A Look At Notre Dame-UConn IV (or XII)

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

NCAA Final Four



Time: 9 p.m.

Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, La.

TV: ESPN (Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke, Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe)

Radio: WTIC-AM 1080, WILI-AM 1400 (Bob Joyce and Debbie Fisk)

Series history: UConn, 29-11

Last meeting: Notre Dame, 61-59, XL Center, March 12, 2013

Streaks:  Notre Dame W30; UConn W4

UCONN (33-4)

5 CAROLINE DOTY, G, 5-10, Sr., 3.4 – On the fifth Final Four team of her career

30 BREANNA STEWART, F, 6-4, Fr, 13.1 – Most Outstanding Player of the Bridgeport Regional

14 BRIA HARTLEY, G, 5-7, Jr., 9.0  – Has struggled all season with a ankle injury suffered over the summer

31 STEFANIE DOLSON, C, 6-5, Jr., 13.8 – Dealing with a stress fracture and plantar fasciitis.

34 KELLY FARIS, G, 5-11, Sr., 10.1  – Irrepressible guard playing in her fourth Final Four.

4 MORIAH JEFFERSON, G, 5-7, Fr., – 4.8 – Has emerged in NCAA Tournament as critical component on both ends

23 KALEENA MOSQUEDA-LEWIS, F, 6-0, So., 17.7 – UConn’s all-time single-season leader in three-pointers (112)

3 MORGAN TUCK, F, 6-2, Fr., 6.5 – Like Jefferson, beginning to play critical role; has 13 three-pointers


4 SKYLAR DIGGINS, G, 5-9, Sr., 17.3 – First team All-American; Notre Dame’s all-time scoring leader

23 KAYLA McBRIDE, G, 5-11, Jr., 15.9 – UConn killer, but is shooting just 29.5 percent from three this season.

11 NATALIE ACHONWA, F, 6-3, Jr., 13.9 – Played for Canadian Olympic team; leading rebounder (9.6), shooting 52.3 from field

32 JEWELL LOYD, G, 5-10, Fr., 12.5 – USBWA Freshman of the Year; leads team from three (41.7 percent)

44 ARIEL BRAKER, F, 6-1, Jr., 5.3 – 43 blocked shots; 59.6 field goal percentage

34 MARKISHA WRIGHT, F, 6-2, So., 4.3 – Has made one start, averaging 15. 1 minutes

22 MADISON CABLE, G, 5-11, So., 4.0 – Shoots 36.6 percent from three, but just 71.0 percent from foul line.


Numbers don’t lie

This will be the 12th game between the teams over the last three years – and the end, for now, of the game’s hottest rivalry. Since the start of the 2008-09 season, the Huskies have lost just 11 of 191 games – seven to Notre Dame


It’s clear that the play of the guards will have a big impact in this game. Diggins, McBride and Loyd have dominated play in the first three meetings. Now it’s up to Faris, Hartley and Jefferson, the new start, to neutralize what’s been so lethal against the Huskies this season

Hurts so bad

It’s clear that Dolson is struggling with her mobility and likely would not be asked to play such a big role – or any role – if this wasn’t the post season. Dolson is so important to UConn’s offense, both as a scorer and distributor, that is hard to imagine it operating at top efficiency if she can’t.

Digging Skylar

Notre Dame was 4-28 against Connecticut before Diggins arrived four seasons ago. Diggins is the only Notre Dame women’s basketball player to score at least 2,000 points and have at least 500 assists and 500 rebounds in her career. She is likely to be the third player taken in the WNBA Draft.


JOHN ALTAVILLA/ jaltavilla@courant.com

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8 thoughts on “A Look At Notre Dame-UConn IV (or XII)

  1. Who Da Thunk It

    Individual Stats

    Kelly Faris
    Points ….. 1083
    Assists …. 533
    Rebounds … 806
    Steals ….. 289
    Blocks ….. 72
    Total …… 2783

    Skylar Diggins
    Points ….. 2347
    Assists …. 737
    Rebounds … 554
    Steals ….. 377
    Blocks ….. 83
    Total …… 4098

    Diana Taurasi
    Points …. 2156
    Assists … 648
    Rebounds .. 628
    Steals …. 174
    Blocks …. 147
    Total ….. 3753

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Maya Moore
      Points 3036
      Assists 544
      Steals 310
      Rebounds 1276
      Blocks 204
      Total 5370

    2. UconnFan

      Why did you leave out the national championsihps won and national player of the year out. Is it because Skylar has zero?

