Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

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

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48 AUGUST 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI P oint guard has been Notre Dame's consistently strongest position since the turn of the century, begin- ning with current assistant coach Niele Ivey on the 2001 national champs. It appears it will remain that way in years to come. The 2019 recruiting cycle for the Fighting Irish began with a ver- bal commitment June 22 from 5-11 Anaya Peoples of Schlarman Acad- emy in Danville, Ill. Peoples is rated the nation's No. 1 point guard in her class by both ESPN HoopGurlz and Prospects Nation. ESPN HoopGurlz has her as the country's No. 7 over- all prospect, while Prospects Nation ranks her No. 4. Notre Dame's 2018 class was led by 5-10 Georgia native Jenna Brown, who is rated as the nation's No. 2 point guard and the No. 11 overall prospect by ESPN HoopGurlz. How- ever, Brown decommitted from the Irish in mid-July, not long after Peo- ples' pledge. Fortunately, the Irish have two other commits in the class of 2018 that can play the point in 5-11 Kat- lyn Gilbert of Indianapolis and 5-10 Abby Prohaska of West Chester, Ohio. Gilbert is ranked No. 14 overall by Prospects Nation and No. 24 by ESPN HoopGurlz. Peoples told ESPN she grew up idolizing 2009-13 Fighting Irish point guard Skylar Diggins, a three-time All-American. Her successor, Lindsay Allen, never missed a start from 2013-17 while becoming one of the nation's elite point guards, and in 2017-18 the torch will be passed to Stanford graduate transfer Lili Thompson, a two-time All-Pac-12 pick who was instrumental in the Cardinal's upset of No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the 2016 Sweet 16. Among Peoples' suitors were the Connecticut dynasty, reigning na- tional champ South Carolina and Tennessee, a former superpower that has fallen on harder times. FOUR IRISH VYING FOR A SPOT ON TEAM USA On July 11, four current Notre Dame players were named to the 40-member United States U23 Na- tional Team roster — junior guards Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogun- bowale, junior forward Jessica Shepard, a transfer from Nebraska, and sophomore guard Jackie Young. The A-list of talent will be whittled down to 12 to represent the United States in the Four Nations Tourna- ment Aug. 12-15 in Tokyo, Japan. The training camp will be held July 31- Aug. 4 in Colorado Springs, site of the United States Olympic Training Center. Connecticut and Notre Dame are tied for the most candidates at the camp with four apiece. Over the years, head coach Muffet McGraw's Irish program has produced 21 se- lections for Team USA and Team Canada. NOTRE DAME TO FACE MICHIGAN IN BIG TEN-ACC CHALLENGE The lone unbeaten team in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge since joining the ACC in 2013, Notre Dame will put its 4-0 mark on the line when it visits the Crisler Center Nov. 29 to play the University of Michigan. The Irish have been victorious against Penn State (2013), Maryland (2014), Ohio State (2015) and Iowa (2016) in this event. The Irish and Wolverines most recently met on Dec. 13, 2014, a 70-50 Notre Dame win at the Joyce Center in which freshman Kathryn Westbeld, now in her senior sea- son, scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. An assistant coach for the Wolver- ines in that game was 2002-06 Notre Dame point guard Megan Duffy, who this April was named the head coach at Miami (Ohio) after serving three years on the Michigan staff. SCORING TRIO At approximately the halfway point of the WNBA season July 18, three of the top 15 scorers in the league recently played at Notre Dame. Dallas' Skylar Diggins-Smith was sixth (18.2 points per game), while Seattle's Jewell Loyd was ninth (16.5) and San Antonio's Kayla McBride was 15th (15.6). Diggins-Smith also was fifth in as- sists with a 5.6 average, while Loyd was 16th at 3.6. ✦ No. 1 Point Guard Anaya Peoples Commits To Notre Dame 2017-18 SCHOLARSHIP CHART Handlers Lili Thompson, 5-7, 5th-Sr. Mychal Johnson, 5-7, Sr. Wings/Guards Marina Mabrey, 5-11, Jr. Arike Ogunbowale, 5-8, Jr. Jackie Young, 6-0, So. Bigs/Forwards Brianna Turner, 6-3, Sr. Kathryn Westbeld, 6-2, Sr. Kristina Nelson, 6-4, 5th-Sr. Danielle Patterson, 6-2, Fr. Mikayla Vaughn, 6-3, Fr. Jessica Shepard, 6-4, Jr.* * Must sit out 2017-18 after transferring from Nebraska Note: Turner's status for the 2017-18 season remains uncertain because she underwent ACL surgery this spring to repair an injury suffered in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Peoples, who is rated as the nation's No. 4 over- all player by Prospect Nation, selected Notre Dame over Connecticut, South Carolina and Tennessee. PHOTO COURTESY USA BASKETBALL

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