Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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90 MARCH 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY TYLER HORKA K K Bransford and her family settled into the family room with a healthy heaping of pizza and wings. The Bransford fam- ily usually watches every Notre Dame women's basketball game together, but this one was special. The Fighting Irish were hosting No. 3 NC State in a colossal ACC clash Feb. 1. Fans inside Purcell Pavilion weren't just on the edge of their seats. They were completely out of them several times throughout the evening, especially when No. 20 Notre Dame held on to se- cure the program's first top-five win since 2019. So you can only imagine what it was like in the Bransford household some 250 miles or so south in Cincinnati. Rooting interest was at an all-time high. Bransford — a four-star guard, the No. 29 overall player in her class ac- cording to ESPN HoopGurlz and a 2022 McDonald's All-American — signed with Notre Dame this past November as the only recruit in the Irish's 2022 class. Her family has been all in on Notre Dame ever since. Bransford's own affinity for the Irish came much sooner. She told Blue and Gold Illustrated she has long admired former Notre Dame standouts Skylar Diggins and Arike Ogunbowale. The bridge between those former collegiate superstars and cur- rent WNBA All-Stars? Irish head coach Niele Ivey, who recruited, mentored and befriended both while she was an assis- tant coach for Muffet McGraw. It's Ivey who has much to credit her- self with in getting Bransford, a Mount Notre Dame High School product, to a point where she doesn't have to change her answer when people ask her where she goes to school. Notre Dame to Notre Dame. "She's played at every level, she's Bransford, a class of 2022 four-star Irish signee, is looking to lead Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame to another high school state championship, which would be the third of an illustrious prep career that earned her a spot on this year's McDonald's All-American roster. PHOTO COURTESY USA BASKETBALL KK Bransford And Her Family Are All In On Joining The Irish Basketball Family THE KK BRANSFORD FILE Position: Guard Height: 5-10 Hometown: Cincinnati High school: Mount Notre Dame ESPN HoopGurlz rankings: No. 7 guard and No. 29 overall Chose Notre Dame over: UConn, UCLA, Louisville, Michigan, Maryland, Baylor, Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Duke and North Carolina Signing date: Nov. 10, 2021 Current senior stats (20 games): 22.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game Niele Ivey on Bransford: "She is an athletic combo guard that can take over and dominate a game. She will be an incredible addition to our backcourt and to the makeup of my team. "With her ability to use her quickness, ath- leticism, passing and scoring skill set, I expect her to make an easy transition to the col- legiate level and make an immediate impact on our team. Culture is a big part of what I'm building, and KK fits our culture perfectly."

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