      1. browns 2 year old daughter

        It’s absurd because Diggins career numbers are better :-)

  2. more info on The game

    “If we searched for an entire year. I don’t think we would find anyone better suited for our program.”

    With those words, former Notre Dame director of athletics Gene Corrigan announced the hiring of Muffet McGraw as the third head coach of the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program on May 18, 1987. Corrigan may not have realized it at the time, but he also ushered in an era of unparalleled success in women’s basketball at Notre Dame, brought to life on the shoulders of a 5-foot-6 dynamo who accepts nothing less than the very best from herself, her players and her program.

    Ask anyone familiar with women’s basketball about McGraw and her Notre Dame program and inevitably, you’ll hear the same two words — consistency and excellence. And it’s no wonder, when you consider what McGraw and the Fighting Irish have achieved in the past quarter-century:

    •The 2001 NCAA national championship, defeating Purdue in the title game, 68-66. McGraw is one of only seven active Division I coaches to guide her team to a national title.

    •Three trips to the NCAA Division I national championship game, including in the past two NCAA title contests (2011 and 2012). McGraw is one of just three active Division I coaches (and seven all-time) with at least three appearances in the NCAA national championship game.

    •Four trips to the NCAA Women’s Final Four (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012). McGraw is one of just five active Division I coaches (and eight all-time) to lead her team to four Women’s Final Four appearances.

    •10 NCAA Sweet Sixteen trips, all in the past 16 seasons (1997-2012). The Fighting Irish are one of seven programs in the nation that can make that claim.

    •Ranks eighth among active NCAA Division I coaches with 679 career wins (reaching the 600-win milestone on Jan. 19, 2010, at Louisville in her 839th game, at the time tying for 10th-fastest to 600 wins in Division I history) and 17th among active Division I coaches with a .726 all-time winning percentage.

    •Ranks seventh among active NCAA Division I coaches with 24 20-win seasons, including 22 seasons at Notre Dame with 20-or-more victories, as well as 18 in the past 19 years (1993-2012). Notre Dame also has posted nine 25-win seasons and four 30-win campaigns in the past 16 years (1997-2012).

    •19 NCAA tournament appearances, including a current string of 17 consecutive NCAA tournament berths (the sixth-longest active run of consecutive appearances and eighth-longest streak at any time in NCAA tournament history). During this current streak (1996-2012), Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 15 times.

    •87 wins over ranked opponents, including 74 in the past 14 seasons alone (1998-2012). In addition, 30 of those wins have come against top-10 opponents, including nine against top-five teams and three against No. 1-ranked squads.

    •236 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 poll (including an active school-record streak of 96 consecutive weeks in the AP poll entering the 2012-13 season). McGraw is ninth among active Division I coaches and 20th all-time in AP poll appearances (entering the 2012-13 season). Notre Dame also has spent 124 weeks ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, all in the past 14 seasons (1997-2012).

    •14 top-four finishes in the BIG EAST Conference during Notre Dame’s 17 years in that league (1995-96 through 2011-12). The Fighting Irish also have won two BIG EAST regular season titles under McGraw’s tutelage, earning the conference hardware in 2012 and a share of the title in 2001.

    •16 consecutive top-20 recruiting classes, dating back to the incoming class of 1997 (and including the incoming class of 2012, ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation). Notre Dame is one of just three programs in the nation that owns an active streak of that length.

    •Ranks second on the all-time wins list (regardless of sport) in the 125-year history of Fighting Irish athletics, trailing only former national champion men’s/women’s fencing coach Michael DeCicco (774-80 combined record from 1962-95).

