Irish women's hoops ready for top five showdown

Published: Jan. 10, 2018 at 10:12 PM EST
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The Notre Dame women's basketball team will head to Louisville on Thursday night to face No. 3 Louisville in a top-5 ACC showdown.

Both teams head into the matchup undefeated in ACC play, while the Cardinals remain a perfect 18-0 this season.

The Irish are accustomed to playing in the primetime spotlight, so they are looking forward to the opportunity once again.

"I think we love the big stage. I think that's why they come to Notre Dame, for these kind of games, a top 5 matchup," said Irish head coach Muffet McGraw. "It's an NCAA feel. Both teams are going to be really good this year so this is an important game for both of us."

"I think going down that stretch that we did earlier where we played a couple of ranked teams there in a row, I think it prepared us for this," said Irish forward Jessica Shepard. "Also, Louisville is a great team so we can't go in and act like we played a team like that before."

From a fans perspective, you could say whoever comes out on top in this game will be in the drivers seat to take home the ACC regular season title.

However, it's not even mid-January, and Notre Dame knows this single game won't decide the fate for the remainder of the regular season.

"I don't think that we need to put that kind of pressure on ourselves. I think it is early in the conference season," said McGraw. "We need to find out how people are going to guard us. How's their zone working? We're still new to the zone, got some things we have to fix so it's a game where we're going to find out a lot about ourselves."

"We're the top two teams in the ACC," said senior forward Kat Westbeld. "It's going to be a great game, regardless. Regardless of the outcome, we still have a long ACC season to go so I think it's just a preview of what could be."

No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Louisville will tip-off at 7 p.m. on ESPN.