Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2019

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

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Page 40 of 47 DECEMBER 2019 41 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL "It changes your perspective going into the game that you know you can do it — because you've done it." McGraw didn't expect this team to begin jelling until January, but she is starting to believe it has a chance to be ahead of schedule. Instant veteran help can do that for you. ✦ Three-Point Play 1. Instant Spark Sometimes the five best players don't nec- essarily have to start. In an effort to generate some energy off the bench, head coach Muf- fet McGraw decided to start 6-4 sophomore Danielle Cosgrove at Michigan Nov. 23 so that highly intense freshman guard Anaya Peoples could study the action early. It worked, with Peoples still playing nearly 30 minutes and providing 13 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block. "We actually talked early in the season of bringing her off the bench because she just gives us such a lift in every direction, offen- sively and defensively," McGraw said. With Cosgrove in the lineup at the outset, McGraw believes it also might help prevent 6-2 freshman forward Sam Brunelle from get- ting into early foul trouble when she has to guard the middle in the zone defense. Once 6-3 starting forward Mikayla Vaughn returns from her sprained knee injury, the strategy could reap even more benefits. 2. Injury Report Vaughn, who suffered her knee sprain in the season opener at Fordham Nov. 5, is projected to return around final exams week in mid- December, and McGraw said she would not play Vaughn in the Dec. 21 exhibition match versus Guelph. The goal is to have her in the best possible condition for the league opener at home ver- sus Clemson Dec. 29. There also would be 18 days between the Dec. 11 DePaul game — the final non-conference contest — before facing the Tigers. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Abby Pro- haska has begun shooting in practice, but is not yet permitted to run after her pulmonary embolism diagnosis in October. While it's not ruled out that she might be cleared to do some practice work by January, McGraw an- ticipates that a medical redshirt is probable. 3. Balancing Act Including the Cancun Challenge from Nov. 28-30, the scoring distribution through nine games had the balance the staff expected. Sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert was the top scorer with 14.9 points per game followed by Peoples (14.0), graduate student guard Desti- nee Walker (13.7) and freshman forward Sam Brunelle (13.3). Brunelle and Peoples were the top rebounders at 6.7 and 6.6 per game, respectively. Prior to the Cancun Challenge Notre Dame ranked No. 323 out of 348 Division I teams in rebounding margin and 331st in three-point field goals made per contest (3.3). Against South Dakota State the Irish were out- rebounded 53-25 and 1 of 17 beyond the arc. — Lou Somogyi Sniezek's play as a distributor (five assists) and a defender (five steals) were crucial in helping the Fighting Irish knock off the Wolverines. PHOTO BY MIKE MILLER 2019-20 NOTRE DAME WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 5 at Fordham W, 60-55 Nov. 8 Loyola Maryland W, 84-60 Nov. 11 Tennessee L, 74-63 Nov. 14 Michigan State L, 72-69 Nov. 20 Toledo W, 54-51 Nov. 23 at Michigan W, 76-72 Nov. 28 vs. Florida Gulf Coast^ L, 69-60 Nov. 29 vs. South Dakota State^ L, 65-59 Nov. 30 vs. South Florida^ W, 67-51 Dec. 4 Minnesota (ACCN) 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at Connecticut (ESPN) 4 p.m. Dec. 11 DePaul (ACCN) 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21 Guelph& 1 p.m. Dec. 29 Clemson* (RSN) 4 p.m. Jan. 2 at Pittsburgh* (ACCNE) 7 p.m. Jan. 5 at Syracuse* (ACCN) 4 p.m. Jan. 9 Boston College* (ACCNE) 7 p.m. Jan. 12 NC State* (ACCN) 4 p.m. Jan. 16 at Duke* (ACCN) 8 p.m. Jan. 19 Miami* (ESPN2/ACCN) 1 p.m. Jan. 26 at Virginia* (ACCNE) 12:30 p.m. Jan. 30 Louisville* (ESPN/2) 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at Georgia Tech* (ACCN) 2 p.m. Feb. 6 at Wake Forest* (ACCNE) 7 p.m. Feb. 9 Pittsburgh* (ACCN) 4 p.m. Feb. 13 at Boston College* (ACCNE) 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Louisville* (ACCN) 3 p.m. Feb. 20 Virginia Tech* (RSN) 8 p.m. Feb. 23 Syracuse* (ACCN) 12 p.m. Feb. 27 North Carolina* (ACCNE) 7 p.m. Mar. 1 at Florida State* ( ESPN2/ACCN) 2 p.m. Mar. 4-8 ACC Tournament$ (ACCN) TBA ^ Cancun Challenge at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico; & Exhibition; % ACC/Big Ten Challenge; * ACC game; $ at Greensboro, N.C; ACCN — ACC Network; BTN — Big Ten Network; RSN — Regional Sports Networks; ACCNE — ACC Network Extra Notre Dame Finishes 1-2 At Cancun Challenge During Notre Dame's three games in three days (Nov. 28-30) Thanksgiving outing at the Cancun Chal- lenge in Mexico, it showed all the earmarks of an inexperienced team — yet one with a high ceiling. The Irish opened with 69-60 and 65-59 losses to Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota State, respec- tively, falling behind by 16 points in the second half of both games before making late rallies. They then closed with an impressive 67-51 victory versus No. 21 South Florida to get back above .500 at 5-4. Freshman guard Anaya People was a standout for the Irish in all three games while leading the team in scoring with 52 points (17.3 per game) and in rebounds with 26 (8.7 per game). Both Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota State are perennial NCAA Tournament teams, with FGC joining Notre Dame, Connecticut and Baylor as the lone four Division I programs to post at least 25 wins every season since 2010-11. Versus USF, head coach Muffet McGraw had Peoples come off the bench to provide an instant spark, which she did with 19 points and nine rebounds. Graduate student Destinee Walker added 17 points, while sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert — who has tallied double-figure scoring in each of the first nine games — had 11 points to go with eight rebounds, and freshman forward Sam Brunelle contributed 10 points. Graduate student point guard Marta Sniezek unofficially took eight charges in the last two games, and added six points, six rebounds and five assists in the victory against the Bulls. — Lou Somogyi

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