    •Far and away the winningest basketball coach (men’s or women’s) in school history, with noted men’s skipper Digger Phelps second on that list (393 wins).

    •A perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in each of the past six years (2007-12). Notre Dame also is one of only four programs in the country to record a perfect GSR and play for the national title in the same season (something the Fighting Irish have done the past two years).

    Add it all up and you have the framework for a Hall of Fame career. And, on June 11, 2011, that’s exactly what McGraw became, as she officially was the first Notre Dame representative to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, an accomplishment now immortalized with a banner hanging in Purcell Pavilion.

    Still, with all of those accomplishments in hand, McGraw has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon. In July 2012, the veteran head coach signed a landmark 10-year contract extension (believed to be among the longest contract agreements in NCAA women’s basketball history) that will keep her patrolling the Fighting Irish sidelines through the 2021-22 campaign.

    “For more than 25 years, Muffet has led our women’s basketball program and represented this University with distinction,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “Her teams have excelled on the court and in the classroom, and I am absolutely delighted that she will continue to lead the Irish for many more years.”

    “We are thrilled to be able to enter into a decade-long agreement with Muffet, who is not only the face of Notre Dame women’s basketball, but increasingly, the face of women’s basketball, given all that she’s accomplished,” said University vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. “She’s taken this program to a place where it’s annually in the conversation for the national championship, which is the model all coaches want to follow. She’s also playing an important role in the game nationally, and her peers recognize those contributions, as well as the quality of her program here at Notre Dame. Off the court, she has created a program that has a lasting community identification and a special connection between the University and the city of South Bend, which is one of those unique points of intersection that universities have to be careful to build and maintain, and she’s done that for us in a really remarkable way.”

    • • •

    Under McGraw’s guidance, the past 17 seasons (1995-96 to 2011-12) have been the most successful in Notre Dame’s history. Since joining the BIG EAST prior to that ’95-96 season, the Fighting Irish have compiled an impressive 431-135 (.761) record, including a sparkling 216-64 (.771) regular-season mark in conference play, the second-best winning percentage in BIG EAST history. Notre Dame also has averaged more than 25 victories per year during that span, with four 30-win seasons and nine 25-win campaigns to its credit. The Fighting Irish have won at least one NCAA Tournament game 15 times in the past 17 years, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen 10 times, the Final Four four times (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012), the NCAA national championship game three times (2001, 2011 and 2012) and winning the 2001 NCAA title.

    • • •

    To be sure, the night of April 1, 2001 is one McGraw and the Fighting Irish faithful will never forget. On that memorable Sunday evening in St. Louis, Notre Dame defeated Purdue, 68-66 as McGraw’s 14th Fighting Irish team won the school’s first NCAA women’s basketball championship. It was the second Final Four appearance in five years for McGraw’s troops, who became the only NCAA champion to erase double-figure deficits in both of its Final Four contests. Having coached the Fighting Irish to their best ever regular-season record at 26-1 and a (then) school-record 34 wins (the second 30-win campaign in school history), and having guided Notre Dame to its best record (34-2) and season winning percentage (.944), McGraw earned numerous national awards for her efforts. For the first time in her career, she won national coach-of-the-year honors from the WBCA, Sports Illustrated for Women and Associated Press, as well as the Atlanta Tipoff Club, which named her the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year. Ruth Riley joined McGraw for the latter two honors, earning AP and Naismith player-of-the-year laurels. Riley also was recognized as the nation’s top student-athlete when she was named the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year.

    In addition, the New York Athletic Club honored McGraw with the 2001 Winged Foot Award, which is presented annually to the coach of the NCAA champion. She also was selected as the WBCA District I Coach of the Year and was voted the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the first time. The latter award gave McGraw a unique distinction — she has earned coach-of-the-year honors in all four conferences with which she has been associated during her head coaching tenure (the East Coast Conference, North Star Conference, Midwestern Collegiate Conference and BIG EAST).

