April 17, 2024

Brighton Journal

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ND's Hidalgo attacks referees for forcing her to miss time to take out her nose ring

ND's Hidalgo attacks referees for forcing her to miss time to take out her nose ring

ALBANY, N.Y. — Freshman All-American Hannah Hidalgo had to take out her nose ring midway through Notre Dame's 70-65 loss to Oregon State on Friday in the Sweet 16, as game officials enforced an NCAA rule banning jewelry during games.

The decision came as a surprise to Hidalgo, coach Neely Ivey and those on the Notre Dame bench. Hidalgo played with a nose ring throughout the entire season, including the first two games of the NCAA Tournament last weekend.

In a postgame interview with ESPN, Hidalgo said an official initially told her she could wear a nose ring as long as it covered her. But at the end of the first quarter, Hidalgo was told she had to remove her nose ring or she wouldn't be able to play in the game.

Hidalgo was benched and missed 4:09 of the second quarter as the coaches struggled to get the ball rolling. She said the trainers didn't know how to get her out, and her nose was bleeding as a result. Hidalgo said she received no explanation as to why the referees changed their course during the match.

“I thought it was BS, because I'm on the run, I'm on the run,” Hidalgo said. “I scored two baskets and then I had to sit the whole time, and I started to get cold feet, I guess [the officials] They were worried about the wrong things. “They had to replay the game.”

After the game concluded, the NCAA issued a statement explaining the decision, citing Rule 1, Section 25, Article 7: “Head ornaments, headgear, helmets, and jewelry are illegal.” If a player is found wearing jewelry, NCAA rules state that the player is required to remove it on the first dead ball, and cannot return until it is removed.

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What was confusing for Hidalgo and Ivey was the specific application during the game, after she had been allowed to wear it all season. Ivey said she has not received any explanation at this time. Instead, after the game, she was handed a printout of the NCAA rule banning jewelry and then told it was the focus of the Sweet 16.

“She's been wearing a nose ring all season. I wish we'd known that earlier,” Ivey said. “I can't control it, so we had to move on. But yeah, stopping play is never a great thing when you're trying to maintain the flow.”

Hidalgo tied her season low with 10 points, going 4 of 17. It was the second-lowest field goal percentage of her career, as she missed all of her open field goal attempts (0 of 7). Asked if it was her time on the bench or what Oregon did to her defensively that affected her shooting, Hidalgo said: “I don't know what it is. I think the shots I took were open. They weren't.” My game.”

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said he had no idea why Hidalgo was out of the game until he was asked during his postgame news conference. He credited his players with disrupting Hidalgo's shot, as they did against the best shooters all season.

“I think our length and our discipline in staying in front of her was just as annoying as last week with Jazz Shelley, and it was — I mean, JuJu [Watkins] “I got 6 out of 32 at Gill Coliseum this year for the exact same reason,” Rueck said. “She's a great player, and it took everything we had to slow her down like that.”

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As for what she plans to do with the nose ring moving forward, “Next season, I'll play with it until they ask me to take it out,” Hidalgo said.