Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

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

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Page 48 of 55 FEBRUARY 2017 49 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL "We really spread the zone," Mc- Graw said. "We had some pretty good ideas on the ball screens … We were active; we have a good communication." • Freshmen aid. If Notre Dame is to return to Final Four form, its two freshmen, both National Players of the Year as high school seniors, must come more to the forefront, similar to Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey last year. Neither forward Erin Boley nor guard Jackie Young necessarily need to average double-digit scoring like the Ogunbowale and Mabrey did (Young is at 6.3 points per game and Boley 6.2), but both must become more aggressive, Young with her willingness to score and Boley with rebounding and defense. Excellent flashes in the first month by Young turned to frustration while she recovered from wrist and ankle injuries. In the four games prior to Miami, she played 67 minutes but was only 2-of-11 shooting from the floor. At Miami, she provided a huge spark in 20 minutes with nine points and six rebounds. "We really need her to ramp it up," McGraw said. "She is a key piece off the bench. We're just hoping the freshmen start to come along a little quicker. "We really need them to contribute a little bit more." ✦ 2016-17 NOTRE DAME WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 3 Roberts Wesleyan# W, 129-50 Nov. 11 Central Michigan! W, 107-47 Nov. 14 Fordham! W, 67-36 Nov. 17 Green Bay! W, 71-67 Nov. 20 Washington! W, 71-60 Nov. 22 vs. Louisiana Lafayette& W, 91-51 Nov. 26 TCU W, 92-59 Nov. 30 at Iowa@ W, 73-58 Dec. 4 Valparaiso W, 114-54 Dec. 7 Connecticut L, 61-72 Dec. 10 at DePaul W, 75-61 Dec. 18 at Toledo W, 85-68 Dec. 20 at Michigan State W, 79-61 Dec. 27 at Chattanooga W, 79-58 Dec. 29 at North Carolina State* L, 70-62 Jan. 2 at Georgia Tech* W, 55-38 Jan. 5 Wake Forest* W, 92-72 Jan. 7 at Miami* W, 67-55 Jan. 12 Pittsburgh* 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at Tennessee (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Boston College* 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at North Carolina* (ESPNU) 12 p.m. Jan. 26 Duke* 7 p.m. Jan. 29 Virginia* (ESPNU) 12 p.m. Feb. 2 at Virginia Tech* 7 p.m. Feb. 6 Louisville* (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Feb. 12 Georgia Tech* 1 p.m. Feb. 16 at Clemson* 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Syracuse* (ESPN2) 5 p.m. Feb. 23 Boston College* 7 p.m. Feb. 26 Florida State* (ESPN2) 1 p.m. March 1-5 ACC Tournament^ TBD # Exhibition; ! Preseason WNIT; CBSSN — CBS Sports Net- work; & at the Campbell Center in Houston; @ ACC-Big Ten Challenge; * ACC game; ^ at HTC Center in Conway, S.C. Notre Dame Lands Top Point Guards For 2017-18 Season And Beyond What was considered Notre Dame's top concern looking to the 2017-18 season — replacing four-year starting point guard Lindsay Allen — was allayed in early January. First, Stanford graduate and former point guard Lili Thompson announced that after opting not to play for the Cardinal this year, she will use her fifth-year option at Notre Dame for the 2017-18 season. Next, ESPN HoopGurlz's top-ranked point guard (and No. 8 player overall) for the class of 2018, Jenna Brown, gave a verbal pledge to head coach Muffet McGraw's program. Thompson helped Stanford upset No. 2 Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 last March 25 by scoring 11 points on the strength of 3-of-7 shooting from three-point range, handing out nine assists and com- mitting zero turnovers in 37 minutes in the 90-84 win that ended the Fighting Irish run of five straight Final Fours. The 5-7 Thompson started 96 games the past three seasons and earned All-Pac-12 accolades the last two, averaging 14.7 points per game last year while dishing out 295 career assists. Thompson left the program during the summer, but remained in school. "I'm excited to join what is already a stellar team and to get to work on winning a national champion- ship," she wrote on Twitter. The timing is excellent because of Allen's graduation this spring. Sophomore Ali Patberg also will be in the mix, but a severe ACL injury prior to her freshman year and illness a good portion of this season have hindered her development. In 48 minutes of action this season (eight game appearances), Patberg has not yet had a field goal attempt, but she had a decent outing in the 67-55 win at No. 14 Miami with 11 minutes when Allen was in foul trouble. The 5-10 Brown is from The Lovett School in Atlanta, where she has posted a 3.9 grade point average (4.0 scale), and her great-uncle is the legendary Larry Brown, who won an NCAA title at Kansas and an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons. A knee injury from the summer (she was with Team USA at the FIBA Under-17 World Champion- ships in Spain) has sidelined her so far this season, but as a sophomore she averaged 18.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Notre Dame is looking to sign five players in the 2018 class, and Brown is the third to give her pledge, joining No. 24 Katlyn Gilbert, a 5-10 point guard at Heritage Christian (Indianapolis), and Abby Pro- haska, a 5-10 guard at Lakota West (West Chester, Ohio) who also was on Team USA. This past November, the Irish signed forwards Danielle Patterson and Mikayla Vaughn. — Lou Somogyi Three-Point Play 1. Balancing act — Excellent scoring balance remains a staple during the 15-2 start. Sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale paced the team with 14.9 points per game, while junior forward Brianna Turner was at 14.4 and sophomore guard Marina Mabrey 12.8. Senior point guard Lindsay Allen (9.6) and junior forward Kathryn Westbeld (8.9) also have been consistent mainstays while averaging 5.2 and 6.1 re- bounds per game, respectively. Beyond Allen's team-high 32.8 minutes per game, the other four starters average 24 to 28 minutes each contest. 2. Foul play — In their first four ACC contests, the Irish were 21 of 42 (50.0 percent) from the free throw line. Not getting there nearly enough is one thing (a bit of an indictment of the offense's flow), but shooting at least 70 percent from the charity stripe is another. Turner is going to be a popular target. She is 43 of 76 overall (56.6 percent) and has attempted nearly twice as many free throws than anyone else. Second is Allen, who is only 24 of 39 (61.5 percent) after shooting 83.0 percent her first two seasons. Only Mabrey is better than 70.0 percent among the start- ers. 3. Finishing the job — Following its 67-55 victory at Miami Jan. 8, Notre Dame extended its winning streak to 156 games when leading at halftime. Doing it on the road like at No. 14 Miami while leading by only one at the intermission (30-29) makes it more impressive. For context, the Fighting Irish football team lost three games alone in 2016 after leading at halftime (Stanford by 10, Navy by three and Virginia Tech by 10). — Lou Somogyi

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