UVM Women Face Notre Dame Tonight

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(Host) Vermont’s women’s basketball team gets its first opportunity to play in the second round of the NCAA tournament tonight.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, the team goes up against Notre Dame on the home turf of ‘the Fighting Irish’.

(Sneyd) Not many people really expected the tenth-seeded Catamounts to upset Number Seven Wisconsin over the weekend.

So, expectations for the game against Notre Dame – seeded second in the tournament and ranked seventh nationally – are also pretty low.

Except among the Catamounts.

(Champagne) "I don’t think anyone’s expecting Vermont to win this game, except the Vermont players and the coaching staff."

(Sneyd) UVM sports information director Lisa Champagne is in South Bend, Indiana, for the tournament and was in the gym with the team for an afternoon workout.

Champagne says the Catamounts’ upset of the Wisconsin Badgers has gotten the Vermont squad recognized on Notre Dame’s home turf.

(Champagne) "Now people are recognizing Vermont and the V Cat as we walk around campus, walk around town."

(Sneyd) The challenge for the Catamounts will be playing a team that likes to play Vermont’s own game.

Champagne describes the Fighting Irish as a "transition team," meaning they like to run hard and rely on their strength.

(Champagne) "We like to run up and down the court, too. Our transition offense is created from our defense. The more defense and the better defense we play leads to our offense and ultimately gets us going. It has in every game that we’ve played this year, our defense has been the key.  Vermont‘s going to need to keep Notre Dame to one shot and done and get rebounds and try to push it up the court as quickly as we can. And that’s the way Vermont‘s played all year."

(Sneyd) There’s one other way that Vermont’s played all year. Very well, especially when they’re away from Patrick Gymnasium. As Champagne likes to point out, the Catamounts are on an 18-game winning streak on the road. That’s the best in the nation.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

(Host) The Catamounts and the Fighting Irish face off at 7 tonight.

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