit in the ACC Tournament left their NCAA Tournament hopes in doubt.  

The journey started in Dayton, as the Irish defeated Rutgers 89-87 in double overtime. Cormac Ryan recorded a huge steal in the waning moments of the first overtime to give the Irish a one-point lead. Rutgers answered with a 3, but Blake Wesley was able to drive and score with four seconds left to send the game to a second overtime.  

The second overtime featured noted late-game playmaker Ron Harper Jr. hitting a 3 to tie the game with 23 seconds left. Notre Dame had the last possession, and made the most of it, as Paul Atinkinson Jr. grabbed a missed Blake Wesley layupto score the game-winning bucket with two seconds remaining.

The Irish then traveled to San Diego for a Round of 64 matchup against Alabama. This game was much less stress-inducing than Rutgers, as the Irish controlled the game comfortably through the second half, shooting 10-of-16 from 3 en route to a 78-64 victory. Cormac Ryan had a career day with 29 points and finished a staggering 7-of-9 from 3.

Notre Dame’s season met its end two days later against Texas Tech. The offense sputtered against one of the premier defenses in the country. However, the Irish still led by three with 2:09 left, only to get outscored 10-1 the rest of the way. Surely, this tournament run counts as a successful performance, but the Irish will regret the missed opportunity to reach the second weekend of the tournament for the first time since 2016. 

Women's Basketball

A bounce-back season in coach Niele Ivey’s second year at the helm was punctuated with a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame had little trouble on the offensive end in the first two rounds, scoring a combined 197 points. They dispatched UMass with an 89-78 win in the first round. Olivia Miles became the first freshman in NCAA Tournament history to record a triple-double.

The second round matchup featured an offensive explosion from the Irish, demolishing fourth-seeded Oklahoma 108-64. Maddy Westbeld, Maya Dodson and Dara Mabrey all eclipsed 20 points. Mabrey led the scorers with 29 points, shooting 7-of-12 from 3. Miles fell three rebounds and one point short of her second consecutive triple-double.

The following week, the offensive rhythm the Irish had dissipatedas they found themselves in a defensive battle with No. 1 seed NC State. However, with 6:40 to play, the Irish maintained a sizable 59-51 lead. Unfortunately, over the final six minutes, the Irish capitulated to an aggressive press and defensive performance by NC State, who closed the game on a 15-4 run. The Irish had a one-point lead and the ball with under 20 seconds to play, but Raina Perez picked Dara Mabrey’s pocket in the open court for an easy layup. After a defensive stand by the Wolfpack, Perez knocked down a pair of free throws to hand the Irish a 66-63 defeat.

This was certainly a successful run for the women’s team. However, similar to the men’s side, they will look back on their final game of the season with regret as they lost a golden opportunity to advance to the Elite 8.  


After a strong regular season performance that saw the Irish defeat No. 1 overall seed Michigan four times out of five, Notre Dame earned the No. 3 seed in the Albany Region and a first round matchup with North Dakota. North Dakota scored the opening goal in the first period, and Notre Dame drew even in the second period. Heading into the final minutes of regulation, the game was still tied one apiece. Then, with 90 seconds left, Jack Adams was whistled for a penalty, which meant the impressive Irish penalty kill would have to be successful one more time for their season to continue. 

The shorthanded Irish squad seemed to score as time expired to earn the victory. Then the play went under review and confusion ensued. Different clocks showed the puck crossing the goal line both before and after time had expired. Ultimately, after 13 minutes of review, the goal was ruled off, sending the game to overtime. Thankfully, Notre Dame rose above the late game drama as Graham Slaggert drilled the game-winning goal a mere 38 seconds into overtime, sending the Irish to the Albany Regional final against No.1 seed Minnesota State.

Unfortunately, Minnesota State’s impressive defensive performance ended Notre Dame’s season. The Mavericks' stifling defensive effort earned them a 1-0 win and a trip to the Frozen Four. This game was only the second in which Notre Dame was held scoreless all season. While being shutout is not the way any hockey team wants to end their season, the Irish still put on a solid performance in the regular season and postseason.