sunny.png
Thursday December 5th, 2019 4:45PM

Notre Dame's McGraw loses 5 starters, faces big rebuild

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Muffet McGraw didn't earn her Hall of Fame coaching laurels by backing away from challenges at Notre Dame.

She may be facing her biggest one yet: Replacing a starting five that came within 3.9 seconds of winning a second consecutive national championship last season. Just a few days after Baylor beat the Fighting Irish 82-81, that starting five — Jackie Young, all-time leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale, Brianna Turner, Jessica Shepard and Marina Mabrey — headed to the WNBA. Notre Dame averaged 88.6 points last season and out the door with those players went 82.1.

"I do love the challenge," McGraw said. "I'm still competitive. I think the expectations are off in terms of what everyone else thinks we will be. So it's fun to get in the gym and start teaching again."

Junior center Mikayla Vaughn, who averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds last season as a reserve, hears the naysayers. The Irish will go after the program's 1,000th victory when they open the season at Fordham Nov. 5.

"I think being underestimated is one of the most powerful positions you can be in," Vaughn said. "I really think we can do really, really great things."

Among the returnees are guards Katlyn Gilbert, who missed 31 games with a torn right labrum in her shoulder that was surgically repaired, and Abby Prohaska, a defensive ball hawk. Also back is 6-foot-4 Danielle Cosgrove. Joining them are grad transfers Marta Sniezek (Stanford) and Destinee Walker (North Carolina) and two prep All-Americans in 6-foot-2 forward Sam Brunelle and 5-foot-10 guard Anaya Peoples.

"Come March, the way coach is pushing, we're going to be competitive," said Sniezek, a point guard on the Cardinal's 2017 Final Four team.

Said Gilbert: "I think we can shock the world and win the championship."

Their coach likes to set the bar high.

"I'm never going to lower my expectations," said McGraw, whose teams have won six straight ACC regular-season titles and five ACC tourney titles, and appeared in 24 straight NCAA tournaments, including nine Final Fours.

DOUBLES TAKE

Among the 13 players on the roster are four walk-ons, including identical twins Margaret and Catherine Murdock, a pair of 5-foot-8 sophomore guards who played at New Trier High School in suburban Chicago.

"One wears a braid, one wears a ponytail; that's how we tell them apart," McGraw said.

TOUGH SCHEDULE

November and December games include Tennessee, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota and DePaul. The Irish travel to longtime rival and perennial power Connecticut on Dec. 8 for a game broadcast on ESPN. The 18-game ACC schedule begins Dec. 29 with Clemson.

"We're definitely going to have some hiccups early on," McGraw said. "The schedule is very, very difficult."

McGRAW'S QUICK DRAWS

"Sam is our best 3-point shooter" ..."Katlyn should be our best player at the end of the game we want the ball in her hands" ."Anaya is a great defender, she's active, she's aggressive, she's willing" ."Marta, as the point guard, has to be the leader on the team" ."Mikayla is probably the one player out there who is doing exactly what we need her to do."

STAFF CHANGES

Long-time assistant Niele Ivey, a point guard on McGraw's 2001 championship team, has joined the Memphis Grizzlies.

"I told her to use her voice," said McGraw, who made a passionate speech for women's equality at the recent Final Four and saluted the NBA for "being ahead of the curve." Joining staff holdovers Carol Owens and Beth Cunningham is 2016 alum Michaela Mabrey. Also back on a part-time basis is Kayla McBride, a 2014 consensus All-American.

As for McGraw, she shows no signs of wanting to move on after 32 seasons at Notre Dame.

"I really didn't want a new coach to come in and start over," the 63-year-old McGraw said. "I want to leave the program in a pretty good place. Recruiting is going well, so we'll see what the future holds. I'm not going to 70, I know that."

__

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Trump in Chicago, lashes out at police chief
The White House says President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order at the International Association of Chiefs of Police gathering in Chicago that aims to address the root causes of crime
12:11PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Notre Dame's McGraw loses 5 starters, faces big rebuild
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw loses starting five, faces rebuilding project after two runs to the NCAA championship game, including a win two seasons ago
12:11PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Louisville looks to continue climb up ACC ladder
Louisville keeps claiming things that once belonged to Notre Dame
12:00PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
SEC women's hoops begins new era without elite post player
SEC counting on more competitive women's basketball race as league enters new era without dominant post player
11:23AM ( 51 minutes ago )
Pirates fire GM Neal Huntington, shake front office again
Pirates fire general manager Neal Huntington to complete front-office overhaul
11:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
Red Sox confirm Chaim Bloom is team's new baseball boss
Red Sox confirm hiring of ex-Rays executive Chaim Bloom as team's chief baseball officer
11:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
AD, Dwight lead Lakers to 120-101 win over Hornets
Anthony Davis had 29 points and 14 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 120-101 victory over the Charlotte Hornets
1:49AM ( 10 hours ago )
AD, Dwight lead Lakers' rally to beat Hornets 120-101
Anthony Davis had 29 points and 14 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 120-101 victory over the Charlotte Hornets
12:11AM ( 12 hours ago )
Harden has 29, Westbrook has 28 in 126-123 win over Pelicans
James Harden scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook had 28 to lead the Houston Rockets to a 126-123 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. Westbrook hit two clutch free throws to give Houston the three-point lead with 6.1 seconds remaining.
12:10AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
AP Top 25: LSU No. 1 ahead of 'Bama, Ohio St in close vote
AP Top 25: LSU edges ahead of Alabama to become new No. 1, Ohio State close behind at No. 3
5:43PM ( 18 hours ago )
No. 22 Kansas State embracing Klieman's winning culture
After a resounding victory over then-No. 5 Oklahoma, good luck finding any critics of new coach Chris Klieman.
5:15PM ( 18 hours ago )
Lewis' FG gives No. 11 Oregon 37-35 win over Washington St
Camden Lewis kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired and No. 11 Oregon extended its winning streak to seven games with a 37-35 victory over Washington State
3:43AM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Pac-12 Commissioner: Serious concerns with California law
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has expressed serious concerns about a new law that would allow college athletes in California to hire agents and be compensated for the use of their name or likeness through endorsement deals
4:36PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Safe Bet: Vegas set to bid to host numerous NCAA events
Las Vegas is set to bid on nearly a half dozen different NCAA championship events, including women's basketball
2:08AM ( 2 months ago )
Syracuse basketball star perseveres in breast cancer fight
Syracuse basketball star Tiana Mangakahia perseveres in breast cancer fight
5:33PM ( 2 months ago )
AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
The Latest: Trump in Chicago, lashes out at police chief
The White House says President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order at the International Association of Chiefs of Police gathering in Chicago that aims to address the root causes of crime
12:11PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Louisville looks to continue climb up ACC ladder
Louisville keeps claiming things that once belonged to Notre Dame
12:00PM ( 13 minutes ago )
NCAA poised to move toward allowing athletes to make money
NCAA poised to move toward allowing athletes to make money off their sporting fame
11:56AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Survey: US business hiring hits 7-year low as sales slow
A measure of hiring by U.S. companies has fallen to a seven-year low and fewer employers are raising pay, a business survey has found
11:49AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Pope declares Vatican's Secret Archive not so secret anymore
Pope Francis has declared that the Vatican Secret Archive isn't so secret after all
11:47AM ( 26 minutes ago )