    • • •

    McGraw has led the Fighting Irish to all 19 of their NCAA Tournament appearances, the first coming in 1992 and the second in 1994. Yet, Notre Dame’s first NCAA Tournament win didn’t come until after it joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1996 when, as the 12th seed in the Midwest region, the Fighting Irish stunned fifth-seeded and 15th-ranked Purdue, 73-60, in Lubbock, Texas. The success of that 1995-96 campaign and a 23-8 record earned McGraw national recognition as well, as she was named the WBCA District II Coach of the Year.

    One season later, McGraw and the Fighting Irish made an even bigger national statement, going all the way to the Final Four. Notre Dame compiled a gaudy 31-7 record (at the time the most wins in school history) and the first 30-win season in the program’s history. Also, for the first time ever, the Fighting Irish were ranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls from the preseason until the end of the year. Notre Dame earned its first-ever top 10 ranking at the end of November and achieved all-time high finishes in both final polls, finishing fifth in the ESPN/USA Today rankings and 15th in the AP poll.

    McGraw and the Fighting Irish got to the 1997 NCAA Final Four the hard way, beating three consecutive ranked opponents on the road. In its NCAA first-round game in Austin, Texas, Notre Dame cruised to a 93-62 victory over Memphis. Its second round contest matched the Irish up with Texas. Undaunted by the hostile Longhorn crowd, Notre Dame pulled off an 86-83 upset of its 14th-ranked hosts.

    Making their first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance, the Fighting Irish erased a nine-point halftime deficit and went on to defeat eighth-ranked Alabama, 87-71 in Columbia, S.C. Notre Dame then claimed the East Regional championship and booked its first trip to the Final Four with a 62-52 win over No. 22 George Washington. An 80-66 loss to eventual national champion Tennessee couldn’t dampen what remains a defining season in the program’s history.

    • • •

    The 1997-98 campaign was expected to be a transition year as the Fighting Irish lost four starters from that first Final Four team. However, it turned out to be perhaps the best coaching effort of McGraw’s career, punctuated by one of the most stunning upsets of the 1998 NCAA Tournament when Notre Dame beat sixth-ranked and top-seeded Texas Tech in the second round of the Midwest Regional before a stunned Lady Raider crowd at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. That win propelled McGraw’s team into the Sweet Sixteen for the second year in a row, resulted in a final ranking of 17th in the ESPN/USA Today poll and made McGraw a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award.

    During the 1998-99 season, McGraw’s charges posted an impressive 26-5 mark and spent a (then) school-record 16 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10. Notre Dame was undefeated (8-0) against non-conference opponents, registering wins at home against UCLA (99-82) and Duke (84-57), both of whom were ranked sixth at tipoff.

    The accomplishments of the Notre Dame program in `98-’99 made McGraw a finalist for the Naismith Award for the second consecutive season. In addition, Riley became the first player to earn first-team AP All-America honors. Riley also was a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® honoree, the fourth player in the history of the program to earn Academic All-America® accolades.

    The 1999-2000 campaign continued Notre Dame’s rise up the national ladder, as the Fighting Irish duplicated their record-setting accomplishment of the 1998-99 campaign, finishing with, at the time, the best winning percentage in school history (.844) en route to a 27-5 campaign and return to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Notre Dame spent all but two weeks in the top 10 of the AP poll and held down the No. 5 ranking (then an all-time high) for seven of the 18 weeks.

    That would all set the stage for the memorable events of 2000-01 and Notre Dame’s ascension into the ranks of college basketball’s elite programs.

    • • •

    To understand the competitive fire that has fueled much of McGraw’s success, you have to go back to her playing days. A four-year starter at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., she captained the 1976-77 Hawk team that finished 23-5 and was ranked third nationally. In four seasons at SJU, McGraw helped her team compile a 59-12 mark, while participating in the regional Eastern Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (EAIAW) tournament once and the national AIAW tourney once.

    She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from SJU in 1977. Following graduation, she coached for two seasons at Philadelphia’s Archbishop Carroll High School where she guided her teams to a 50-3 record, including a 28-0 mark during her second year. In that `78-79 season, she led her squad to the Catholic League title and was named coach of the year for the Philadelphia Catholic League.

