UVA’s Brunelle excited to face former team Notre Dame, but won’t play

Sam Brunelle
Sam Brunelle(WVIR)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 11:44 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Sunday was supposed to be an exciting day for Sam Brunelle. The UVA grad-student would face her former team Notre Dame when the ‘Hoos played in South Bend. Brunelle will still see her old teammates Sunday, but won’t get to play in the game.

In Thursday night’s game against Florida State, Brunelle was ejected on a controversial call. Brunelle was issued a technical foul specifically a “fighting foul” when she attempted to become untangled with a Seminole player. Rules state that Brunelle is issued a one-game suspension and won’t be able to play against her former team on Sunday.

Before she was a Wahoo, Sam Brunelle had a good college career with the fighting Irish, highlighted by leading Notre Dame to the sweet 16 just a year ago.

In May of last year, Brunelle graduated from Notre Dame, earning her degree in three years. This weekend, for the first time since getting that degree in communications, she returns to South Bend.

Brunelle spoke to NBC29 earlier this week, before the Florida State game.

“I’m sure I’ll feel it all honestly. Right now I’m cool with it, I’m excited to go back and to see my friends who are going to come watch,” Brunelle said.

Brunelle says she’s eager to see her best friend from college, who’s a manager on Notre Dame’s team. She’s also excited to see many of her former teammates.

Brunelle is averaging 11 points per game this season for Virginia. She says her decision to continue her playing career at UVA has worked out great.

“I’m really glad I’m with a bunch of girls that really helped me find my confidence again with basketball. especially the coaches too. They believe so much in me and that’s been huge for me,” she said. “Coming off my injury and athletically the last two years, I didn’t play as much and I became sort of a one-dimensional player. I feel like since I’ve been able at UVA, I’ve been able to expand my game more to where it used to be my freshman year of college, playing at all three levels offensively and trying to get better at defense and having those coaches believe in me that I can do all that.”

As for facing Notre Dame on Sunday Brunelle says, “There’s no bad blood, I’m excited to go back, see everybody again and play basketball again,” she said.

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