Another big game for DePaul as No. 2 Irish come to town

  • DePaul's Brooke Schulte (22) and Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale will meet again when No. 15 DePaul host No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday night.

    DePaul's Brooke Schulte (22) and Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale will meet again when No. 15 DePaul host No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday night. Associated Press/2015 file

 
 
Updated 12/9/2016 1:59 PM

Officially, the DePaul-Notre Dame basketball rivalry goes back to the 1911-12 season.

That's when the men's basketball teams first met.

 

While the rivalry between the women's basketball teams, which will be on display at 7 p.m. Saturday at McGrath-Phillips Arena in Lincoln Park, isn't that old, DePaul coach Doug Bruno and Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw go way back.

"Our rivalry extended into the Women's Professional Basketball League (of the 1970s) when I coached the Chicago Hustle and (McGraw) played for the California Dreams," Bruno said. "I've been coaching against her for quite some time."

Bruno will go another round with McGraw as No. 2-ranked Notre Dame visits DePaul. The Irish were replaced in the top spot this week by Connecticut, which beat them a few days ago in South Bend.

Notre Dame is 8-1 and No. 16 DePaul is 6-2 with losses to UConn, which was No. 2 at the time, and then-No. 5 Baylor.

"Muffet McGraw has done an absolutely magnificent job building that program," Bruno said. "Muffet has built the Irish from the bottom and Notre Dame's move to the Big East and now the ACC has elevated it to national and Final Four prominence. Moving into that elite class, Muffet has responded by going out and getting the best student-athletes while doing a great job of coaching them."

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Notre Dame leads this series, 23-19. Last year in South Bend, DePaul fell behind by 26 points in the first half, but later cut into that deficit with a barrage of 3-pointers before losing 95-90.

By the way, the DePaul men trail their ND series, 60-44.

Soaring Stocks: The Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing anonymous sources, that the Sky has found its new head coach.

Amber Stocks, an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks, will reportedly take over for Pokey Chatman, who was let go by the Sky after six years on the job.

The choice has not been confirmed by the Sky, but a news conference is set for Tuesday.

Stocks is an interesting choice, considering she has never been a head coach and has only two years of coaching experience in the WNBA, all with the Sparks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Her resume includes other coaching experience, however. She was an assistant at Xavier for seven years and on the support staff at Tennessee.

While Stocks hasn't been a head coach at either level, former Sky assistant Stephanie White flourished despite the same deficiencies. White was an assistant coach with the Sky and Fever before taking over as head coach of the Fever. She did very well in that role but left after last season to become the head women's coach at Vanderbilt.

Go big or go home: What do the DePaul and Chattanooga women's basketball teams have in common?

They are the only two teams in the country gutsy enough to take on the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams in the national polls this season.

Both DePaul and Chattanooga have lost to Connecticut while Notre Dame still looms for both teams.

Sweet success: Six Big Ten teams have advanced to this weekend's Sweet 16 of the NCAA volleyball tournament.

The Big Ten dominated the national polls this season and the league hasn't disappointed in postseason play.

Nebraska and Penn State are facing off this weekend, as are Ohio State and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Michigan is taking on Creighton and Minnesota will play Missouri.

The NCAA championship will be played Dec. 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio.

• Patricia Babcock McGraw also works as a basketball color analyst for games involving DePaul University, the Big Ten, the Big East, Northern Illinois University, Chicago Sky and the Illinois High School Association. Follow her on Twitter @BabcockMcGraw.

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