Notre Dame got roughed up tonight in Chicago. The Lady Irish stayed just close enough to give us hope most of the game, but had a tough last few minutes to seal their fate. The Depaul players seemed inspired by senior night, and were screening very well to get people open looks. They took advantage of the open looks draining what seemed like three after three. Charel Allen the catalyst of the Notre Dame offense sat out a large portion of the first half with two fouls. When she did get back in she was hurt right away by a very rough Depaul team. She finished the game with 10 points including her 1,000th point as a Fighting Irish player. She tried to tough out her apparent knee injury in the second half, but had trouble guarding because of mobility. Freshman Ashley Barlow led all Irish scorers with a career high 21 points. When Allen had to sit out, she stepped it up. She drove to the rack to draw fouls and make something happen. Her point total would have been even higher if she would have converted some of the free throws she was given. Briana Gray had 15 points for the Irish, and Tuliyah Gaines had 14. Gaines also toughed out an injury most of the second half. It looked as if she started having trouble with her shoulder after running into a screener hard in the second half. She tried bringing the ball up the floor the next couple of possessions, but you could see that she could not use her left arm. She was taken out, and treated next to me for what looked like a shoulder separation. She was inserted back into the game a couple of times, but never did regain use of her arm. The Irish may not have only lost the game, but two of their guards left McGrath Arena with possibly damaging injuries. They also fell into a tie for fifth place in the division. Because of that tie they will be seeded 7th in the Big East Tournament. That 7th seed also gets them rematch with Depaul on Saturday in the first round.
I was able to go to McGrath Arena because of a Notre Dame bus trip. They picked me up right at the LaPorte exit of the Toll Road to take me into Chicago. It was nice being able to get into Chicago at that time of day without having to worry about the traffic. Our seats were right behind the Notre Dame bench, and I had a great opportunity to see how the coaches and players prepare for the game. It was not as big of a trip as the Purdue bus trip was the day before, but it was fun all the same. I will definitely go on another one next year.