Fighting Irish gear up for tough match up against Cal

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Fighting Irish are vying for yet another shot at the national championship, but first the women's team will have to get past the No.8 seed, University of California.

The Notre Dame was loud and clear on Monday afternoon, they are not under-estimating  Cal. However, on the same note, the team says they know what they have to do to win.

"They are a real formidable opponent, so this is going to be a challenge for us," says Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw.

From the start, Coach McGraw has said the biggest challenge for their four-guard lineup will be crashing the boards, especially against Cal who is second in the nation in rebounding.

"I think defending their post, they never go to a four-guard lineup so we will just have to be strong in there and the emphasis will be rebounding and boxing out," says Senior Guard Natalie Novosel. 

"They are just a great rebounding team. Better than Liberty, more athletic, so much faster, bigger, stronger. It's really scare actually, watching the film, scary watching them rebound," says Coach McGraw. 

Sunday during Notre Dame's match up against Liberty, the Fighting Irish proved they can out rebound a team that's big inside and still win without changing their game.

The big advantage for Notre Dame come Tuesday night, other than playing on their home turf, will be being more rested than Cal, who had to fight until the bitter end to get the win over Iowa.

Notre Dame match up against Liberty no quite as tough, but the the team took care of business early, getting a 30 point lead early on.

It gave the starters a chance to catch a breather, while the bench got some tournament experience. A win, win in Coach McGraw's eyes.

"It was nice they all got about a 15 minute rest and that's a lot of minutes to rest during a game, but I thought we played enough that we got comfortable and still had enough time to rest," says Coach McGraw. 

Notre Dame will hit the court against Cal Tuesday, March 20, at 7 p.m. at the Purcell Pavilion.

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