Feisty Fraderica Brings Major Spark Off the Bench

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Senior guard Fraderica Miller is not one of the stars of this year's Notre Dame women's basketball team. Her impact does not always show up in the box score, but as WNDU's Angelo Di Carlo explains, the Fighting Irish might not be where they are today - playing for a trip to the Final Four - if not for the future accountant and her scrappy defense. Check out Di Carlo's story below:

Fraderica Miller averages just two points and two and half rebounds a game for the Notre Dame women's basketball team.

She's not a starter and she's not even Muffet McGraw's 1st option off the bench.

But the top seeded Irish wouldn't be playing for a spot in the Final Four Tuesday night at 9pm against Maryland in Raleigh without the scrappy senior from Georgia.

Miller could probably start for 80 percent of the college basketball teams in the country. But she plays for one of the nation's elite programs and starting isn't an option. It doesn't bother her one bit.

"I love being a part of this team," Miller explains. "There's no other team I'd want to play for. No other coach I want to play for. No girls I want to be around all the time.

Make no mistake, she's a difference maker.

"When Fraderica comes in, the energy level changes," explains Irish coach Muffet McGraw. "She's really aggressive and so fast. I think they have a hard time believing she's still staying with them when they get by them."

Her teammates rave about the spark she brings.

"She's a burst of energy," fellow senior Brittany Mallory explains. "She comes in and she's running all over the place."

"She just is able to come in here and create havoc for us and it really turns over into offensive points," says senior Natalie Novosel.

Miller averages just 13 minutes a game but she's come up with 47 steals this season. That's a steal every 9.5 minutes, a better ratio than everyone on the team--including Skylar Diggins.

"She's a blue collar player," Diggins explains. "She does whatever we need her to do."

Fraderica doesn't care what it takes. She'll put her on body on the line every single play and she does---diving for loose balls, poking and prodding at her opponents.

"it's just how I play," Miller says with a smile. "I've always been like that. Every time you hit the court you play as hard as you can."

She's hit the court hard on occasion. She took a nasty spill against Providence earlier this season. Later in the night, she fainted and was rushed to the infirmary. Lucky everything was ok. She can joke about it now.

"I've had my fair share of bumps and bruises along the way," Miller says with a laugh. "It's always been like that. I'm accident prone. I go out there and I have some war wounds."

Deep down, Fraderica is a softy. On Senior Day, tears came out. Then after the victory over Cal in the NCAA Tourney last Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion, it happened again in the Irish locker room.

"It just hit me that that was my last time playing in the Joyce Center," Miller says. "With the win and moving on to the Sweet 16, I just got a little emotional."

That's how much Notre dame means to her. So you can understand why she's not ready to hand in that uniform. She wants to wear it for three more games.

"Since the moment we lost last year in the Championship its been on our minds to get back to this point and we're really excited and really grateful to make it to this point and we're not done, we're motivated and focused right now and we're ready to get back to the Championship," Miller says.

You know she'll give it her all to make that happen--even if it results in a few more war wounds.

- Angelo Di Carlo
And while we're on the subject, here's a great UND.com feature on Fraderica from earlier in the season:

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