SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Figuring out how to beat a tourney-tested team such as Notre Dame is no easy task.
But Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb sounded upbeat Monday as the Golden Bears prepared to meet the top-seeded Irish in an NCAA second-round tournament game Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.
"I think there's absolutely no quit in our team," Gottlieb said during a Monday news conference. "I know they're with each other, and there's no part of me that ever feels like we're going to lose a lead or we aren't going to come back. That's a good feeling to have."
Notre Dame (31-3) ripped Liberty 74-43 in Sunday's opening round as Kayla McBride collected 15 points and 10 Irish players scored. Cal (25-9) had five in double figures, led by Layshia Clarendon with 16 points, in an 84-74 victory over Iowa.
The winner of Tuesday's game advances to Sweet 16 play this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.
The only Irish losses this season have been to top-ranked Baylor, West Virginia and to Connecticut in this month's Big East title game.
They've been to 17 straight NCAA tournaments and won it all in 2001. Coach Muffet McGraw is in her 30th season of coaching (25th at Notre Dame) and has a 675-255 overall record.
"We've been here before, and we know what to expect," McGraw said. "I think we'll stay composed under pressure, and we certainly hope this brings us a win."
The Big East regular-season champion and postseason tourney runner-up, Notre
"The main things are their balance, their passing ability and the way they run their system with much fluidity," Gottlieb said. "I think the main major matchup challenge is that they play four guards (and) spread you out."
But the biggest worry might be what to do about Skylar Diggins.
The junior guard and Big East player of the year had just seven points Sunday but pulled down nine rebounds. She averages a team-best 16.7 points per game and is tops in assists with 195 overall.
"She's really good," Gottlieb said. "The first thing is to slow her down in transition and take away easy looks from the basket. There's a reason why Skylar is one of the top, if not the top point guard in the country."
While Diggins and the Irish are fast, so is Cal.
"They are really quick and up in your face on defense," Irish guard Brittany Mallory said. "They are going to run, so it's going to be an up-in-your-face game."
NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
TUESDAY: Cal (25-9) vs. Notre Dame (31-3), 4:20 p.m. ESPN2