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What to know about Notre Dame women’s basketball vs. Kent State in NCAA Tournament


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It’s finally here. Notre Dame starts its 2024 NCAA Tournament run today.

The Fighting Irish haven’t played in nearly two weeks after winning the ACC Tournament on March 10. They’re taking on a Kent State team that just won the MAC Tournament title on March 16, meanwhile. Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.

No. 2 seed Notre Dame women’s basketball vs. No. 15 seed Kent State

  • Teams: No. 2 seed Notre Dame (26-6) and No. 15 seed Kent State (21-10)
  • Head coaches: Niele Ivey (87-31, fourth year at Notre Dame); Todd Starkey (143-98, 8th year at Kent State; 308-193 overall, 17th year)
  • Date: March 23, 2024
  • Location: Purcell Pavilion (South Bend, Ind.)
  • Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN
  • TV broadcasters: Sam Gore and Tamika Catchings
  • Radio: 99.9 WQLQ-FM in South Bend
  • Radio broadcaster: Sean Stires and Karen Keyes

Matchup notables

• This is the first time Starkey has ever coached in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach. Interestingly, he was an assistant at Indiana when the No. 9 seed Hoosiers lost to No. 1 seed Notre Dame, 87-70, in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

• Kent State is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 2002. The Golden Flashes have only advanced to the second round one time. They beat No. 7 seed Texas A&M, 72-68, as a No. 10 seed in 1996.

• Kent State is led by fifth-year senior Katie Shumate. The 5’11” guard averages 15.0 points per game and has hit double figures in 22 of the last 23. Shumate also leads the Flashes in rebounds with 7.6 points per game. She’s backed up by 6’0″ junior guard Jenna Batsch who averages 13.4 points per game. Freshman forward Janae Tyler is putting up 12.8 points per game in her last four outings. She’s a bit of an X-factor off the bench.

• Notre Dame is 4-2 in the NCAA Tournament under Ivey. The Irish won a first-round game against No. 14 Southern Utah by 26 points last year.

• Notre Dame is likely going to roll with a six-player rotation for as long as the game stays close and/or the Irish stay out of foul trouble. Senior center Kylee Watson tore her ACL in the ACC Tournament semifinals, so fellow senior center Nat Marshall is pushed into the starting lineup alongside freshman point guard Hannah Hidalgo, graduate student shooting guard Anna DeWolfe, junior wing Sonia Citron and senior forward Maddy Westbeld.

• Hidalgo is third in the country in scoring at 23.3 points per game. Citron and Westbeld combine for 30.8. They’ll account for most of Notre Dame’s offensive output in the tournament, but it’ll be all hands on deck defensively as it’s been for all of the current eight-game winning streak. That’s a charge led by Hidalgo, who has more steals than anyone in the country with 147.

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