Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 28, 2013 Issue

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

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Page 103 of 125

I By Lou Somogyi n three seasons at Notre Dame, senior starters Kayla McBride, Natalie Achonwa and Ariel Braker have helped the Fighting Irish to a 101-14 record (.878 winning percentage) and a Final Four each year. The first two resulted in championship game losses to Texas A&M and Baylor. Yet last year's semifinal loss to Connecticut was perhaps the most devastating after going 3-0 against the Huskies during the season and coming to come. • Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd was named the United States Basketball Writers Association National Freshman of the Year in 2013. The team's top defender and best athlete, she also averaged 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and converted 41.3 percent of her three-pointers (31 of 75). • Freshman 6-3 forward Taya Reimer was named the Morgan Wootten McDonald's Player of the Year, which the previous year was awarded to Connecticut's Breanna Stewart, the Most Four-ward, March! 'Young veterans' expect to vie for fourth straight Final Four into the de facto national title game with a 35-1 record. "It's a good place to be in when they know that they've only had the Final Four experience, and anything less for them is going to be disappointing," said 27th-year Notre Dame head coach and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame member Muffet McGraw. The senior trio provides a nucleus for another run to the brass ring, and it will be augmented by a youth contingent laden with star power, and one that is expected keep Notre Dame among the elite programs in the country for years Outstanding Player in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. • Another freshman, Lindsay Allen, joined Reimer on the McDonald's AllAmerica team, and won the starting point guard job this August when the team toured Europe. "I feel like we're a young, veteran team," McGraw summarized. A year ago, Notre Dame lost three starters, including first-round WNBA picks Devereaux Peters and Natalie Novosel. However, McGraw remained optimistic that with All-America point guard Skylar Diggins, the Irish would

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