Stanford vs Notre Dame Live : Stanford vs Notre Dame have played each other four times in the past five years in the regional round of the tournament.Notre Dame’s defense bared its teeth early and often on Saturday night in South Bend.The Notre Dame–Stanford football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team of the University of Notre Dame and Stanford Cardinal football team of Stanford University.
Stanford (31-4) will renew its rivalry with Notre Dame (33-3) on Monday night with a berth in the Final Four at stake. It marks the fourth time in five years they are meeting in either the Elite Eight or Sweet 16.The NCAA regional final is just the latest chapter between the two storied programs, as well as their Hall of Fame head coaches, Stanford’s Tara VanDeveer and Notre Dame’s Muffett McGraw.
“I do feel like we do know their team very well,” VanDeveer said. “They have a tremendous team, their coaching staff is outstanding. They’re just really elite at everything that they do. They’re really obviously very experienced players. They’re very physical. Everything — they’re fun to watch when you’re not trying to prepare for them.”
Notre Dame is the defending national champion. The Irish returned four starters from the team that got past Mississippi State 61-58 on Arike Ogunbowale’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.Added to that lineup is All-American center Brianna Turner, who missed all of last season recovering from a knee injury.
Stanford, which has won 12 straight since an 88-48 loss to Oregon, is making its 20th appearance in the Elite Eight and has advanced to the Final Four in seven of the past 11 seasons.
“We’ve played each other a lot, so they really know our plays and what we like to do, and vice versa,” said Ogunbowale, who had a career-high 34 points in an 87-80 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday. “So, it’s going definitely to be a game of discipline and runs. We’re both good teams, so who can execute the game plan better?”
In 2017, Stanford overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to edge the Irish 76-75 on a layup by Alanna Smith with 23 seconds left. Erica McCall preserved the victory by blocking a shot by Ogunbowale in the closing seconds.
The previous year, the Cardinal toppled top-seeded Notre Dame 90-84 in the regional semifinal, snapping the Irish’s winning streak at 26 games.In 2015, the top-seeded Irish ended Stanford’s season with an 81-60 victory in the Sweet 16.
The 40-point home loss to Oregon on Feb. 10 was a turning point for the Cardinal, who proceeded to earn a 64-57 victory over the Ducks in the Pac-12 tournament final.
“Obviously, having a loss like that, you don’t want to lose like that again, and I think … it’s a learning opportunity,” Smith said. “But then again, it’s also in the past. I think if you look at that game and then look at us playing now, we have improved. We’re a different team. It’s important to look back at games like that to learn, but it’s also important to move forward from them.”
In Saturday’s 55-46 semifinal victory over Missouri State, the Cardinal relied on defense to offset a dismal offensive performance, improving to 28-0 when holding their opponent to fewer than 70 points.Stanford shot a season-low 25 percent (17-for-68), including 3-for-29 from 3-point range, but also held the Lady Bears to 25 percent shooting.
Notre Dame is the highest-scoring team in the country at 89.1 points per game.“You always want to control the tempo,” McGraw said. “We do like to run. We’re a transition-type team. I think our offense feeds our defense, which is kind of the opposite of they way it’s supposed to go. But, when we can get out and run, we enjoy playing the game a lot more. We can play half-court, and we certainly have some pretty good weapons on offense, but they are a very good defensive team.”
Jessica Shepard, a 6-foot-4 senior forward who transferred to Notre Dame after two years at Nebraska, combines with Turner, the Irish’s career rebound leader, for a formidable presence down low. Shepard had 24 points and 14 rebounds against Texas A&M, her eighth consecutive double-double.
“They go inside with a real vengeance,” VanDeveer said. “Their bigs are just really big and physical, and that’s a bigger part of their game than maybe in years past.The starting five of Ogunbowale, Turner, Shepard, Marina Mabry and Jackie Young is the most prolific scoring group in NCAA Division I history with 9,992 points.
“We’re going to all have to come to the party tomorrow,” Stanford junior guard DiJonai Carrington said. “There’s not going to be any half-effort that’s going to get the job done.”Being familiar with Notre Dame’s strong lineup is one thing. Stopping it is another matter.