    McGraw then played point guard for one year with the California Dreams in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL). She returned to her alma mater in 1980, serving as an assistant coach for two seasons under Jim Foster (now the head coach at Ohio State).

    In 1982, McGraw was named head coach at Lehigh University, leading that school to unprecedented success. Her teams were 88-41 (.683) during her five-year tenure. She was named East Coast Conference Coach of the Year following her first season with the Engineers (as they were then known) in 1982-83. Her `84-85 and `85-86 teams posted back-to-back 20-win seasons, finishing 20-8 and 24-4, respectively. The latter squad won the most games in women’s basketball history at the school, while claiming both the ECC regular-season and tournament titles.

    • • •

    In her first season at Notre Dame (1987-88), McGraw took a team which finished 12-15 the previous year and guided that squad to a 20-8 mark, including the program’s first-ever win over a ranked opponent (78-66 at No. 17 Duke) as she was named North Star Conference Coach of the Year.

    The following year, McGraw and the Fighting Irish moved into the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) — now known as the Horizon League — and set about establishing a standard of excellence in that conference that has yet to be duplicated.

    In seven years as a member of the MCC, Notre Dame won five regular season and tournament championships, including four consecutive tournament crowns from 1989-92. McGraw’s teams never finished lower than second in the regular season standings and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament all but once. Notre Dame wound up compiling an 87-15 (.853) record in MCC regular-season games and was 13-2 (.867) in tournament play.

    While her teams’ successes in the MCC were impressive, McGraw and the Fighting Irish had their sights set on bigger goals. The first of those aims was achieved on Dec. 28, 1990, when Notre Dame announced its presence on the national basketball scene with a historic 71-66 win over No. 11 Louisiana Tech in the first round of the Texaco-Hawk Classic in McGraw’s hometown of Philadelphia. The next evening, the Fighting Irish upended McGraw’s alma mater, Saint Joseph’s (Pa.), 72-53, in the championship game, causing Hall of Fame sportswriter Mel Greenberg to note in the Philadelphia Inquirer the following day, “They were the kind of wins that get a team noticed on the national level.”

    Those words proved prophetic only days later when, on Dec. 31, 1990, the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program earned the school’s first national ranking. Notre Dame entered the Associated Press poll at No. 25 and remained in both the AP and USA Today polls for the next nine weeks, climbing as high as 19th in the AP and 18th in the USA Today poll.

    The next important step in the growth of Notre Dame women’s basketball under McGraw’s tutelage came in 1992, when the Fighting Irish, despite a 14-17 mark (the only losing season McGraw has experienced during her 30-year head coaching tenure), rallied to win the MCC Tournament with a 59-54 upset of top-seeded Xavier in the championship finale. The win earned Notre Dame its first-ever berth in the coveted NCAA Tournament field via the league’s automatic bid.

    Two years later, the Fighting Irish was back in the NCAA Tournament, once again earning the MCC’s automatic bid. This time, Notre Dame garnered additional respect from the NCAA Selection Committee, picking up a home game in the first round against Minnesota. However, the plucky Gophers pulled out a tough 81-76 decision at the Joyce Center, abruptly ending the season for the Fighting Irish. Still, the lessons McGraw and her charges learned in those first two NCAA Tournament appearances would prove invaluable — since that time, Notre Dame has won at least once in all but two of the 17 NCAA Tournaments it has played in (1996-2012), posting a 37-18 (.673) record in NCAA postseason play that ranks among the top 10 in NCAA Tournament history.

    • • •

    Throughout her storied coaching career, success for McGraw has meant developing great players. Riley, the 2001 BIG EAST Player of the Year, became the third Notre Dame player to earn AP All-America honors when she was named in `99 to the third team. Riley, who was a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST selection in 2000 and was the `99 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, also earned WBCA?honorable mention All-America honors. She also was a member of the `99 U.S. World University Games team and proudly represented her country as a member of the gold medal-winning 2004 U.S. Olympic Team.

