Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 30, 2017

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

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48 OCT. 30, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI T he two basketball offices at the University of Notre Dame pos- sess an interesting contrast in premier leadership. Men's head coach Mike Brey — at his peak of popularity in season 18 following the best three-year stretch at the program since the late 1970s and with recruiting flourishing — is often perceived as the cool breeze and prides himself as "the loosest coach in America" when it comes to composure. Conversely, 31-year Fighting Irish women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw has been known for an un- bridled intensity that helped get her enshrined into the Naismith Basket- ball Hall of Fame Sept. 8. For the past eight seasons, the Notre Dame women basically have had the second-best program in the country, one where an Elite Eight fin- ish is a letdown. The Irish have won four straight ACC titles while post- ing a 74-2 ledger in the league, and the year before that won the 2013 Big East over the UConn dynasty. Since 2010, the Irish are 240-24 (.909), but this preseason McGraw said Brey's demeanor needs to rub off on her some more. "I'll be talking to Mike Brey quite a bit this year," McGraw stated. "I think I can be patient early on, but I'm not going to be patient with the upperclassmen. They need to be ready to go." DEALING WITH SETBACKS The preseason has had numerous mishaps, delays and frustrations that already have tested McGraw: • Two-time All-American forward Brianna Turner will be sidelined for the season while recovering from her knee injury suffered in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament. "A huge blow to the defense," Mc- Graw said of not having Turner 's shot-blocking presence. "We're going to have to take more charges, we're going to have to maybe work some double teams, help each other a little bit more, make sure our rotation is perfect, maybe play more zone — just a lot of different things we'll have to try without Bri." • Like Turner, 6-4 junior Jessica Shepard, who transferred from Ne- braska this spring, was a top-five recruit and a two-time All-Big Ten performer who averaged 18.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. She has filed paper work with the NCAA to be eligible this season, but the deci- sion as of Oct. 20 was still pending. "They sent back a few more ques- tions, so we've sent those back," Mc- Graw said of Shepard's standing that remains in limbo. "It's hard to plan when you don't know if she's going to be playing or not. … It's been a little frustrating." • A third "big," senior Kathryn Westbeld — the glue of the team, per McGraw — had surgery on her ankle last April that had her playing, per the head coach, at around 60 per- cent the final three months. While the surgery was successful, she is still feeling enough pain to where she is Overcoming Obstacles The preseason has been frustrating for the Irish women, who will need time to come together Head coach Muffet McGraw calls sophomore Jackie Young, who averaged 7.3 points per game last season, the team's most improved player. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND 2017-18 NOTRE DAME WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Time (ET) Nov. 1 Indiana (Pa.)! 7 p.m. Nov. 11 Mt. St. Mary's (ACCN) 1 p.m. Nov. 14 at Western Kentucky 8 p.m. Nov. 19 at Oregon State (PACN) 2 p.m. Nov. 24 vs. ETSU# 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25 vs. USF/Washington# TBA Nov. 26 vs. TBD# TBA Nov. 29 at Michigan& (BTN) 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at UConn% (ESPN) 4 p.m. Dec. 6 Michigan State (ACCN) 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Penn 1 p.m. Dec. 17 DePaul (ACCN) 1 p.m. Dec. 20 Marquette (ACCN) 3 p.m. Dec. 28 Syracuse* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Dec. 31 at Wake Forest* (ACCN) 1 p.m. Jan. 4 Miami* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Jan. 7 at Georgia Tech* 2 p.m. Jan. 11 at Louisville* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Jan. 14 Boston College* (ACCN) 1 p.m. Jan. 18 Tennessee (ESPN) 7 p.m. Jan. 21 Clemson* (ACCN) 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at Pittsburgh* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Florida State* (ESPN2) 4 p.m. Feb. 1 North Carolina* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at Duke* (ESPN2) 1 p.m. Feb. 11 Georgia Tech* (RSN) 1 p.m. Feb. 15 at Virginia* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at Boston College* (ACCN) 1 p.m. Feb. 22 Virginia Tech* (ACCN) 7 p.m. Feb. 25 NC State* (ESPN2) 2 p.m. ! Exhibition; # Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla.; & ACC-Big Ten Challenge; % Jimmy V Women's Classic; * ACC game; ACCN — ACC Network; PACN — Pac-12 Network; BTN — Big Ten Network; RSN — Regional Sports Network

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