Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2014 Edition

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

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Page 107 of 126

BY LOU SOMOGYI E ach of the past two women's bas- ketball seasons at Notre Dame were expected to be a rebuilding year, or at least a step down. In 2012-13, there was no doubt the Fighting Irish would not match the 35-4 record the previous year after los- ing to Baylor in the NCAA Tourna- ment championship game. Three start- ers graduated, including No. 3 WNBA pick Devereaux Peters down low and No. 8 selection Natalie Novosel along the wing. Remarkably, Notre Dame did even better, posting a 35-2 record, highlighted by a then school-record 30 straight wins, before losing to national champion UConn (after going 3-0 against them during the season) in the Final Four. Okay, 2013-14 would definitely be the rebuilding campaign following the departure of three-time All-American Skylar Diggins, the heart, soul and con- science of the program. Voila! The Irish were better again with a 37-0 ledger before losing to the Hus- kies in the national title contest. Okay, this time we really mean it. With the graduation of consensus All-Ameri- can guard Kayla McBride, third-team Associated Press All-American forward Natalie Achonwa and two-year starter Ariel Braker, Notre Dame truly will be in a rebuilding mode in 2014-15. One doesn't just replace the four-year record of 138-15 (.902 winning percent- age) they accumulated, with trips to the Final Four each season and three na- tional championship game appearances. However, while a 37-1 mark is un- likely, Notre Dame has proven it is no longer a solid Sweet 16-caliber team that it was from 2002-10, but a consistent, legitimate top-five program. A school-record six McDonald's All- Americans will dot the 2014-15 roster: junior guards Jewell Loyd and Michaela Mabrey, sophomores Taya Reimer at the post and point guard Lindsay Allen, and incoming freshman forwards Brianna Turner and Kathryn Westbeld, comple- mented by a senior class led by wing Reloading The Arsenal Notre Dame is expected to continue Final Four contention

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