Notre Dame rolls to easy victory over Lafayette

Published 10:14 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

NOTRE DAME — The No. 14-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team. will head into finals with a win after downing Lafayette 96-42 Wednesday night.

It was another balanced night for the ACC’s top offense. Five players scored in double-figures, and Hannah Hidalgo led the way with 26 points. She nailed three of Notre Dame’s six made 3-pointers. The freshman also had six rebounds, four assists and six steals. Hidalgo now has five games with at least six steals, while no one else in the ACC has more than one.

Maddy Westbeld (17), Kylee Watson (14), Nat Marshall (12) and Anna DeWolfe (10) were the other players in double-figures. The symmetry between Hidalgo and DeWolfe is palpable. The two guards are relentless on defense — DeWolfe also had 3 steals on the night — and they are constantly tossing dimes to each other.

“It’s scary,” Hidalgo said of having both herself and DeWolfe on the court at the same time. “We’re doing a better job of playing with each other and playing off each other. Anna’s a great leader, too. She does a great job of talking to me and demanding my attention.”

As a whole, Notre Dame (7-1) held Lafayette’s leading scorer Abby Antognoli to just seven points in 37 minutes. She went 1-8 from behind the arc, and the point guard had just 1 assist. Halee Smith led the Leopards with 10 points.

Lafayette (4-5) struggled mightily to score in the paint thanks in part to the Irish going with a three-post lineup for some of the night (Marshall, Watson, Westbeld). A block party of sorts further stifled the scoring in the front court; Becky Obinma led the charge with 3 blocks, and Nat Marshall had two more. Notre Dame outscored Lafayette in the paint, 52-12, and finished with seven blocks.

Even more impressive, Notre Dame continues to take care of business despite a plethora of injuries. The Irish had just eight players available on Wednesday and were missing Jenna Brown, Sonia Citron, Olivia Miles, Cassandre Prosper and Emma Risch. Risch is the new one on the list. Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey described her injury as “hip soreness.” There is no timeline for her return.

“I have to adjust everything,” Ivey said of her preparation when dealing with injuries. “Unfortunately, I have experience doing it from last year. I have to keep practice lighter, we do a lot of low-impact cardio to keep conditioning up. We just have to be smart.”

The Irish are off for 11 days for finals, but will host in-state foe Purdue on Dec. 17. Prior to the game, a statue of Hall of Fame head coach Muffet McGraw will be unveiled outside of the Joyce Center.