Notre Dame women’s basketball only has one commit in the class of 2023, which has its signing day next month. That commit is an elite one, though.
Emma Risch of Palm Bay (Fla.) Magnet High School was previously the No. 64 rated player in her class according to the ESPN 2023 HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings. She rose to No. 20 in ESPN’s re-rank of the class Monday morning.
Risch was the top riser in the class. She averaged 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.1 steals per game in 26 starts as a junior last season.
ESPN’s explanation for Risch’s rise:
“The Notre Dame commit had a fantastic summer shooting the basketball. With improved strength and overall fitness, the 6-foot-1 Risch elevated her ability to create space, relocate and make shots. Risch, who plays for Palm Bay High School (Florida) and East Coast United, has a court awareness that makes teammates around her better; in turn, it aids her ability to hunt long-range shot-making opportunities. She has potential to be an All-American.”
Despite a current roster of just nine scholarship players for the 2022-23 season, Notre Dame women’s basketball is no stranger to All-Americans. This year’s lone freshman, KK Bransford of Cincinnati (Ohio) Mount Notre Dame, was a McDonald’s All-American. So were graduate student guard Jenna Brownsophomore guard Sonia Citronjunior forward Maddy Westbeld and junior forward Kylee Watson.
There are only 24 McDonald’s All-Americans selected nationwide annually. Sophomore point guard Olivia Miles would have been one if she did not enroll early at Notre Dame in the winter of 2021. That would have made six of the current nine scholarship players All-Americans.
Still, head coach Niele Ivey needs a couple more recruits to sign in the 2023 recruiting class. A program with the pedigree of Notre Dame can only justify playing with such a small number of scholarship players for so long. The Fighting Irish might already be past the point of justification. It shouldn’t be difficult to allure prospects to play in South Bend with two national championship banners hanging in the rafters, both of which Ivey was a part of — once as a player (2001) and once as an assistant coach (2018).
Notre Dame has heavily been recruiting the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2023; 5-6 point guard Hannah Hidalgo. Hidalgo hails from New Jersey, a state three current Notre Dame players (Miles, Watson and graduate student guard Dara Mabrey) call home. She’s the highest-rated player in the class of 2023 who is still uncommitted. The Irish would also love to snag No. 16 overall player Cassandre Prospera 6-2 forward from Canada. The Notre Dame coaching staff saw Prosper play in person in an overseas tournament this past summer. Hidalgo was there too.
Snagging either one of those players, or both, would be gigantic gets for Ivey.