Mabrey to play key role for Irish despite injury
Ivey: “I’ve got a second Coach Mabrey on the bench.”
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Notre Dame women’s basketball team will take the court on Thursday night for the first time this season without fifth-year senior Dara Mabrey.
Mabrey started all 18 games so far this season for the Irish before suffering a season-ending ACL injury on Sunday against Virginia.
Head coach Niele Ivey says she hasn’t decided who will start in her place or what the team will look like against Florida State, which could be a smart move given that the Seminoles are the 24th-ranked team in the country.
And the good news, the Irish are a deep team that has options on how they want to play around her injury. Meanwhile, Mabrey is one of the most vocal leaders on the team, and she will still be in the huddle and on the sideline helping her teammates.
“I think when you’re a leader the way Dara leads us, you can still have a voice in the locker room and on the bench,” Ivey said. “She was always so locked in, so focused. I’ve got a second Coach Mabrey on the bench. I think she can kind of relay my message in timeouts, in the locker room, so she’s still going to play a vital role to what we’re doing. As every knows, we’re playing for her the rest of the season, but I definitely think her IQ is going to help us even on the sideline.”
The No. 7 Irish will face three ranked teams over the next four games, beginning Thursday night against No. 24 Florida State at Purcell Pavilion. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Notre Dame will then have back-to-back road games, with the first being against No. 20 NC State on Sunday in Raleigh before making the trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face unranked Boston College on Feb. 2.
The Irish are back home on Feb. 5 to face Duke, who is currently the 16th-ranked team in the country. As of Thursday morning, the Blue Devils and the Irish are tied for first atop the ACC.
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