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Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles: ‘Refs just have an extra eye on me’

Dec 4, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Olivia Miles (5) dribbles in the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at the Purcell Pavilion. (Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports)

Olivia Miles dominated for No. 7 Notre Dame women’s basketball in Sunday’s 74-60 win against No. 3 UConn.

And for the sophomore guard, the game represented not just a marquee win but a symbol of her growth through the first month of the season.

Always a physical presence, even at 5-foot-10, she has learned to balance her aggressive play with composure as she leads the Irish on the floor.

In a mid-November win against Northwestern, Miles became the fourth player ejected from the contest. She received two technical fouls, the first came when she stepped into a fray between Irish forward Natalija Marshall and Wildcats forward Paige Mott, and the second came after she got into a verbal sparring match with Wildcats guard Hailey Weaver.

“Just being the type of player that I am, I feel like refs just have an extra eye on me,” Miles said Sunday.

That experience helped her against UConn, as she took care “to keep my head better than Northwestern, obviously, and stay in the game,” she said.

The sophomore said, conversely, she was too “timid” in a loss to Maryland last Thursday, so she needed to find her equilibrium against the Huskies.

“I felt pretty timid in the Maryland game,” Miles said. “I was in my head. So the focus of this game was just to be aggressive, play my game. I just watched film and got back in the game and just stuck to what I knew how to do well and I did that today and feel like that’s why I was successful.”

She found the winning formula, finishing with 21 points on 10-for-18 shooting, plus eight rebounds and four assists.

Her performance came in front of Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale, who starred for Notre Dame herself when the team won the national championship in 2018.

The victory against UConn marks the first out-of-conference top-three win for coach Niele Ivey at Notre Dame, as well as the first loss of the season for UConn.