Dishin & Swishin 11/05/14 Podcast: Coming off a record-breaking season, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw gets ready to do it again
Coach Muffet McGraw and her 2014-15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish kick off their year with a preseason contest tonight versus Ferris State. What better way to get ready for it than a special Wednesday Dishin & Swishin podcast with McGraw?
Last season was one for the ages for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball program and their acclaimed head coach. It included a school record 37 victories, an undefeated record until the national championship game, All-American honors for stars Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd plus Associated Press, WBCA, espnW, and the USBWA Coach of the Year honors for McGraw.
When the season came to a disappointing conclusion though, the loss to also undefeated Connecticut while playing without injured star center Natalie Achonwa, McGraw and her staff did not sit back and say “what if?” As she says on this week’s Dishin & Swishin podcast, the 2014-15 season began the next day.
What a season it could turn out to be the preseason third-ranked Irish! Graduation took McBride, Achonwa, and starting forward Ariel Braker from the team, but a heralded freshman class joins the returning players to give the Irish one of their deepest teams ever.
It starts with Loyd, the unanimous preseason Associated Press All-American. On the podcast McGraw discusses the unbelievable combination of athleticism and basketball skill that Loyd brings, perhaps the best combination of those skills in Notre Dame history.
Point guard Lindsay Allen is the other returning starter. As a freshman Allen averages almost four assists per game, and an impressive 2.24 assists to turnover ratio, good enough to lead the conference. As a sophomore, Allen will be counted on to score more frequently, while still protecting the ball.
Taya Reimer, Michaela Mabrey, Madison Cable, and Markisha Wright all saw minutes last season that should have them prepared for expanded roles this season, and the freshmen, especially Kathryn Westbeld and Brianna Turner will press them for minutes.
McGraw described Turner’s athleticism as comparable to Loyd, and mentions the two of them will be competing for alley-oop passes from Allen all season. Turner is used to high expectations, and the Irish are extremely excited to have her on the court.
With a schedule that features a game at Michigan State on November 19, as well as out of conference opponents Maryland, DePaul, Michigan, UCLA, Saint Joseph’s (McGraw’s alma mater), and the return of a series with top-ranked Connecticut, it will be important for everyone to get on the same page quickly!
It is a fast-paced podcast, with McGraw conveying her thoughts on many topics:
- Last year is behind them, but how difficult was it to move on after the way the season ended?
- Should Notre Dame be ranked as high as number three after losing three starters?
- Why Notre Dame plays and will continue to play difficult early season schedules
- Post depth on this year’s team; is this the deepest front court she’s had at Notre Dame (six players are listed at 6’2 or taller)?
- Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride’s impressive WNBA seasons.
- Guards on the USA Senior national team; is Diggins the point guard of the future for USA Basketball?
- Does McGraw want to coach for USA Basketball, and be a part of senior national team program?
- With one year behind them now, does Notre Dame like being in the Atlantic Coast Conference?
Enjoy the podcast!
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