Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

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

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54 JUNE/JULY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI W ith only one junior (guard Jackie Young) and two sophomores (forwards Mi‑ kayla Vaughn and Danielle Patterson) on scholarship for the 2018‑19 basketball season, restock‑ ing the lineup with at least four play‑ ers apiece in the ensuing two classes was imperative for head coach Muf‑ fet McGraw and her staff. Phase I is the four‑woman class that will arrive later this summer and join the reigning national champions on an exhibition tour in Europe this August. Phase II is the 2019 recruiting cycle, which has the makings of becoming the best single harvest recruited in McGraw's 32 seasons with the Fight‑ ing Irish. The 2019 class already has verbal commitments from 6‑2 forward Sa‑ mantha Brunelle, who is ranked as the nation's No. 1 overall player by espnW HoopGurlz and Blue‑Star Basketball, and 5‑10 guard Anaya Peoples, who is ranked No. 5 overall by Prospects Nation (where Brunelle is No. 4) and No. 19 by espnW HoopGurlz. Furthermore, the Irish are in a seri‑ ous hunt for several other top‑five to top‑10 prospects in 2019, with a pre‑ mium on post players 6‑4 Aliyah Bos‑ ton of Worcester (Mass.) Academy and 6‑3 Canadian Laeficia Amihere of King's Way Christian in Ontario. San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty 6‑1 wing Haley Jones, a USA Today All‑American as a junior, is also a coveted target. Meanwhile, the incoming quartet is ranked No. 7 overall by espnW HoopGurlz. With four returning starters from the national champs — senior guards Arike Ogunbowale and Ma‑ rina Mabrey, senior forward Jessica Shepard and Young — plus two‑ time All‑American forward Brianna Turner back as a fifth‑year senior fol‑ lowing a medical redshirt, this year's freshman class will be more about as‑ similating gradually into the lineup as complementary figures rather than making an instant major impact. JORDAN NIXON 5-8 • Point Guard New York City • Mary Louis Academy National Rankings/Honors: Was one of 24 prospects to play in the McDonald's All‑American Game March 30, and scored seven points, grabbed five re‑ bounds, handed out a game‑high five assists and made three steals in only 17 minutes … Ranked as the nation's No. 16 overall player by Prospects Nation and No. 38 by espnW Hoop‑ Gurlz … Named Miss New York by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, awarded to the top player in the state — which was won by former high school teammate and current Irish freshman forward Dani‑ elle Patterson in 2017. Senior Stats: Averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game. 2018 Projection: Among the four fresh‑ men, Nixon — who wants to be a vet‑ erinarian — is slated to see the most action because she is exclusively a point guard in the mold of 2013‑17 starter Lindsay Allen. Unlike Allen, she will not start from day one (bar‑ ring injury), but one could see her put‑ ting up at least 20 minutes per game in a rotation that will include starting point Mabrey, Young (the third option at point) and Ogunbowale. "She will give us kind of what Lili [Thompson] did: 'Everybody calm down, I'm going to run the team. The incoming quartet of (from left to right) guard Katlyn Gilbert, guard Abby Prohaska, point guard Jordan Nixon and forward Danielle Cosgrove will help keep the Irish in championship contention next year and beyond. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA BRIGHT FUTURE Notre Dame's 2018 class will augment its championship lineup

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