March 20, 2010
• Irish NCAA Tournament Central
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) - After a full season of playing inside and leading Notre Dame in rebounding, Lindsay Schrader finally concedes what she wouldn't for most of the season: she is no longer a guard.
"I'm a post player," the 5-foot-10, fifth-year senior said.
Schrader spent the summer working on her 3-point shot, but has attempted just one all season because she's spent much of her time this season in the paint banging against bigger players.
She is still officially listed as a guard, but that's a remnant of her role her first three seasons. The addition of top-recruit Skylar Diggins gave the Irish four of its top players at guard - one too many in coach Muffet McGraw's three-guard offense. So Schrader moved inside.
The move worked. Heading into the NCAA tournament, where the second-seeded Irish (27-5) open play at home Sunday against Cleveland State (19-13), Schrader is second on the team in scoring at 11 points a game and leads the team in rebounds at 6.8 a game.
"She's willing to do whatever it takes. She does the little things for us," McGraw said. "She's going to be physical and set good screens and go rebound. Some people call that the dirty work. She doesn't care about the numbers."
The only time the Irish lost this season, other than the three games against top-ranked Connecticut, was when Schrader missed games against St. John's and Georgetown with a sprained ankle. Teammates say Schrader is an emotional leader who gives the Irish confidence.
"Lindsay is not afraid of anybody. Lindsay is probably one of the most feisty people I've met," Diggins said. "Lindsay has a huge heart. She's undersized, but she gets in there with the biggest of them and the best of them."
Schrader frequently has an advantage offensively because she is often defended by an opposing guard. When she is covered by a forward, Schrader often uses her quickness as an advantage.
She can't explain why she is able to rebound so well against bigger players. Guard Melissa Lechlitner believes she knows why.
"She is so strong," Lechlitner said. "She has the mindset that I'm going to get every rebound and if I catch it on the block I'm scoring. She just has the attitude that she's going to get it done."
Schrader, who missed the 2006-07 season with a torn ACL, is willing to do whatever she can to help the Irish make it to the Final Four, which they last accomplished when they won the national championship in 2001. The Irish made it to the regional semifinal two years ago before losing to Tennessee.
"My final goal is if I make it to San Antonio," Schrader said. "Everything beyond there is a gift. I just want to make it to San Antonio. If I can do that, I would say I had a very successful year."