    Besides Riley, two players whose names are forever linked to elevating the Notre Dame program to national prominence are `97 graduates Beth Morgan (now Beth Cunningham and in her first year an associate coach on McGraw’s staff) and Katryna Gaither. The two-time Kodak (now State Farm Coaches’) and AP honorable mention All-Americans both scored more than 2,000 points during their careers, becoming the first two players from the same team in NCAA history (male or female) to reach that milestone. They rank one-two, respectively, on the Fighting Irish career scoring list, while Gaither also stands as the school’s second all-time leading rebounder behind Riley. Both players went on to careers at the professional level with the now-defunct American Basketball League (ABL) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

    The trio of Riley, Morgan and Gaither highlight an impressive list of 13 Fighting Irish players who have garnered All-America honors during McGraw’s career. That list includes 2011-12 consensus first-team All-America guard (and returning senior) Skylar Diggins. McGraw also has worked with seven players who have been selected for USA Basketball National Teams, with those players going on to win a total of 13 medals (highlighted by Riley’s gold with the ’04 U.S. Olympic Team and the trio of golds collected by Diggins since her arrival at Notre Dame, most recently with the 2012 USA Basketball 3×3 World Championship Team). In addition, McGraw has coached 24 players who have earned all-conference recognition a total of 54 times, including 18 first-team picks who have been chosen a total of 33 times, and has helped shape several other national award winners, namely two Frances Pomeroy Naismith award recipients (Niele Ivey in 2001, Megan Duffy in 2006), the 2012 Nancy Lieberman Award honoree (Diggins) and 2002 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year Jacqueline Batteast.

    • • •

    Another sign of McGraw’s success has been her ability to prepare her players for the next level. No less than 24 Notre Dame cagers have gone on to play professionally (domestically or overseas), including nine who either have been drafted or signed as free agents with WNBA teams.

    The past 11 years have seen the greatest influx of Fighting Irish talent into the WNBA, with seven Notre Dame players having been selected in the league’s annual draft since 2001. Four of those players — Riley, Ivey, Kelley Siemon and Ericka Haney — were starters on the ’01 Fighting Irish NCAA championship team, and seven of the recent Fighting Irish WNBA draftees (Riley, Ivey, Batteast, Duffy, Charel Allen, Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters) earned All-America status during their careers at Notre Dame.

    Perhaps no former Fighting Irish player has achieved greater success at the professional level than Riley. Less than a month after being named the 2001 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Riley was taken with the fifth overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Miami Sol, where she spent her first two pro seasons. When the Sol folded in 2003, she was the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA dispersal draft by the Detroit Shock, quickly becoming a crowd favorite in the Motor City.

    With Riley in the starting lineup, Detroit rolled to the league title with a storybook “worst-to-first” finish in `03, and Riley herself was named the WNBA Finals MVP, becoming the only player in women’s basketball history to earn Finals MVP honors at both the NCAA and WNBA levels. She also is one of only eight players in women’s basketball lore to earn championships in NCAA, WNBA and Olympic competition. Riley came back to earn a second WNBA title with Detroit in 2006, before being traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007. Once she arrived in the Alamo City, Riley helped the Silver Stars to five consecutive playoff appearances, including the franchise’s first trip to the WNBA?Finals in 2008, before departing in 2012 for her current assignment with the Chicago Sky.

    Ivey was another important cog in the 2001 national championship machine for Notre Dame, and she translated that into a extensive playing career on the professional circuit. A second-round pick of the Indiana Fever in the `01 WNBA Draft, Ivey spent four seasons with the club, helping pilot the Fever to their first-ever playoff berth in 2002. She also spent time as a free-agent signing with the Detroit Shock and Phoenix Mercury in 2005 before retiring to begin her coaching career, which has led her back to her alma mater, where she is in her sixth season working with the next generation of Notre Dame point guards.

    In four of the past seven years, the Fighting Irish have had five more All-Americans selected in the WNBA?Draft. Batteast was a second-round pick (17th overall) by the Minnesota Lynx in 2005 before being traded to Detroit for the 2006 campaign and winning a WNBA title alongside Riley. A year later, the Lynx once again dipped into the Notre Dame talent pool, choosing Duffy in the third round (31st overall pick), with Duffy spending two years with the Lynx before signing with the New York Liberty as a free agent in 2008 and helping that team make the WNBA’s Eastern Conference finals.

