Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2020

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

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Page 40 of 47 FEBRUARY 2020 41 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL THE RETURN OF VAUGHN As the Irish prepared to embark on the remaining 17 games in the ACC, Vaughn's presence against Clemson was at least uplifting. In 23 minutes of action the 6-3 and lone true post player on the roster converted 4 of 5 shots from the field and recorded four steals, but was dis- appointed she could add only two rebounds. "She did a nice job defensively," McGraw said. "She's going to work, she's going to talk and she's going to lead — all the things that we need. She gave a tremendous effort today." With Vaughn in the post, 6-2 fresh- man Sam Brunelle can now be freed up more to roam the three-point area, where the Irish desperately need some production, instead of having to be situated down low. Ideally, the rotation would be rounded out with freshman Anaya Peoples and sopho- more Katlyn Gilbert along the wings, Sniezek running the point and fifth- year senior Destinee Walker — who has had extremely hot and cold spells — helping off the bench with sopho- more Danielle Cosgrove and senior Kaitlin Cole, a former walk-on. "I was happy to be able to try to help my team," Vaughn said after the loss to Clemson. "I didn't play nearly as well as I wanted to. I didn't get as many rebounds as I know I needed to. I get three more rebounds, we're not down by as many points. "I know it's the first game back, but no one else cares. … I didn't feel nearly out of shape as I thought I was going to feel." The Irish were 70-7 in Vaughn's first two seasons, with a national ti- tle and a national runner-up finish. Thus, a 5-8 start to this season has hit home a little more for her. "I'm tired of losing," she said. "I don't think I've lost this many games ever. A lot of us can attest to that. I'm not quite sure what it's going to take for us to move forward. "I think my being back on the court helps, but I have to help more, I have to figure out a way to do more in ev- ery aspect of the game." Brunelle picked up her second foul in the first 3:15 of the game, which sidelined her the rest of the first quarter. When Vaughn picked up her sec- ond foul nine seconds into the start of the second quarter, McGraw had little choice but to reinsert Brunelle in order to not let the game get out of hand. Outscored 23-6 in the second quar- ter, Notre Dame trailed 35-17 at half- time while converting 7 of 31 shots from the field (0 of 8 from three). M e a n w h i l e , C l e m s o n s h a r p - shooter Kendall Spray was 5 of 7 by herself from three-point range in the first half and 8 of 13 after three quarters while the Irish still failed to convert a single shot from long range. ✦ Three-Point Play 1. Crisis In Confidence The loss to Clemson at home revealed a shaken basketball team that truly has plummeted from the penthouse suite to a dilapidated shack within months. A fierce competitor whose accolades have made her a Notre Dame legend, head coach Muffet Mc- Graw especially is visibly stunned at just how steep the fall has been. In numerous press conferences after defeats, she has ripped into her team for its repeated lack of execution. There's a point now where she might need to back off, because a tightness seems to be setting in overall. There is a lot of gifted young talent on this roster that can get the program back toward top-10 level in maybe two years, but it will have to be nurtured with some positive reinforcement through some challenging circumstances currently. She cannot afford to lose them mentally or physically. 2. Three-Point Disparity For all the woes about the lack of an inside game, Notre Dame also has converted only 41 of 186 three-pointers (22.0 percent) during its 5-8 start. The opposition has drained 108 of them at 31.0 percent. Even before the 2-of-17 performance against Clemson, among 348 Division 1 teams Notre Dame ranked 337th in three-pointers made per game and 340th in shooting percentage. In its last seven defeats, Notre Dame was outscored 198-54 beyond the arc, or an average of about 28-8. A lack of awareness defensively by the Irish of where the shooters are has plagued them through the first two months. 3. Freshmen Reliance At the turn into the New Year, Notre Dame and the University of Texas San Antonio were the only two teams with two true freshmen who were averaging at least 13 points per game. Guard Anaya Peoples was second in scoring with a 14.5 average and first in rebounding at 8.2 per game. Forward Sam Brunelle was third in scoring with a 13.8 average (31 on 13-of-18 shooting in a loss to No. 16 DePaul) and second to Peoples in rebounding at 6.3 per contest. Sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert, medically redshirted last season to still give her three years of eligibility after this season, is the top scorer with a 15.1 average, and tallied double figures in each of the first 13 contests. — Lou Somogyi 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% L, 75-67 Dec. 8 at Connecticut L, 81-57 Dec. 11 DePaul L, 105-94 Dec. 29 Clemson* L, 71-55 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; % ACC/Big Ten Chal- lenge; * ACC game; $ at Greensboro, N.C; ACCN — ACC Network; BTN — Big Ten Network; RSN — Regional Sports Networks; ACCNE — ACC Net- work Extra

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