SOUTH BEND – Entering the season, with all-time great Skylar Diggins lost to graduation and young players in larger roles, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team was uncertain of its identity.
Irish coach Muffet McGraw took a wait-and-see approach.
As it turns out, she was central to the identity that eventually developed.
Players took on the personality of McGraw, who is in her 32nd season as a college coach.
The biggest thing that Coach brings to this team is her competitiveness, senior guard Kayla McBride said. She doesn’t let us settle and is always pushing us.
That was something that we needed as a team. We needed to find our identity, and I think with her competitive nature and the way she pushed us, we were able to find that.
Not surprisingly for an unbeaten team, the Irish’s character begins with them being all on the same page, guard Madison Cable said.
It’s all about winning, she said.
1st time vs. OSU
When the Irish tip off against No. 5 seed Oklahoma State today, it will be their 15th all-time meeting in South Bend against teams that currently belong to the Big 12 Conference.
Notre Dame is 12-2 in those games but has never faced Oklahoma State.
We want to show people that the Big 12 is a tough conference to be in, Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said.
We’ve got a lot of great teams, but I really can’t compare (the Irish) to anyone in the Big 12. I don’t know of anybody who’s like them.
Ready to run
McGraw expects an up-tempo contest, even though Oklahoma State is only 1-5 in games in which it allows at least 70 points.
Notre Dame reached the 70-point barrier in all but one game.
Oklahoma State is very fast, McGraw said. Their guard play is extremely talented. It’s going to be up and down.
I’m looking forward to an offensive game.