May 27, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the second time in less than three weeks, Notre Dame has seen one of its women's basketball players selected for a USA Basketball squad, when incoming freshman forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) was chosen for the USA Basketball Under-18 National Team, it was announced late Monday night.
Turner, who has earned four gold medals with various USA Basketball teams in international competition during the past three summers, will be part of the United States squad that will compete in the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship Aug. 6-10 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"They had a lot of great forwards here," Turner said. "I just tried to play my game, run the floor. "I didn't know what the (selection) committee was going to look for this year. Every year it's something different."
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for Brianna," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "To make a USA Basketball team one time is a fantastic achievement, and for Brianna to have now made five different USA teams is pretty amazing. She's continuing to gain valuable experience with each of these USA Basketball teams and that should help make her transition to the college game a little bit smoother. We are all very excited to follow Brianna and the entire Under-18 Team when they go for the gold later this summer."
The 2014 USA Basketball U18 National Team will be led by South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, with Michigan's Kim Barnes Arico and Louisville's Jeff Walz serving as Staley's assistants. The trio helped oversee three days of trials at the USOTC, with the USA Junior National Team Committee then paring down the list of 29 camp participants to the final 12-player roster.
"We have a lot of strengths on this team," said Jim Foster, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach and chair of the USA Junior National Team Committee. "We have some returning players from international competition and a nice blend of size and athleticism. This is a team the committee feels can be very representative of USA Basketball and the success we've had in the past."
Back on May 11, Fighting Irish junior All-America guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) was named to the 2014 USA Basketball 3x3 National Team after her four-player squad won the USA 3x3 National Championship and qualified for the FIBA 3x3 World Championship that will take place June 5-8 in Moscow, Russia. Loyd will be wearing the Stars & Stripes for the second time, after earning a gold medal with Team USA at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.
Turner will be the most experienced player on the 2014 USA U18 National Team, having previously struck gold with USA Basketball teams in 2012 at the FIBA U17 World Championship (where she was a teammate of current Notre Dame sophomores Lindsay Allen and Taya Reimer) and the FIBA 3x3 World Championship, and then in 2013 at the FIBA U19 World Championship and the FIBA 3x3 World Championship. With Turner on the roster, those four USA Basketball teams posted a combined 32-2 record.
The 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship. Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.
Including Turner, Notre Dame now has had significant representation on the past five USA Basketball U18 National Teams, dating back to 2006, when current Fighting Irish associate head coach Carol Owens served as an assistant coach with Team USA. Two years later, she was the USA U18 head coach and piloted a squad led by future Notre Dame All-American Skylar Diggins ('13) to the gold. In 2010, another soon-to-be Fighting Irish All-American, Kayla McBride ('14), was part of the USA U18 gold medal-winning roster, and in 2012, current Notre Dame junior Michaela Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) helped her country take home the gold, with current Fighting Irish athletic trainer Anne Marquez serving in a similar role on that 2012 USA Basketball U18 squad.
Turner recently completed a stellar career at Manvel High School by leading that school to the 2014 Texas Class 5A state championship and being named the tournament Most Valuable Player. She went on to be named the 2014 Gatorade and USA Today National High School Player of the Year (and was a finalist for the Naismith and Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year awards), as well as the MVP of the McDonald's High School All-America Game after piling up 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while making the game-winning basket in the West Team's 80-78 win at the United Center in Chicago. In addition, she was a 2014 consensus prep All-American and was named Texas Miss Basketball by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC).
During her 152-game prep career, Turner averaged 21.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 3.1 steals and 3.0 assists per game, averaging a double-double in each of her final three seasons (she played her first two prep seasons at Houston's Westbury Christian School, helping that squad to the 2011 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 4A title before transferring to Manvel before the 2012-13 school year). She was a two-time high school All-America choice, as well as a three-time first-team all-state selection.
A LOT IN COMMON
The Notre Dame women's basketball program joined with Fighting Irish fans all around the world in supporting the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team as that squad played Duke Monday afternoon in the NCAA national championship game. Although the Fighting Irish came up just short, losing 11-9, it was an outstanding season for head coach Kevin Corrigan's crew.
The Notre Dame women's basketball and men's lacrosse teams had much in common on the road to their respective NCAA national championship game appearances. Just how much in common? Consider that both teams ...
... won ACC Tournament titles, the first postseason crowns won by Notre Dame in any sport during its inaugural season in the conference.
... won their NCAA Tournament round-of-16 games at home (women's basketball vs. Oklahoma State in a regional semifinal of 64-team event; men's lacrosse vs. Harvard in a first-round game of 18-team event).
... won their NCAA Tournament quarterfinal games against teams that featured gold as a primary color, had six letters in their school name and were led by the nation's top scorer (women's basketball vs. Baylor and Odyssey Sims (led in total points/second in points per game); men's lacrosse vs. Albany and Lyle Thompson (led in points per game)).
... advanced to the NCAA Final Four that was played in a city with nine letters and was played in a professional sports facility (women's basketball at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL's Nashville Predators; men's lacrosse at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens).
