#4 Notre Dame Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
#4 Notre Dame Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview
Notre Dame Team Page


The first week of April in 2001 seems like it is so far away for Notre Dame women’s basketball fans. It has been 13 years since the Fighting Irish walked away with the championship trophy, and it has made appearances in the finals since then but not walked away as winners. Last season the Fighting Irish reached the finals before Connecticut stopped them from reaching the top once again. Still, Notre Dame has earned a place in women’s basketball as a perennial powerhouse alongside Connecticut and Stanford, and this year will be no exception. With one of the top freshmen in the nation coming to South Bend, this will be another strong season.

2013-14 Record: 37-1, 16-0
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Muffet McGraw
Coach Record: 662-217 at Notre Dame, 751-259 overall

Notre Dame simply ran roughshod over practically everyone else in the country not named Connecticut last season. Its closest NCAA win was by 17 points, so double-digit victories have been commonplace. The Fighting Irish outscored opponents by 24 points per game and shot an incredible 50.6 percent from the field. One of every two shots taken were successful. That is a mind-boggling stat. Notre Dame also outrebounded its opponents by nine boards per game. Add in an advantage of eight assists per game and you can see just how Notre Dame dominated its opponents in almost every facet of the game. The Fighting Irish were spectacular right up until the end, and it only took Connecticut to dethrone them from the ranks of the unbeaten. Notre Dame does lose some of its scoring power (see below) but there is a ton of talent left behind and a great shot for the Irish to win the ACC.

With the loss of Natalie Achonwa and Kayla McBride, Notre Dame loses over 30 points per game, so the irish hope that some of the reserves from a year ago can pick up the slack. A third graduate, Ariel Braker, only averaged four points per game but pulled down five rebounds. Notre Dame has lost key starters like this repeatedly and come back strong, however, so don’t think the loss of these two will result in a subpar season. That isn’t likely. The Irish don’t have too many weaknesses other than the loss of these two key players and Braker’s rebounding ability.

Final Projection:
The reality is Notre Dame is one of the “elite” programs in the nation, and the mere name draws people to campus. Three of the top 64 freshmen committed to South Bend, including Brianna Turner, a 6-foot-3 forward from Texas that should immediately contribute at some level. Turner’s height and skill should help partially replace McBride and Achonwa’s ability, so their loss will be felt a bit less than you might expect. Watch out for December 6th, when Notre Dame takes on Connecticut in the Jimmy V Women’s Classic. The game is in South Bend, so a home crowd should help. The ACC will be tough once again, but Notre Dame should reach the top and advance far in the NCAA tournament one more time.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Lindsay Allen, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 points per game
Jewell Loyd, Junior, Guard, 18.6 points per game
Brianna Turner, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Michaela Mabrey, Junior, Guard, 8.6 points
Taya Reimer, Sophomore, Forward, 7.4 points

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 86.1 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.6 (51, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 50.6 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.8 (59, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (191, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.2 (2, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.6 (19, 1)
Rebound Margin: 9.1 (12, 2)
Assists Per Game: 20.1 (2, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (84, 4)

Madness 2014 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#2 Brianna Turner
#25 Kathryn Westbeld
#64 Mychal Johnson


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