It's a big weekend in the NCAA tournament for the Ivey household. Purdue men's basketball star Jaden Ivey played in the Sweet 16 against Saint Peter's on Friday night in Philadelphia. The following morning, his mother, Niele, head coach of the Notre Dame women's basketball team, will be in Bridgeport, Connecticut, guiding her Fighting Irish in their first Sweet 16 appearance since she took over for Muffet McGraw.
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Niele has a tall task ahead of her, with 5-seed Notre Dame set to face 1-seed NC State. But Friday wasn't just about prepping for Saturday's game. She supported Jaden in Philadelphia, too.
"I actually am going to be there," Niele told reporters Friday afternoon. "I'm leaving after practice and driving up there. My athletic director prepared a car for me to get me there and back so I'll be there tonight. Because of the region, I think it's only a two-and-a-half-hour drive."
Jaden, who was recently named first-team All-American by the NABC and second-team All-American by the Associated Press and averages 17.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, is seeking to lead the 3-seed Boilermakers back to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2019, and then to their first Final Four since 1980.
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Niele was a basketball star in her own right, winning a championship as a player at Notre Dame in 2001 and another as an associate head coach in 2018. She gave birth to Jaden during her time in the WNBA.
She is used to watching Jaden's games from afar, including Purdue's win over Texas in the second round of the tournament. Niele was shown on the broadcast celebrating one of Jaden's dunks from Norman, Oklahoma, where the Irish played their first two games of the women's tournament.
If Jaden makes a similar play Friday night, he'll be able to see his mother's reactions from the stands this time.
"I'm excited to be there in person," Niele said.