Apr 2, 2013, 2:48 PM EDT
Coach McGraw’s team woke up Monday morning to find themselves in a new era of women’s basketball. What we’ll call “The Post Baylor Post Player Period,” which can be abbreviated “A.B.” for “After Brittney.”
It’s unclear wether the Irish watched Louisville’s epic upset for the ages against the prohibitively favored Baylor Lady Bears. Junior Natalie Achonwa was asked about it in Monday’s press conference but said she was busy with academic work. Coach McGraw was also asked about the game but focused exclusively on what a great win it represented for Louisville and the BIG EAST conference.
Still…one would be remiss not to mention the sudden exit of the until recently unstoppable Lady Bears in the context of the Irish’s quest for a second National Championship. It doesn’t make Notre Dame’s road to the Final Four any easier: They still have to navigate a very tough team in the second seed Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night in Norfolk.
Survive and advance and the Irish must defeat perpetual thorn-in-the-side Connecticut for the fourth time this season in order to reach a Championship game that absolutely will not feature Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims or Kim Mulkey.
Sunday night’s shift in the landscape of women’s basketball was tectonic, yes. But it doesn’t mean the Irish can lower their guard.
…which brings us to the Norfolk Region second seed: The Duke Blue Devils, who have been something of a giant killer this season recording a very impressive 10-1 record against ranked teams. Duke was considered by some to be a dark horse candidate for a one seed. Duke only lost two games all season: one to Miami and a thirty point loss to UCONN. As you’ll recall the Irish have beaten UCONN all three times they have played this season.
Here’s what you need to know about Sunday’s matchup:
Watching the Game
- Tuesday’s game will be at 7:00 pm eastern
- Television: ESPN will air the game. Dave O’Brien and Stephanie White will have the call. Jeannine Edwards will work the sidelines.
- On the global series of inter-connected tubes: ESPN 3 will have the live web stream, but only for subscribers of certain cable platforms so check in advance to confirm.
- In your ears only: Our very own Bob Nagle, legendary voice of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball, will have the radio call on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)
- Venue: Ted Constant Center in Norfolk, Virginia
Getting to know Duke
- Mascot: The Blue Devils
- 2012-13 Record: 33-2 overall, 17-1 in the ACC. Losses were to UCONN (49-79) and Miami (65-69)
- They are the 2 seed in the Norfolk Region
- Duke is 2-5 all time against top seeded teams and have faced a 1 seed in the Elite Eight for the last two seasons
- The Blue Devils have advanced to Final Four four times, and have played in the title game twice but they have never won the title.
- Head Coach: Joanne P. McCallie, 2005 AP National Coach of the Year who is in her 6th year at Duke
- How they got here: Duke won the ACC tournament 92-73 over North Carolina, then dispatched Hampton (67-51), Oklahoma State (68-59) and Nebraska (92-73) to advance to Tuesday’s game against the Irish.
- Notre Dame leads the all-time series 5-1
- Notre Dame Connection: This one’s easy. Duke’s Athletic Director is former Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White. Also Duke plays in the ACC the future home for Irish sports. Additionally, former Irish Athletic Director Gene Corrigan served as the ACC commissioner after leaving Notre Dame.
The Case for Duke
Duke is 10-1 this season against ranked teams and earned their two seed in part by winning the ACC tournament by beating North Carolina by 19 points. Clearly, the Blue Devils are a very tough team.
The Case for Notre Dame
Connecticut showed us last night that sometimes, the gap between the one and two seeds can be cavernous as they dispatched the two seed Kentucky Wildcats by thirty points to advance to the Final Four. On paper at least, we know that Connecticut is 30 points better than Duke and that Notre Dame is 3-0 against Connecticut.
YouTube Videos at Least Somewhat Tangentially Related to Duke
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
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Men’s Basketball on YouTube
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