Irish dance into Sweet 16, gear up for rematch against Maryland

Notre Dame's Kylee Watson (22) celebrates with KK Bransford (14) during the second half of the...
Notre Dame's Kylee Watson (22) celebrates with KK Bransford (14) during the second half of the team's second-round college basketball game against Mississippi State in the women's NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Caterina)(ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Notre Dame women’s basketball team has played its last game of the season at Purcell Pavilion, but the team’s season isn’t over just yet.

The Irish are moving on to Greensville, S.C., for the Sweet 16 after picking up a 53-48 win over 11th-seed Mississippi State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon.

Grad transfer Lauren Ebo and junior Maddy Westbeld led the Irish to the win. Ebo broke a program record for most rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game with 18, and Westbeld wasn’t far behind with 15.

Notre Dame’s second-straight Sweet 16 appearance comes despite losing Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey to season-ending injuries.

“This group, the resilience of this team, the toughness of this team is unbelievable,” said head coach Niele Ivey after Sunday’s win. “I know that not a lot of people thought we were going to be up here heading to the Sweet 16, and we have a lot of belief and a lot of love. A lot of trust in our locker room, and we know that anything is possible.”

The Irish will face No. 2 seed Maryland in the Sweet 16 on Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Tipoff time has yet to be determined.

The two teams met earlier this season at Purcell Pavilion as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terrapins handed the Irish their first loss of the season by winning that game on a buzzer-beater, so revenge is likely on Notre Dame’s mind heading into the matchup.