WCBK

Irish enter unfamiliar ACC with familiar goals

Share This Story

   
 

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)

Despite losing the heart of the team with the graduation of hometown star Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame isn't changing its goals for the season with its move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

''They're the same: a national championship, ACC championship. They're all the same as they have been in previous years,'' guard Kayla McBride said during media day Tuesday.

''For me and the rest of my senior class, we've never seen anything less than the Final Four and that's the mentality we have.''

The Fighting Irish, coming off the best regular season in school history and finishing the season 35-2 with an 83-65 loss to Connecticut in the NCAA semifinal, start the 2013-14 season with four returning starters and six of the seven leading scorers back.

But the Irish are expected to have a different look. After depending heavily on a four-guard offense in recent years, the Irish finally have depth up front and will put two and three forwards on the floor at a time.

''I'm really excited about this year trying to put the pieces together, starting over in some ways and yet with four returning starters and a veteran group,'' coach Muffet McGraw said.

''It's going to be an interesting team. I feel like we are a young veteran team. We certainly have some experience, but we also have some question marks still.''

The biggest question is how the Irish will play without Diggins. Freshman Lindsay Allen, one of two McDonald's All-Americans the Irish add to the squad, is expected to start at point guard.

McGraw isn't known for letting freshmen play point guard.

As talented as Diggins was, making her first start in her fifth game as a freshman, she didn't play the majority of time as point guard until her sophomore season.

But McGraw said Tuesday the 5-foot-8 freshman from Mitchellville, Md., is expected to be the starting point guard.

''Lindsay is a phenomenal defensive player. She's got great speed. She's incredibly smart. Really high basketball IQ. She's picking things up really quickly,'' McGraw said.

McGraw said having four veterans around Allen will help her adjust. She said Allen won the spot during Notre Dame's Europe tour over the summer.

The returning players are led by McBride, who was among six college players who attended the U.S. national women's basketball camp in Las Vegas last week, and senior forward Natalie Achonwa.

McBride was second on the team last season in scoring at 15.9 points and has had some of best games against top competition, scoring 20 or more points against Connecticut three times last season. McGraw said she expects McBride to be a national player of the year candidate.

''She is head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the team, just playing great basketball,'' McGraw said. ''She has a lot of confidence. She can score in a lot of different ways. She's looking to really attack the rim this year, which is really good for us if she can get to the foul line. And she's comfortable playing the point. I think she's going to be the one for us that we are going to count on to do everything.''

Achonwa was third in the team in scoring at 13.8 points and led the Irish in rebounding at 9.5 a game, also is expected to be a leader. Jewell Loyd and Ariel Braker are the other returning starters.

The other freshman who could contribute right away is Taya Reimer, a 6-foot-3 forward from Hamilton Southeastern High School outside Indianapolis. Reimer played on a gold-medal U.S. under-17 world championship team.

Achonwa said she's looking forward to having the help inside.

''It's great because we'll have that post presence that since I've been here Notre Dame has never had. To have that size as well as that rebounding ability will change our game tremendously,'' Achonwa said.

McGraw said she still has a lot to learn about the team and its identity.

''I really don't know how we're going to score. I know we can score in a lot of different ways. But what is going to be most effective for us,'' she said. ''They're the things we're working on right now. You forge a new identity each year.''

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


FOX SPORTS Videos

Why is LeSean McCoy practicing blindfolded? Posted: Aug 12, 2014
Donovan McNabb and Mike Garafolo talk Eagles RB 'Shady' McCoy.

Could Richie Incognito get another NFL job? Posted: Aug 12, 2014
Donovan McNabb and Mike Garafolo talk Richie Incognito.

Byron Scott: No Laker Can Beat Me In Horse - @TheBuzzeronFOX Posted: Aug 12, 2014
The Lakers new coach is still pretty confident in his shot. Kobe Bryant might ha...

WCBK Headlines

  • Power Ranking

  • Power Ranking

  • Power Ranking

  • Power Ranking

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Zephyr Florida Gators White DH Fitted Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/21914/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_21000/DS_21914_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Zephyr Florida Gators White DH Fitted Hat
    Zephyr Florida Gators Royal Blue DH Fitted Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/50646/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_50000/DS_50646_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Zephyr Florida Gators Royal Blue DH Fitted Hat
    Ohio State Buckeyes Scrub Top - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/60808/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_60000/FF_60808_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Scrub Top - Gray
    Nike Texas Longhorns #7 Burnt Orange Replica Football Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Texas_Longhorns/browse/featuredproduct/62039/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_62000/FF_62039_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 Nike Texas Longhorns #7 Burnt Orange Replica Football Jersey
    Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet Scrub Top --- http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/67086/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_67000/FF_67086_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet Scrub Top ---
    Michigan Wolverines Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_Wolverines/browse/featuredproduct/70367/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70367_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Michigan Wolverines Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Florida State Seminoles Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_State_Seminoles/browse/featuredproduct/70625/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70625_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Florida State Seminoles Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Texas Longhorns Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Texas_Longhorns/browse/featuredproduct/70626/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70626_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Texas Longhorns Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Kentucky Wildcats Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Kentucky_Wildcats/browse/featuredproduct/70627/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70627_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Kentucky Wildcats Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Ohio State Buckeyes Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/70628/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70628_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt