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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale drives during the Irish's exhibition win over Indiana (Pa.). The junior guard will be the Irish's top scoring option this season after averaging 15.9 points per game last season.

Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:00 am

Notre Dame Women's Breakdown

Schedule

Nov. 1: Indiana (Pa.), 7 p.m. (exhibition)

Nov. 11: Mount St. Mary's, 1 p.m.

Nov. 14: at Western Kentucky, 8 p.m.

Nov. 19: at Oregon State, 2 p.m.

Nov. 24: vs. ETSU, at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 25: vs. USF or Washington St., at Florida G.C., TBD

Nov. 26: vs. TBD, at Florida G.C., TBD

Nov. 29: at Michigan, 6 p.m.

Dec. 3: at UConn, 4 p.m.

Dec. 6: Michigan St., 7 p.m.

Dec. 9: at Penn, 1 p.m.

Dec. 17: DePaul, 1 p.m.

Dec. 20: Marquette, 3 p.m.

Dec. 28: Syracuse, 7 p.m.

Dec. 31: at Wake Forest, 1 p.m.

Jan. 4: Miami, 7 p.m.

Jan. 7: at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m.

Jan. 11: at Louisville, 7 p.m.

Jan. 14: Boston College, 1 p.m.

Jan. 18: Tennessee, 7 p.m.

Jan. 21: Clemson, 1 p.m.

Jan. 25: at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Jan. 28: at Florida St., 4 p.m.

Feb. 1: North Carolina, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4: at Duke, 1 p.m.

Feb. 11: Georgia Tech, 1 p.m.

Feb. 15: at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Feb. 18: at Boston College, 1 p.m.

Feb. 22: Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

Feb. 25: N.C. State, 2 p.m.

5 facts

• Notre Dame was ranked fifth in the preseason USA Today coaches poll after finishing 33-4 last season and qualifying for the Elite Eight, before losing to second-seeded Stanford, 76-75.

• Senior guard Mychal Johnson tore her ACL during practice Oct. 25 and is out for the season. Johnson was a defensive specialist but was expected to contribute in a larger roll prior to the injury.

• On a happier note, the NCAA ruled last week that transfer forward Jessica Shepherd is immediately eligible and will not have to sit out a season after transferring from Nebraska. Shepherd, a 6-foot-4 junior, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2015, and last season averaged 18.6 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game.

• The Irish were the ACC regular season and tournament champions in 2016, with a 15-1 conference record. It was the fourth consecutive year the Irish won both championships.

• Notre Dame is scheduled to play 27 regular season games, including 12 home games.

4 games of interest

Nov. 29 at Michigan: The Wolverines are ranked 23rd in the preseason poll and owned a 19-1 home record in 2016. They averaged nearly 77 points per game last season.

Dec. 3 at UConn: Three days after its game at Michigan, the Irish travel to Storrs, Connecticut, to face the top-ranked Huskies, who have lost one home game since 2007. However, the Irish were the last team to defeat the Huskies at home, edging them 73-72 on Jan. 5, 2013.

Jan. 11 at Louisville: The Cardinals are ranked 10th preseason and will be yet another road test for the Irish. Notre Dame defeated Louisville last season 85-66 in South Bend.

Jan. 18 vs. Tennessee: While the majority of Notre Dame's marquee games are on the road, the Lady Vols are among the best teams scheduled to visit Purcell Pavilion this season.

Key players

Arike Ogunbowale, Jr., G: The Irish's go-to scoring option, Ogunbowale averaged 15.9 points per game last season, as well as 4.8 rebounds per game, and shot 45.4 percent from 3-point range.

Jessica Shepherd, Jr., F: The Nebraska transfer and former Big Ten Freshman of the Year was ruled eligible by the NCAA, effective immediately. Shepherd, who averaged 18.6 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game at Nebraska in 2016, should have an instant impact in Notre Dame's injury-riddled frontcourt.

2 points of concern

Road warriors: The Irish are scheduled to play six road games against opponents currently ranked in the Top 25, including the top-ranked UConn Huskies. This is certainly among the toughest schedules in the nation.

Injuries: The Irish have been hampered by injuries this offseason. After losing Brianna Turner for the season with a March knee injury, Mychal Johnson's season-ending ACL injury leaves Notre Dame with holes to be filled in the frontcourt and backcourt. Additionally, Kathryn Westbeld's status for the season opener is still in question because of a nagging offseason ankle injury

1 major issue

Replacing Brianna Turner: The 6-foot-3 forward was the team's second-leading scorer in 2016, averaging 15.3 points per game, and led the team in rebounding with 7.1 per game. Turner will miss the entire season with a knee injury.

– Jade Washburn, For The Journal Gazette