Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2020

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

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62 PRESEASON 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI W hen it comes to sizing up Notre Dame's 2020-21 roster, first-year head coach Niele Ivey is all for it. As in adding more height and post presence. Among the 14 scholarship players who were all present and accounted for when they returned to campus Aug. 1, three are officially listed at taller than 6-2: 6-3 senior Mikki Vaughn, 6-4 junior Danielle Cosgrove and 6-5 freshman Natalija Marshall. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, b o t h Va u g h n and Marshall are coming off sig- nificant surgeries and have not yet been cleared by the medical staff to partake in the current eight hours of weekly sessions (which include strength and conditioning, meet- ings and court time) allowed by the NCAA prior to the start of formal practices in October. Vaughn was sidelined her fresh- man year in 2017-18 with a torn ACL and missed the first two months of this past season with another knee injury. Per former head coach Muffet Mc- Graw, Vaughn valiantly "played on one leg" this past season while aver- aging 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and the Irish staff is taking extra precautions with her. She is not even shooting at a basket off to the side. "Her health and her strength are the biggest things we're focusing on," Ivey said on Aug. 20. "She is just in the training room right now. We're being very cautious with her just because we want to make sure she is ready before we put her back on the floor." Marshall, who was ranked as the nation's No. 34 overall prospect by ESPN HoopGurlz and No. 18 by Prospects Nation in 2020, underwent ACL surgery last winter and cur- rently is "on track" for recovery, per Ivey, but also is not yet back on the court. Whether she takes a medical redshirt will be judged later in the year. "We will determine what's best for her future when we're at least a month in and see how much progress she's had since she's been with our training staff," Ivey said. Although Cosgrove also supplies height, she is more of a stretch four than a low-post figure. In her first two seasons, half of her career field goal attempts (80 out of 159) have been from three-point range. A renowned recruiter, Ivey already has received verbals from the nation's No. 1 point guard and No. 2 player overall, per ESPN HoopGurlz, in Ol- ivia Miles, and the country's No. 16 prospect per ESPN HoopGurlz, 6-1 wing Sonia Citron, for the 2021 cycle. Landing a front-court low-post figure does not appear to be in the cards. The two top prospects Notre Dame pursued, 6-5 Amari DeBerry (Con- necticut) and 6-4 Latasha Lattimore (Syracuse), pledged elsewhere, as has just about everyone else. Among ESPN HoopGurlz's top 100 in 2021, only seven were listed taller than 6-3, and two as much as 6-5. Thus, the 2022 cycle becomes cru- cial to add a future complement to Marshall. Notre Dame is pursuing ESPN HoopGurlz's No. 1 overall prospect nationally in 6-7 Lauren Betts from Colorado, plus the No. 3-ranked player in local product 6-2 Ayanna Patterson from Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. Betts has "narrowed" her list to nine, with Notre Dame among them, along with the usual powerhouse suspects such as Baylor, Connecti- cut, Louisville, Oregon and South Carolina. She has a past connection with Miles and Citron. The threesome were teammates on the United States squad at the FIBA Americas Under-16 Championships in June 2019 in Chile. In the gold medal win over Canada, Betts grabbed 14 rebounds in just 21 minutes, Miles handed out a team- high eight assists with no turnovers and Citron was the second-leading scoring with 13 points. "We have great guards and a lot of talent coming in, so we will defi- nitely look at size more in the fu- ture," Ivey said. PERSONNEL NOTES • Sophomore guard Anaya Peoples has been cleared for full action af- ter undergoing shoulder surgery last January. Prior to her injury, Peoples led the team in rebounding with an 8.1 average while also scoring 12.7 points per contest. • Junior guard Abby Prohaska, redshirted last season because of pul- monary embolism, began practicing in February and "looks great and has no limitations," per Ivey. • Junior transfer guard Dara Mabrey has applied to the NCAA for a waiver to play this season. Former Notre Dame star Jessica Shepard, after transferring from Ne- braska in the summer of 2017, didn't receive her okay to play until Nov. 1 that year. ✦ Notre Dame Looks To Add More Size In 2022 Recruiting The Fighting Irish are in pursuit of 6-7 post Lauren Betts of Centennial (Colo.) Grandview, who is ranked as the No. 1 overall pros- pect nationally in the class of 2022 by ESPN HoopGurlz. PHOTO COURTESY USA BASKETBALL 2020-21 NUMERICAL ROSTER No. Name Ht. Year 1 Dara Mabrey 5-7 Junior 3 Amirah Abdur-Rahim 6-2 Freshman 5 Alasia Hayes 5-7 Freshman 10 Katlyn Gilbert 5-10 Junior 12 Abby Prohaska 5-10 Junior 15 Natalija Marshall 6-5 Freshman 20 Nicole Benz 5-8 Senior 21 Anaya Peoples 5-10 Sophomore 22 Danielle Cosgrove 6-4 Junior 23 Alli Campbell 5-11 Freshman 24 Destinee Walker 5-10 Graduate 30 Mikki Vaughn 6-3 Senior 33 Sam Brunelle 6-2 Sophomore 34 Maddy Westbeld 6-2 Freshman

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