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    Women's Hoops Ranked No. 1 In Preseason Poll

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    4654153.jpeg South Bend Tribune - Women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw rolled out the basketballs for the four-player workout sessions that the NCAA allows before the full-team practices start. The expectations were already waiting for the Fighting Irish.

    The Sporting News preseason poll has McGraw's Irish ranked No. 1.

    "Not in my rankings, we're not No.1," shot back the tough-to-please McGraw.

    But the Irish, last season's national runners-up, won't be taking notice of preseason rankings.

    "We ignore it," McGraw said. "It doesn't mean anything. Our focus has been on getting ready to have that target on our backs. In some ways, it's easier to say, 'You know we have that target on our back, now it's getting a little bit bigger,' and getting them ready to handle that kind of pressure.

    "We always have a target on our back at Notre Dame. I think there's a difference. Sometimes the expectations can really change things. Last year, we saw ourselves as the underdog. Now, we aren't in that role anymore."

    McGraw said that she is confident the Irish upperclassmen can handle the expectations, and that she and her staff are working to make sure the sophomores and freshmen are ready for the pressure.

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