#8 Notre Dame Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: Big East #3
Notre Dame Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Notre Dame Team Page


The past two seasons have seen the Notre Dame women’s basketball team achieve the highest success in over a decade. Notre Dame won the 2001 NCAA championship and returned to the national-championship game stage in both 2011 and 2012. The Fighting Irish ended up falling, 80-61, to the Brittney Griner-led Baylor squad, and the team has most of the pieces of the puzzle back for another long run through the NCAA tournament. Is this the year where head coach Muffet McGraw says the third time was the charm?

2011-12 record: 35-4, 15-1
2011-12 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Muffet McGraw
Coach Record: 679-256 overall, 591-215 at Notre Dame

Like with most elite college basketball programs, the success starts at the top. For three decades McGraw has guided teams with varying talent levels to success, and this year McGraw has a chance to pass two milestones. Nine wins puts her at 600 with the Irish, and if she can win 21 games McGraw will hit 700 wins for her career. Both of these numbers look easy to accomplish this season. Two starters are back to help with the cause, including program star Skylar Diggins. Together with Kayla McBride, Notre Dame’s backcourt should be set for the upcoming season.

The loss of four players from the roster includes three graduated starters and two players who averaged in double figures. Forward Devereaux Peters was one of them, leaving Notre Dame without an established player in the frontcourt. This means Natalie Achonwa will have to up her scoring quite a ways to make up for the lost points. Peters, Natalie Novosel and Brittany Mallory, all four-year letter winners, averaged a combined 32.8 points and 16.1 rebounds per game. That is a lot of scoring to make up, not to mention a lot of leadership that just went into the void.

Final Projection:
The presence of Diggins and McBride will help cushion the blow somewhat, but Notre Dame should be healthy enough to make a strong run at the top of the Big East once again. Notre Dame sees Ohio State, UCLA and Baylor in the first seven games. Never let it be said McGraw shied away from competition. The Big East schedule begins and ends with Connecticut. That will make the conference gauntlet hard to overcome. Still, Notre Dame has succeeded before with fewer strong bodies on the court, and it looks like the Irish will be strong bets once again.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Skylar Diggins, Senior, Guard, 16.8 points, 5.7 assists per game
Kayla McBride, Junior, Guard, 11.6 points, 4.6 rebounds
Jewell Loyd, Freshman, Guard, 20 points in exhibition opener and highly-touted recruit
Markisha Wright, Sophomore, Forward, possible starting frontcourt threat
Whitney Holloway, Sophomore, Guard, possible sixth-female material

Madness 2013 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#3 Skylar Diggins

Madness 2012 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#2 Jewell Loyd
#26 Michaela Mabrey
#55 Hannah Huffman