Jan 30, 2014, 12:04 AM EDT
Just two seasons ago I was living and dying with the Notre Dame women’s basketball program as the secondary media contact to the squad. The 2011-12 squad was coming off of its first NCAA Final Four in years and the journey I was on with the team would lead to the second (of three) in a row for head coach Muffet McGraw’s team.
Just two years removed, the leaders have changed, but their style of play and their winning style has stayed the same.
Holdovers from the 2011-12 squad include Natalie Achonwa, Kayla McBride, Whitney Holloway, Ariel Braker and Markisha Wright.
I just want to quickly highlight the two players who played key roles on both the 2011-12 squad and again this season.
A player who I have been high on since she began playing as a freshman, Achonwa, a member of the Canadian Women’s National Team, is the best “paint” player the Irish have had since Ruth Riley in my opinion. Her smooth play in the paint and her ability to play with her back to the basket makes her a multi-dimensional threat for any defender. Personally, her biggest asset on the offensive end is her ability to either pass or be in the post in a “high-low” situation with freshman Taya Reimer.
The hot-shooting McBride is one of the best midrange shooters I have ever seen in the women’s game. Her ability to receive the ball outside the three-point arch, take one dribble in and pull up with ease is one of the toughest traits to guard against in college basketball. Pay attention to the next Notre Dame women’s basketball you watch and you will see that the lost art of the midrange is not lost on McBride.
As the season continues for the Irish women’s basketball squad, their stable of seniors will dictate how far they will be able to go in March (and into April). On some nights, slick guard Jewell Loyd will lead the Irish in many facets of the game, but one thing can be said for the senior class of Achonwa, Braker and McBride – an NCAA title to cap off four-straight trips to the Final Four would be the perfect ending to their Irish careers.
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
Notre Dame Women's Basketball Defeat French All-Stars in Madrid
Length: 1:54 | August 12, 2013
Kayla McBride Talks About The 75-57 Win - Women's Basketball
Length: 1:14 | August 12, 2013
Notre Dame Women's Basketball Defeat French All-Stars in Barcelona
Length: 1:28 | August 12, 2013
Skylar Diggins Look Back - Notre Dame Women's Basketball
Length: 4:19 | May 2, 2013
- Challenge accepted by the team at @skydigg4's #GENYOUTH event! #wop vine.co/v/MnDmtB2AwJH 57 minutes ago
- Did you miss our #EOYBanquet2014 & the SR tribute video? See what @NDfidm pieced together to celebrate our #trio. watchnd.tv/#!/videos/t3bX… 2 hours ago
- Need a midafternoon laugh? Check out our #EOYBanquet2014 social media scrapbook and blooper reel now available at youtube.com/watch?v=-mY0MU… 4 hours ago
- #NDday launches April 27-28! Watch, Connect, Give & Vote at NotreDameDay.ND.edu! Most importantly- VOTE for NDWBB! @ProudtobeND 4 hours ago
- Excited to join @SkyDigg4 and @GENYOUthNow later today to empower kids to be active! #preparenow #fuelupplaylearn 5 hours ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
Meet The Freshmen, Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:08 | August 1, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, V.J. Beachem - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:13 | July 30, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Steve Vasturia - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:06 | July 25, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Austin Torres - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:13 | July 23, 2013
- "When it comes to battling the obesity epidemic, nutrition is the key" #TipOffForHeart @AHA_Michiana http://t.co/kl6TXiMLoR 32 minutes ago
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- Local doctors revealing the importance of exercise & the correct CPR manuever w/help from @kenjeong #TipOffForHeart http://t.co/JN5EAdI0Xq 1 hour ago
- From player to coach, @EAtkins0 revealing the keys to the perfect jump shot #TipOffForHeart @AHA_Michiana http://t.co/3BuNBtWAgN 2 hours ago
- Coach Brey doing what he does best, coaching and teaching the fundamentals of the game #TipOffForHeart @AHA_Michiana http://t.co/M8cJoI3ubC 2 hours ago
- M. Tennis. Leaving It All On The Court
- Softball. Strikeout Cancer, A Cause Ingrained In The Tradition Of Notre Dame Softball
- W. Lacrosse. Battle-Tested Irish Ready For ACC Tournament
- W. Basketball. McBride Earns MVP Honors At 2013-14 Women's Basketball Awards Banquet
- M. Golf. Irish Claim Four-Shot Win At Oak Hill Intercollegiate