Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2018

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

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48 JANUARY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI I n college basketball, an eight- player rotation is more than suf- ficient. Eight scholarship players on the roster, however, leaves a slim margin for error. That's where now No. 2-ranked Notre Dame (9-1) found itself when 6-3 freshman forward Mikayla Vaughn was ruled out for the bal- ance of the season with a torn ACL suffered during practice Nov. 28. The Irish already had lost All- American forward Brianna Turner to an ACL tear last March in the NCAA Tournament, and then senior guard Mychal Johnson also tore her ACL during practice Oct. 23. In her road debut versus a Western Kentucky team that had upset No. 16 Missouri, Vaughn scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 78- 65 victory. One game later in a 72-67 win at No. 18 Oregon State, Vaughn had eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes. "It's just heartbreaking to see another one of my teammates go through a long-lasting injury," said senior forward Kathryn Westbeld, who has been hampered by ankle surgery last April that has not healed fully. "She started off great, she catches on things, she's honestly one of our loudest, most vocal people on the court, so that's really going to hurt us." The injury occurred on a non-contact play that junior guard Marina Mabrey described as a "freak accident." "When it happens, everyone kind of knows and the gym goes silent, and it's just kind of hard to see someone else know their season has ended," Mabrey said. Head coach Muffet McGraw was amazed by how strong the Irish bounced back the next day with a dominant 83-63 win at No. 22 Michi- gan. "It's just so hard to understand how this keeps happening," McGraw said. "… It's just staggering to have to go through it three times in [eight months]." Women are far more susceptible to ACL injuries than men, but McGraw said all three players were "doing different things when it happened." "It's hard to continue practice when the air gets sucked out of the gym," McGraw said. "Your first re- action is to stop practicing and make sure you have everybody mentally prepared. We went on. … This team has really handled adversity well so far and I see no reason why they won't continue to do well. "… It makes them hopefully appre- ciate where they are and really give it 100 percent. When you look over at the bench, you see those three girls with the knee injuries and you know that I've got to give it my all because I know they'd want to be out there, and I'm doing it for them." In addition to the eight scholarship Eight Is Enough … For Now The Irish climb to No. 2 nationally despite fragile roster situation Freshman forward Mikayla Vaughn's knee injury — suffered in practice Nov. 28 — left the Irish with just eight healthy scholarship players. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND 2017-18 NOTRE DAME WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 1 Indiana (Pa.)! W, 108-40 Nov. 11 Mount. St. Mary's W, 121-65 Nov. 14 at Western Kentucky W, 78-65 Nov. 19 at Oregon State W, 72-67 Nov. 24 vs. ETSU# W, 77-46 Nov. 25 vs. USF# W, 76-66 Nov. 26 vs. South Carolina# W, 92-85 Nov. 29 at Michigan& W, 83-63 Dec. 3 at UConn L, 80-71 Dec. 6 Michigan State W, 90-59 Dec. 9 Penn W, 66-54 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; BTN — Big Ten Network; ACCN — ACC Network; RSN — Regional Sports Network

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