Natalie Novosel, a daughter of Hubbard High graduate Nick Novosel, will be a starter for a 38th time this season when Notre Dame (30-7) faces Connecticut (36-1)in Sunday’s NCAA women’s Final Four game.
Natalie Novosel, a 5-foot-11 junior guard from Lexington, Ky., leads the Irish in scoring with a 14.9 average.
Nick Novosel, a 1960 Hubbard High graduate, also is in the school’s hall of fame for basketball. Nick Novosel, who played basketball at Kent State, lived in various parts of the country while working for Am-Tech before settling in Lexington.
This will be the fourth Notre Dame-Connecticut matchup this season.
Dr. Ed Novosel, Nick’s brother who lives in Hubbard, said that Notre Dame lost three times to Connecticut this year.
“It’ll be a huge challenge Sunday,” Ed Novosel said of his niece’s team, noting that Notre Dame suffered a three-point loss at home, a whipping at Connecticut and another loss to the Huskies in the Big East tournament.
Natalie, who wears jersey No. 21, is coached by Muffet McGraw.
The Irish advanced to the Final Four semifinal by beating Tennessee for the first time in 21 tries, 73-59, on March 28 in the Dayton Regional championship game.
“They lost 20 straight before this year,” Dr. Novosel said of Notre Dame’s struggles against the Lady Vols.
Natalie Novosel was the Big East Conference’s most-improved player and a first-team all-conference selection.
Ed Novosel said that Natalie, in Notre Dame’s pre-med program, started as a freshman before slipping into a sixth-man role as a sophomore. However, by working with her twin brother, Nathan, over the summer, Natalie sharpened her shooting to raise her average from 5.0 to 14.9 points per game.
Nathan Novosel has been a starter at Rochester (N.Y.) University, and Natalie’s older sister, Shannon, played four years at Evansville (Ind.).
All three siblings are products of Lexington Catholic High School.