No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 3 Louisville tip off today at 12 p.m. ET in Greensboro on ESPN2 in the ACC tournament championship game. The Fighting Irish (29-3) and Cardinals (29-2) entered the conference tournament as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, and in addition to clinching an automatic bid with a victory, the winner could solidify its spot as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Notre Dame is playing in its sixth straight ACC tournament championship game while Louisville is looking to win back-to-back titles.
Notre Dame’s projected starting lineup
#NDFamily, be there on Sunday morning to send off the Irish to the @Gbocoliseum for the #ACCWBB TITLE GAME! ☘️— Notre Dame WBB 😷 (@ndwbb) March 10, 2019
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⏰ 10 a.m. ET#GoIrish pic.twitter.com/7uShXvDIUc
G — Jackie Young (Jr.): 6-0; 14.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists per game
G — Marina Mabrey (Sr.): 5-11; 14 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists per game
G — Arike Ogunbowale (Sr.): 5-8; 21.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4 assists per game
F — Brianna Turner (Gs.): 6-3; 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists per game
F — Jessica Shepard (Sr.): 6-4; 16 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists per game
Louisville’s projected starting lineup
G — Asia Durr (Sr.): 5-10; 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists per game
G — Arica Carter (RS-Sr.): 5-8; 8.9 points, 3 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game
G — Jazmine Jones (Jr.): 6-0; 7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game
F — Sam Fuehring (Sr.): 6-3; 10.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game
F — Bionca Dunham (Jr.): 6-2; 7.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists per game
When Notre Dame has the ball
Expect Ogunbowale to dominate the ball. She has put up 539 shots this season and averages more than 20 points per game. But each of the other four Fighting Irish starters averages at least 14 points per contest and has attempted at least 277 shots. Mabrey is even more of a threat from behind the arc than Ogunbowale, too. And Shepard, Young and Turner are all more than reliable on the glass.
Just don’t look for much in terms of production from bench players. Coach Muffet McGraw's system doesn't throw many minutes their way. But it works. Notre Dame averages 88.7 points per game and shoots 51.9 percent from the field. They dish out assists on more than 60 percent of their made baskets. And they have an assist to turnover ratio of 1.4. All of those marks are good for first in the ACC and are why the Fighting Irish had no trouble dispatching North Carolina and Syracuse on the way to the tournament final against the Cardinals.
When Louisville has the ball
Expect Durr to go toe-to-toe with Ogunbowale in a matchup of 2019 Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy semifinalists. Durr dropped 29 points and Ogunbowale scored 30 when Notre Dame beat Louisville, 82-68, earlier this season. And expect the Cardinals to be playing with the confidence they’ll need to win. Since Louisville lost to Notre Dame it’s beaten Florida State, UConn, Syracuse and NC State, and then NC State again.
The Cardinals average 79 points per game with, in addition to Durr, two more players averaging more than 10 points per game and five others averaging at least 6.3. They shoot 47 percent from the field and 36.9 percent on 3s. They have the best turnover margin in the ACC, too, at 5.7. Louisville’s conference-best scoring defense, which allows just 59.2 points per game and holds opponents to 37.7 percent shooting from the field, has the ability to turn a textbook defensive possession into points on the other end. It’s how the Cardinals average 20.6 points per game off of turnovers.
They just can’t shoot less than 40 percent from the field or 20 percent on 3s like they did the last time they played the Fighting Irish.