Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

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

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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL problems that have limited her practice time to about 30 minutes per session. "She definitely has the IQ to play the point," McGraw said of the fleet-footed Johnson. "She can guard the backcourt, which is our weakness. We need some- body that can guard the ball … and she can score. She's a really good shooter." Johnson was not cleared to play in the Nov. 7 exhibition game against Wayne State, but has been projected to be ready for the season opener against Bucknell Nov. 15. Even the post players, sophomore Bri- anna Turner and junior Taya Reimer, are comfortable bring up the ball to start fast breaks off rebounds, as are sopho- more wing/post Kathryn Westbeld and fifth-year senior Madison Cable, Notre Dame's version of a Swiss Army knife with her versatility. "The guard position is so interchange- able in our offense," Allen said. "It really doesn't matter who starts the offense or who brings the ball up the court, be- cause anyone can. "We're so versatile this year with so many people that can play different positions, especially at guard. It really makes it hard for defenses to clue in on someone in that situation." Per McGraw, Allen has been play- ing "like an All-American." Primarily a distributor for the 37-1 Irish two years ago, Allen upped her scoring average to 10.4 points per game last year and was named the Outstanding Player in the Oklahoma City Regional after explod- ing for 28 points against Stanford and 23 versus Baylor to help Notre Dame reach the Final Four a fifth straight season. With the sudden departure to the WNBA of Jewell Loyd and her team- high scoring average of 19.8 points per game, Allen said she will be looking to score more aggressively but knows there is too much talent collectively to put the scoring onus on just one person. "We're going to be a little bit more balanced," Allen said. "With what the coaches are putting in, it will be more spread out for us." ✦ PRESEASON NOTES • In addition to sophomore Mychal Johnson, junior Taya Reimer also has been mainly a spectator this fall in practices while resting an Achilles injury from last summer. She too was ruled out for the Nov. 7 exhibition, but expected to be cleared for the opener. • Taking Reimer's place in the lineup has been sophomore wing/post Kathryn Westbeld, with senior Hannah Huffman, a defensive stopper, also seeing time there. Westbeld joined the veterans Madison Cable, Michaela Mabrey and Lindsey Allen, along with Brianna Turner, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, in the starting five. "Kathryn's really doing well. I'm really happy with her," head coach Muffet McGraw said of the sopho- more who averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per contest as a freshman. • Returning from a medical redshirt season because of shoulder surgery is junior Kristina "Coco" Nel- son, a 6-4 post player who is seeking some quality minutes this season. "Coco's going to be able to score, she's a really good passer, and she can hit the free throw-line jumper," McGraw said. "I like what she is doing on offense." — Lou Somogyi

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