Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 12, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 48 of 55 OCT. 12, 2019 49 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI A fter losing seven members from the 2018-19 roster and adding only two freshman recruits to the 2019-20 team, a recruiting harvest with both quantity and quality is mandatory in the 2020 cycle for head coach Muffet McGraw's Fighting Irish if they are to remain a perennial Final Four/ national title contender in the 2020s the way they were this past decade. Notre Dame added a third prospect for the 2020 class Sept. 30 when 5-7 point guard Alasia Hayes from Mur- freesboro, Tenn., publicly declared to join the Irish program, shortly after her official visit to the Notre Dame- Virginia football game Sept. 28. Ranked as the No. 44 overall player in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, Hayes interestingly was not listed in the top 100 by Prospects Nation. She was named All-State by the Tennes- see Sports Writers Association and second-team All-Tennessee by USA Today after her junior season at River- dale High in which she averaged 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, and was especially lauded for her tenacity on defense. Riverdale won Class AAA state titles in 2017 and 2018, but lost in the semifinals last spring. Hayes' only other official visit had been to the University of Michigan. She had tentatively set up visits to North Carolina State and Middle Tennessee State — where older sis- ters Anastasia and Aislynn play. A younger sister, Acacia, also is a future prospect currently recovering from an ACL injury. Offers to Alasia also reportedly had come from numer- ous SEC schools, including in-state Tennessee. The two previously committed members of this Notre Dame recruit- ing class are Pennsylvania guard Allison Campbell (ranked No. 25 nationally by ESPN and No. 27 by Prospects Nation) and New York 6-5 center Natalija Marshall (No. 32 ESPN and No. 16 Prospects Nation). Expected October visitors to South Bend include: • Point guard Caitlin Clark (No. 4 ESPN and No. 7 Prospects Nation) — She is the marquee prospect in this class and is considered an instant im- pact figure in the manner of other top- five recruits the past decade such as Skylar Diggins, Jewell Loyd, Brianna Turner, Jessica Shepard, Jackie Young, Arike Ogunbowale and even current freshman forward Sam Brunelle. • Wing Madeline Westbeld (No. 23 ESPN and No. 24 Prospects Nation) — She is the younger sister of 2018 national champion starter Kathryn Westbeld. Listed at 6-2, she also would provide needed height in the lineup. Interestingly, Kathryn had almost the same rating by ESPN as a 2014 high school senior (No. 21), but was lower on Prospects Nation (No. 33). The younger Westbeld and Clark both were tentatively scheduled to take their official visits to the USC- Notre Dame football game Oct. 12. • Point guard Deja Kelly (No. 17 ESPN and No. 31 Prospects Nation) — She was slated to make her official visit to Notre Dame last weekend (Oct. 5-6). In McGraw's attack, which often utilizes three and sometimes even four guards/wings on the floor at the same time, Notre Dame was looking to ink at least two and preferably three guards after the graduation of all-time leading scorer Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey, plus the early departure to the WNBA of junior Jackie Young and the transfer of Jor- dan Nixon (Texas A&M). As a stopgap measure for this sea- son, the Irish signed two graduate transfer guards in Stanford's Marta Sniezek and North Carolina's Des- tinee Walker, both of whom were sidelined last season with injuries. Walker's status for the tentative start of practice Oct. 4 was still uncertain in September. Also returning from a medical red- shirt last season because of shoulder surgery is sophomore Katlyn Gilbert, who is currently battling an ankle injury. The early signing period in college basketball is Nov. 13-20. ✦ Tennessee Prep Standout Alasia Hayes Joins Notre Dame's 2020 Class 2019-20 ROSTER Basketball practice was slated to begin Oct. 1 in preparation for the season opener at reigning Atlantic-10 champion Fordham Nov. 5, followed by hosting Loyola Maryland Nov. 8 and then traditional power Tennessee Nov. 11 on ESPN2's "Big Monday." Including former walk-on guard Kaitlin Cole, who was placed on scholarship as a senior this year, the Irish will have nine scholarship players, and plan to add some more walk-ons this fall. No. Name Pos. Ht. Cl. 2 Kaitlin Cole G 5-10 Sr. 10 Katlyn Gilbert G 5-10 So. 12 Abby Prohaska G 5-10 So. 13 Marta Sniezek G 5-8 5th-Sr. 20 Nicole Benz* G 5-8 Jr. 21 Anaya Peoples G 5-10 Fr. 22 Danielle Cosgrove F 6-4 So. 24 Destinee Walker G 5-10 5th-Sr. 30 Mikayla Vaughn C 6-3 Jr. 33 Sam Brunelle F 6-2 Fr. * Walk-on Hayes, a 5-7 point guard who is ranked as the No. 44 overall player in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, has led Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Riverdale High to two state Class AAA titles in the past three seasons. PHOTO COURTESY ALASIA HAYES

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