4. Notre Dame’s size gave Illinois trouble
I don’t say this often, but Kendall Bostic struggled on Saturday. Notre Dame brought out their big guns and just shut down our best paint player for the entire game.
Bostic just had a big game against St. Peter’s. She logged another double-double, and I was hoping she would carry that momentum into the Notre Dame matchup. But that didn’t happen.
The Irish paint players were just too much for Bostic. Maddy Westbeld is a great player for Notre Dame. At 6-foot-3, she is bigger than Bostic, and when Illinois would put other players like Camille Hobby on Westbeld, she would be quicker than those Illinois paint players.
Westbeld was able to rebound well, as she finished with eight rebounds for the game. But it wasn’t the rebounding that blew my mind. She was able to pull Illinois paint players out with her three-point shooting. She is a center who can step out and shoot the three-point shot. Illinois had trouble with this all game long.
For the game, Notre Dame had 36 rebounds compared to Illinois who had just 25 rebounds for the game. The Irish had the size to dominate the Illini, and that is exactly what they did on the glass. This was a crash course in how Illinois can defend that type of size moving forward. At least we know what to correct now.