June 3, 2023

The ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the California Golden Bears 90-79 in the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic on Saturday in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Fighting Irish jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Dara Mabrey, who specializes in making three-point shots for the Fighting Irish, led Notre Dame in scoring with 16 points and also grabbed six rebounds. Mabrey shot poorly from outside the arc, making only two of six attempts, but her second three tied the school record for most three-pointers made in a career with 274. The fact that the accomplishment tied her for first place with her sister Marina Mabrey, who competed for Notre Dame from 2015-2019, made it an even more meaningful achievement.

All five starters for Notre Dame scored in the double figures, including Oregon transfer Kylee Watson (15 points), Olivia Miles (13 points), Sonia Citron (12 points), and Maddy Westbeld. Miles was the scoring leader from the previous season (12).

Jayda Curry, a guard for Cal who is a sophomore and was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for the 2021-22 season, finished with 24 points and five assists to lead all scorers. Mia Mastrov scored 10 points for the Golden Bears after coming off the bench.

Niele Ivey, the head coach of Notre Dame’s football team, is in his third year in the position. Ivey was born and raised in St. Louis, thus this victory was like a triumphant homecoming for him. In 1995, when Ivey was a senior at Cor Jesu Academy and playing for the school’s basketball team, he led the team to win the state championship of Missouri. She went on to play for Notre Dame and was a member of the Fighting Irish team that won the NCAA national championship in 2001. The game was played in St. Louis, where they took home the trophy.

Even though Cal ended up with a loss on the scoreboard, Golden Bears head coach Charmin Smith, who is in her fourth year in the position and is originally from St. Louis, regarded the game as a victory overall. Prior to attending Stanford, Smith competed for the local Ladue Horton Watkins High School. While at Stanford, she was a member of the Cardinal team that competed in three straight Final Fours.

A weekend of events centered on women’s empowerment was anchored by the game, which made history by being the first live broadcast of a women’s college basketball game on NBC. The game also provided an opportunity for both coaches to be an important visible representation as premier coaches in their sport.

The University of Notre Dame and the University of California played each other for the third time ever during the Shamrock Classic. Their first two meetings took place during the NCAA Tournament. Both in the first round of the competition in 2007 and in the second round of the tournament in 2012, the Irish were victorious over the Bears.

Following a season in which they finished with a record of 24-9 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, Notre Dame has set their sights on making it back to the tournament in 2022. After claiming victory in their opening game of the season on Monday against Northern Illinois, the Fighting Irish currently own a record of 2-0. (88-48).

Cal, who ended the previous season with a record of 11-13, is seeking for a rebound season and is now 1-1. On Wednesday, the Golden Bears will play host to Idaho in their next game while the Irish will be traveling to take on Northwestern.

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