Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2018

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

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40 DECEMBER 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI I t didn't take long for head coach Muffet McGraw to get used to once again uti‑ lizing a bench rotation. During the march to last year 's national title, Notre Dame was down to seven scholarship players and mostly used six in the NCAA Tournament. This year, with early season in‑ juries — though not of the major variety — to three of the top six players, Mc‑ Graw and her staff have turned to numerous added reinforcements. Senior guard Marina Mabrey was projected to be sidelined most, if not all, of November, with a quadriceps injury. Her re‑ placement, freshman guard Jordan Nixon, was out of commission during the Van‑ couver Showcase Nov. 22‑24 while going through concussion protocol. Then late in the opening round of the Vancouver Showcase, versus Gonzaga, senior forward Jessica Shepard suffered an ankle injury that shelved her the next day. Enter sophomore forward Dani‑ elle Patterson, freshman guard Abby Prohaska and freshman guard Katlyn Gilbert. Patterson and Prohaska sparked the Irish in a 101‑77 victory at No. 15 DePaul Nov. 17, with Patterson re‑ cording career highs in points (14) and blocked shots (three), and Pro‑ haska leading the team in assists (four) and steals (four). Prohaska then received her first career start, versus Gonzaga, in the opening round of the Vancouver Showcase, while junior Jackie Young moved mainly to point guard. However, stealing the show this time in the 81‑65 win versus the Zags was Gilbert, who McGraw had indi‑ cated earlier in the week was com‑ ing on strong after missing a good portion of October with a shoul‑ der injury. Gilbert responded with 14 points and five rebounds off the bench versus Gonzaga, while play‑ ing the third most minutes (33) on the team. The next night in an 82‑64 win ver‑ sus Drake, Patterson received her first career start, in place of Shepard, and contributed eight points and six rebounds. Last year, the 6‑2 Patterson was a "tweener," not quite comfortable down low but not settled along the perimeter either. This fall, McGraw referred to her as the team's most improved played. Her versatility and strength in the mid‑range game — sort of a lost art in basketball — have helped her find a niche. " A g a i n s t D e P a u l w e needed to break the press a lot. I'm able to handle the ball a little bit, relieve a lit‑ tle pressure off the guards but also can set into that post role," Patterson said. "I try not to define myself as one or the other — just step in wherever needed. "Last year, I needed to play the post role because we were down a lot of posts. This year now that we have Bri [Turner] back, now that we have Jess, Danielle [Cosgrove] and Mik [Vaughn], I can also move into that guard role. "I take a lot of pride in my defense and tried to really improve it over the summer compared to what it was last year. I know the principles a lot better and have a lot more confidence in it." Utilizing her mid‑range game is what the staff has been emphasizing. "I think I operate very well in the mid‑range, and I'm trying to extend it," Patterson said. "I'm hoping to grow in that area." "The high‑low [game] has been something we've been really working on, and now that we have Bri inside and Jess inside we need someone to get them the ball, and she's proven that she can do that," McGraw said of Patterson. "She's showing us a lot more and has a nice mid‑range shot." Patterson also has made the most of a new shot at playing time. ✦ Bench Support Aids No. 1 Fighting Irish Sophomore forward Danielle Patterson set career highs in points (14) and blocked shots (three) off the bench in a 101-77 win at No. 15 DePaul Nov. 17. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND Notre Dame Captures Vancouver Showcase Trailing 38-24 in the first half, 50-41 at halftime and 70-68 after three quarters, Notre Dame rallied to defeat No. 9 Oregon State 91-81 in the championship game of the Vancouver Showcase Nov. 24. To get to the title game, the Irish first defeated 4-0 Gonzaga (81-65) Nov. 22 and 5-0 Drake (82-64) Nov. 23 despite being down multiple starters. Senior guard Arike Ogunbowale was named MVP after averaging 24.0 points per game, and junior guard Jackie Young (62 points, 20 assists and 18 rebounds in the three games) displayed her all-around skills — including a 3-of-5 effort from three-point range in the title game — en route to earning a spot on the all-tournament team. Fifth-year senior forward Brianna Turner scored 21 points versus Oregon State. Senior forward Jessica Shepard (17 points and 10 rebounds) was back from an ankle injury, and senior guard Marina Mabrey saw her first action after a preseason injury, knocking down a crucial three that broke a 77-77 tie. Notre Dame (6-0) hosts No. 12 Iowa Nov. 29 before welcoming No. 2 Connecticut Dec. 2 for its annual showdown with the 11-time national champions. — Lou Somogyi

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