Notre Dame star Hidalgo forced to remove nose piercing, misses time in Sweet 16 loss to Oregon State

Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo (3) tries to strip the ball from Oregon State guard Donovyn Hunter (4) during the second quarter of a Sweet Sixteen round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo (3) tries to strip the ball from Oregon State guard Donovyn Hunter (4) during the second quarter of a Sweet Sixteen round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Notre Dame star Hannah Hidalgo was forced to remove her nose piercing and miss time in her team’s 70-65 loss to Oregon State on Friday in the Sweet 16.

It was that kind of day for the freshman Hidalgo, who scored just 10 points despite averaging 22.9 per game. Her performance matched a season low in scoring.

The first-team All-American missed about four minutes at the start of the second quarter.

“It’s tough because you know I was on a roll and having to sit out for five minutes because of a nose ring is BS,” Hidalgo said.

NCAA women’s basketball Rule 1-25.7 says no jewelry is permitted to be worn during games.

“No, clearly I didn’t know the jewelry rule,” Hidalgo said. “But, she had told me that I could cover it up. Then, she said you can’t cover it up after we were already in the second quarter.”

So Hidalgo sat at the end of the bench as the training staff feverishly tried to remove the ring using tools.

Coach Niele Ivey said Hidalgo has had a nose ring the entire season.

“I guess it was a point of emphasis in the Sweet 16 with jewelry,” Ivey said. “Just wish we would have known beforehand. Can’t control it, so we had to move on.”

When Hidalgo came out, the Irish were down by two points. She returned with 5:51 left in the quarter with Notre Dame down 25-22.

Hidalgo didn’t score a field goal after re-entering the game until there were 57 seconds left. She made just 4 of 17 shots.

Ivey said the ring removal hurt Hidalgo’s flow. The two shared a long embrace at the end of the third quarter when Hidalgo was subbed out. Hidalgo was emotional all game.

“She said to not let my offense get to me,” Hidalgo said. “Just not let it get to my head because I am an emotional player trying to do my best, and she was just trying to encourage me.”

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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