Notre Dame prepares for the NCAA tournament without second team All-American Olivia Miles
SOUTH BEND, Ind – Olivia Miles out for the season ahead of the NCAA tournament.
The big question has been, how does Notre Dame move forward in March without Olivia Miles.
Miles down in the last game of the regular season against Louisville, didn’t play in the ACC tournament and the Irish lost in the semifinals, now with the official news that she will miss the tournament and requires surgery, how deep can the Irish go, is a valid question.
“As we said in our statement, she's been working with our doctors and trainers over the last couple of weeks and while it's devastating not to have her, she's progressing in rehab every day,” said Head Coach Niele Ivey.
Devastating news, but the Irish must prepare for what’s in front of them.
“My focus now is on this team, excited for this opportunity to play here back in South Bend,” Ivey added.
Notre Dame earned the right to host the opening rounds at Purcell Pavilion, after landing the three seed in this year’s NCAA women's basketball tournament.
Having Olivia Miles is a better advantage, but without her, at least they have homecourt advantage.
“For it to be home with our fans and family makes it even more special,” said freshman guard KK Bransford.
“It's a big advantage for us and I’m excited to just come out and play as hard as we can,” added junior forward Maddy Westbeld.
As for preparing for the fourteenth seed Southern Utah?
“Anything can happen in the tournament and that's what's so exciting because seedings don't matter at this point. It's a new season,” Ivey mentioned.
Southern Utah won’t be a pushover.
Their last game resulted in winning their conference (WAC) title.
“First time being in the NCAA tournament. You could tell this team has grit. They're very well coached. They're coming off an incredible win, they're coming off of a high, excited to be playing, excited to be part of their first tournament. So, it's a team where we have to do a great job of containing their guards but also protecting the paint,” Ivey said.
The Notre Dame vs Southern Utah matchup will tipoff on Friday at 3:30pm at Purcell Pavillion.