    In 2008, Allen took her game to the next level, as the high-scoring guard was chosen in the third round (43rd overall pick) of the WNBA?Draft by the Sacramento Monarchs. She went on to contribute to the Monarchs’ run to the WNBA’s Western Conference playoffs, where they fell in three hard-fought games to Riley’s San Antonio club.

    Two more McGraw pupils were selected in the first round of the 2012 WNBA Draft, as Peters was chosen third overall by the defending league champion Minnesota Lynx, and Novosel went eighth overall to the Washington Mystics. It not only marked the first time in program history Notre Dame had two first-round WNBA Draft picks in the same year, but Peters’ No. 3 overall selection made her the highest-drafted player in school history (and its first-ever WNBA Draft lottery pick).

    • • •

    McGraw’s teams also have been stellar in the classroom. Since she arrived at Notre Dame in 1987, every women’s basketball player who completed her athletic and academic eligibility at the University has graduated. Additionally, two Fighting Irish players — Riley and Duffy — have been named CoSIDA first-team Academic All-Americans® with Riley twice earning that honor and going on to be named to the 2001 Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year (for all sports, besting such notables as Duke men’s basketball player Shane Battier [now with the NBA's Miami Heat] and Purdue football player Drew Brees [now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints]), in addition to earning the NCAA Top VIII Award and an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

    • • •

    McGraw’s knack for developing talent also extends to the coaching ranks. No less than 13 of her former players and/or assistant coaches currently are serving as coaches at either the high school or college level. In addition, four of her former pupils are presently NCAA Division I head coaches: Bill Fennelly, another former aide who is piloting Iowa State; Kevin McGuff, a Notre Dame assistant for six seasons who now is the head coach at Washington; Jonathan Tsipis, a Fighting Irish assistant for nine years who is in his first season as head coach at George Washington, and Coquese Washington, a 1991 Notre Dame graduate and eight-year veteran on McGraw’s staff who now is in charge at Penn State. McGuff, Washington, and current Fighting Irish associate head coach Carol Owens comprised McGraw’s assistant coaching staff on Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA national championship squad, while McGuff and Owens also were on McGraw’s staff for Notre Dame’s run to the 1997 NCAA Final Four (with a roster that included two of McGraw’s current assistants — Beth (Morgan) Cunningham and Niele Ivey).

    • • •

    On a national level, McGraw has been widely regarded as a champion for student-athletes. In June 2002, she accepted an invitation from U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige to join the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics. Created 30 years after the passage of the Title IX anti-discrimination law, the 15-member panel examined ways to strengthen enforcement and expand opportunities to ensure fairness for all college athletes. McGraw was the only women’s basketball coach on the Commission, which also included former WNBA great Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, former U.S. National Soccer Team captain Julie Foudy and two-time Olympic gold medalist Donna DeVarona.

    In the summer of 2004, McGraw served with the WBCA’s Special Committee on Recruiting and Access, which helped create numerous proposals to the NCAA that clarified and strengthened national recruiting guidelines. McGraw’s work on that committee led to her selection in 2005 as a member of the WBCA’s Board of Directors, serving as the Division I Legislative Chair for that body through June 2011. Her efforts to preserve and improve the status of college athletics were recognized by the WBCA in 2009, when she was chosen to receive the prestigious Carol Eckman Award, which goes annually to an active WBCA coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose.

    In the summer of 2011, McGraw took on her latest challenge, stepping in for a one-year term as chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee. In that role (which she completed in September 2012), McGraw supervised a group that ensured appropriate oversight of women’s basketball is maintained. The committee also placed a special emphasis on recruiting activities, development and public perception, and made numerous recommendations on policy issues unrelated to legislative and playing rule changes.

  3. Eileen

    Thanks “more info on the game”–that was fun scrolling through all that gibberish to get to the end. We could do the same for Geno, but there would be a lot more words to scroll through, why bother, who cares.

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