Notre Dame vs Oregon Women’s NCAA Tournament 2018: Bracket, schedule, scores, updates Short-handed Ducks facing Fighting Irish in Elite Eight Monday 3/26/2018.
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SPOKANE — To look at its resume alone, Notre Dame’s accomplishments this season could be seen as business as usual for the historically dominant women’s basketball program.
After a fifth consecutive ACC regular-season title, the Irish (32-3) earned a top seed in the NCAA Tournament for a seventh consecutive season. They have played in the tournament each of the past 23 years.
Of course, this year has been anything but normal.
Four Irish players are sitting out after suffering ACL injuries in their knees, all in the past calendar year. Three of those injuries — Mychal Johnson, Mikayla Vaughn and Lili Thompson’s — have occurred since the fall, leaving Notre Dame with seven healthy players on scholarship entering Elite Eight matchup with No. 2 seed Oregon at 6 p.m. Monday at Spokane Arena.
In addition, post Kathryn Westbeld is nursing an injured ankle and scored four points with six rebounds in 32 minutes in Saturday’s Sweet 16 win over Texas A&M. On Sunday, Westbeld said she feels “a little bit better each day.”
“I think with the limited bench that we have,” coach Muffet McGraw said, “it makes it difficult for them.
To reach the program’s first Final Four, the Ducks (33-4) must use their depth — what coach Kelly Graves has called one of the team’s strengths — as an advantage.
In its Sweet 16 victory Saturday, Oregon’s bench players outscored those from Central Michigan, another team with a short rotation, 15-2. Notre Dame’s starters contributed 84 of its 90 points against the Aggies.
Women’s NCAA Tournament 2018 continues with Elite Eight games next on the schedule. Mississippi State and Louisville clinched Final Four berths Sunday. Games will continue Monday, March 26. Below find the schedule, bracket, and scores for the Elite Eight games.
No. 1 UConn plays No. 2 South Carolina and No. 1 Notre Dame takes on No. 2 Oregon.
Women’s NCAA Tournament 2018: Bracket
Women’s NCAA Tournament 2018: Schedule for Elite Eight
Monday, March 26
7 p.m. ET — No. 1 UConn vs. No. 2 South Carolina | ESPN
9 p.m. — No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Oregon | ESPN
Women’s NCAA Tournament 2018: Scores, results for Elite Eight
Sunday, March 25
No. 1 Louisville 76, Oregon State 43 | Box score
No. 1 Mississippi State 89, No. 3 UCLA 73 | Box score
I always feel like we have an advantage when it comes to depth,” Graves said. “We really do play a deep bench, sometimes not a ton of minutes.
“…We’ll always try to use that as an advantage. I love our bench. I trust our bench.”
Forward Oti Gildon, who grew up in Spokane and became a five-star recruit at local Gonzaga Prep, has been instant offense off the bench in the postseason with 32 points in 64 minutes. She also grabbed seven rebounds in Saturday’s 83-69 win over Central Michigan. Post Mallory McGwire is a dangerous shooter with her foul-line jumper her calling card.
The attrition has hurt how many guards Muffet can play, in particular. There is no scholarship guard she can insert off the bench.
The Ducks are led by national player of the year candidate Sabrina Ionescu who, along with Lexi Bando, gives Oregon two players among the nation’s top 20 in three-point accuracy. UO leads the country in three-point shooting despite making just 35 percent of its attempts from deep Saturday.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to guard the three-point line,” McGraw said. “We’re playing more bigs than we want to, which makes it even more difficult to guard the three-point line.