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Bri is not Kat, Kat was not Bri. by OITLinebacker
I'm not exactly sure the sky is falling just yet. Something about playing in Miami brings out the ugly in a lot of Notre Dame teams. I don't know if it is the humidity, or what but I can't think of an ND team that has looked good playing in Miami in a long, long time.
That said it occurred to me what one of the major differences in this years team is and that is Bri for Kat. On the surface it would seem like this is an upgrade on D and a slight down grade on O or at worst a wash.
Bri just isn't as comfortable with the high post on offense and she is an excellent onball defender, she struggles with weak-side rebounding. These aren't bad things, nor are they on their own keeping this team from winning games like last night.
Shooting just a little bit better, getting a few friendly rims in your favor, getting or holding a few rebounds, making a few of those "bunny" shots, hitting a few more FT's, or getting a few fouls called in your favor. Those are the sorts of things that happen in a typical ND women's win (blowouts) this season. In the losses they all seem to go against ND all at the same time. Last night was one of the few nights I ever remember another team attempting anything close to as many FT's as ND this season. Some of this is playing on the road, some of it is what happens when ND isn't quite as aggressive as usual and/or the other team matches or exceeds the aggression and plays unafraid.
ND may have won the NC last year, but the ACC got a chance to see that they didn't have to be afraid that ND was going to always win all the time in the league. The target got a little bigger and the teams will have more swagger, particularly at home.
I still feel this team will make a deep run and I feel that it still takes a crazy set of circumstances for this team to lose a game. I also feel that by March most of those circumstances that ND can control will be under control.
As much as I wish ND could be the same dominating, intimidating, undefeated over multiple seasons sort of team that has cropped up in the past, I know this team doesn't quite have that sort of advantage that it should have been expected this season, or likely for a few seasons to come.