Notre Dame women play Mississippi State in second round of NCAA

Notre Dame women play Mississippi State in second round of NCAA

As the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team prepares to take on Mississippi State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Fighting Irish anticipate a difficult test.

Having earned a first-round bye, Notre Dame looks to advance to the Sweet Sixteen with a victory over the Bulldogs, a team that has made a name for itself on the defensive end. Mississippi State has held its opponents to an average of just 50.2 points per game, the lowest in the country, and forced an average of 21.8 turnovers a contest, the fourth most in the nation.

Notre Dame has certainly been no slouch defensively, ranking fourth in the ACC in scoring defense (allowing 58.2 points per game) and third in steals per game (8.7). However, the Fighting Irish will have to be at their best to overcome the Bulldogs’ formidable defense.

The key for the Irish will be their ability to limit turnovers and create other opportunities on offense. Notre Dame has been adept at creating second-chance opportunities in the paint, ranking fourth in the conference with 11.9 offensive rebounds per game.

In addition, the Irish must also take care of the basketball and limit their turnovers. Notre Dame averages 15.7 turnovers per game, which ranks in the bottom half of the ACC.

On the other side of the ball, Mississippi State relies heavily on a trio of guards to generate its offense. Senior point guard Jazzmun Holmes averages a team-high 15.7 points per game, while guards Myah Taylor and Andra Espinoza-Hunter have combined to average 27.2 points per game.

The Bulldogs also have a formidable inside presence in 6-foot-7 center Teaira McCowan, who leads the team with 10.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

Notre Dame will need to be at the top of its game to contain Mississippi State’s offensive attack and advance to the Sweet Sixteen. If the Fighting Irish can stifle the Bulldogs’ offense and limit turnovers, they should be in a good position to move on.