The Notre Dame women's basketball team will try to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament this evening against a familiar foe.
The second-seeded Irish (29-5) play third-seeded Oklahoma (25-10) in the Kansas City Regional semifinals. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Notre Dame defeated Oklahoma 81-71 Nov. 28 in the Paradise Jam. The Irish also knocked off the Sooners 79-75 in overtime in the second round of the 2008 tournament.
"It helps a little bit in that we know we have played them, we have beaten them," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "On the other hand, you don't want to be thinking we beat them before, we can beat them again."
One of the reasons why the Irish can't have the feeling they can beat the Sooners twice is because Oklahoma is a different team than Notre Dame saw in November.
The Sooners had just lost Whitney Hand to an injury before the Irish played them in the Paradise Jam, and point guard Danielle Robinson is a terror. Robinson is averaging 16.7 points, 5 assists and 3.2 rebounds.
Also, the Irish will have to deal with 6-foot-4 center Abi Olajuwon, whose father is former Houston Rockets start Hakeem Olajuwon. The senior is averaging 10.5 points and 7.2 rebounds.
"The style of play is a little different," McGraw said. "They lost Whitney Hand, one of their shooters, the day before our game. So, they hadn't really had a chance to change too much of their offense. They are doing things a little differently now."