Women’s Basketball falls to Notre Dame 75-64 in front of record crowd

Austin Hamm Sports Editor

Frost Arena has a reputation of filling up for big-time opponents in women’s basketball, and the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish found that to be true as they defeated the South Dakota State Women’s basketball team 75-64 in Brookings on Saturday.


The raucous crowd of 5532 was the third largest ever for a women’s game in Frost, and the highest ever for a regular season game. The two highest totals both came in the WNIT. The crowd was clearly a factor in the game, and Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw took the opportunity to thank them over the PA system at the end of the game.


“It was a phenomenal crowd, it’s a great day for women’s basketball when you see the support of fans like that,” McGraw said. “This is a great team. We knew it was going to be a tough game. I don’t think we knew how tough it was going to be and the crowd certainly did their part in helping make it a difficult environment for us.”


The Jackrabbits struggled shooting the ball for a majority of the game, but still managed to hold a 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter and trail by just three at the half.  In the second half, the SDSU offense seemed to slow down while a couple of turnovers lead to transition buckets that let the Irish build a 14-point lead. SDSU would chip into that a couple times, but could not quite overcome the length and athleticism of last years NCAA runners-up as they lost their first game of the season.


After setting a career high of 31on Wednesday against Arkansas, sophomore guard Macy Miller led all scorers with 23 on 8-of-15 shooting. Though Miller carried the Jackrabbit offense for much of the game, Kerri Young and Gabby Boever seemed to be the two players who always seemed to provide a spark for the Jacks when they needed a play to get them into the game.


“I would like its because I’ve been here for so long,” Boever said with a laugh. “That experience definitely benefits our team. I’ve been in a lot of these big games… and that experience helps me know when its time to push and make that play.”


The Jacks have opened the season with three straight home games against quality opponents, notching wins over Marist College and Arkansas before dropping the Notre Dame game. SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston knows many will see staying within 11 points of the number three team in the country, he doesn’t see it as an opportunity to take a  moral victory.


“It never feels good to lose, and it doesn’t matter who we lose to. Losses are always tough to take for any team who expects to win,” Johnston said. “I think we learned a lot about what we need to do to be better, be a little more efficient on offense and defense. I think it also reassured some of the thing that we do pretty well on offense and defense.”


The Jacks sit at 2-1 after a tough season opening schedule, but it doesn’t get any easier anytime soon as they travel to the Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands to play Pittsburgh, Maryland and Old Dominion on Nov. 26 through the 28.