... competed in NCAA Final Four and national championship games that were broadcast on the ESPN family of networks and featured a play-by-play announcer with an Irish surname (women's basketball on ESPN with Dave O'Brien; men's lacrosse on ESPN2 with 1991 Notre Dame graduate Eamon McAnaney).
... defeated Maryland in their respective NCAA Final Four games, leading virtually wire-to-wire in both victories (actually, all three Fighting Irish teams that reached the Final Four in their sports defeated Maryland in the Final Four - men's soccer downed the Terrapins, 2-1 in the NCAA title match back in December to win that program's first national championship).
... faced the defending national champion in their NCAA title games (women's basketball vs. Connecticut; men's lacrosse vs. Duke).
... faced the NCAA Tournament's top overall seed in their NCAA title games.
... faced the same school in their NCAA title games that had defeated them in the previous year's NCAA Tournament (women's basketball in the national semifinals; men's lacrosse in the quarterfinals).
... faced an opponent in their NCAA title games that was coached by a man with exactly 12 letters in his name, including four in the first and eight in the last (women's basketball vs. Connecticut's Geno Auriemma; men's lacrosse vs. Duke's John Danowski).
... faced a team in their NCAA title games that featured blue as a primary color, yet it was both Notre Dame teams that wore their blue road jerseys in their respective championship contests.
... fell behind early in their NCAA title games, then made stirring comebacks but could never quite overcome their first-half deficits.
... were led in scoring this season by a sophomore second-team All-American (women's basketball's Jewell Loyd and men's lacrosse's Matt Kavanagh), and paced by a senior first-team All-America captain from Pennsylvania (women's basketball's Kayla McBride from Erie, Pa.; men's lacrosse's Stephen O'Hara from West Chester, Pa.).
... featured three All-America selections this season (women's basketball's Natalie Achonwa was a third-team pick, joining Loyd and McBride; men's lacrosse's Jack Near was an honorable mention choice, joining Kavanagh and O'Hara).
... have or will embark on European tours during the 2013-14 academic year (women's basketball visited London, Barcelona and Madrid last August before classes began; men's lacrosse is slated to spend nearly two weeks in Italy beginning later this week now that classes have ended). In fact, all three of Notre Dame's Final Four teams have taken or are taking foreign tours this academic year, with the reigning national champion men's soccer team currently in the midst of a three-week adventure in Zimbabwe.
... are coached by people who, with the pending retirements of track & field coach Joe Piane and men's swimming coach Tim Welsh, now are the two longest-tenured active coaches at Notre Dame (women's basketball's Muffet McGraw just finished her 27th season under the Golden Dome; men's lacrosse's Kevin Corrigan wrapped up his 26th season). As an aside, McGraw was one of the final hires made by Corrigan's father, Gene, in his role as Notre Dame athletics director (1981-87) before the elder Corrigan departed to serve as ACC commissioner (1987-97).
... feature coaching staffs led by a top assistant with exactly 10 letters in his/her name -- five in the first, first in the last (women's basketball's Carol Owens; men's lacrosse's Gerry Byrne) -- and also have at least one former player now serving as an assistant coach (women's basketball has two with Beth Cunningham and Niele Ivey; men's lacrosse has Matt Karweck).
... play their games in facilities that were built/renovated prior to the 2009-10 academic year (women's basketball at Purcell Pavilion; men's lacrosse at Arlotta Stadium), and named after generous donors who pledged the lead gifts for the respective facilities and who are Notre Dame graduates with exactly seven letters in their last names (Philip J. Purcell III, Class of 1964; John Arlotta, Class of 1971).
ANOTHER COACHING AWARD FOR McGRAW
Just weeks after leading Notre Dame to a 37-1 record and its fourth consecutive NCAA Women's Final Four appearance, as well as its third NCAA national championship game berth in four years, Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw has received another national honor. On May 19, she was chosen as the 2014 recipient of the C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award by the United States Sports Academy (USSA), the nation's largest graduate school for sport education, based in Daphne, Ala.
The C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award, named for the veteran Rutgers University head coach, has been presented since 2001 to a woman who has experienced outstanding achievement as a coach for female teams. This person should exhibit a high standard of propriety, imagination, and innovation as a character-builder in the tradition of great teacher-coaches.
Previous recipients of the C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award include Sue Enquist (former UCLA softball coach), Brenda Frese (Maryland women's basketball coach), Pia Sundhage (former U.S. Women's National Soccer Team coach), Kim Mulkey (Baylor women's basketball coach), and 2013 recipient Sylvia Hatchell (head women's basketball coach at North Carolina).
McGRAW SPEAKS IN GREEN BAY
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw was in Green Bay, Wis., from May 19-21, serving as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Sport and Society in America conference, co-hosted by St. Norbert College and the National Football League's Green Bay Packers. The theme of this year's conference was "Women in Sports," and McGraw's speech (entitled "Women In Leadership") on the second night, along with a presentation by longtime USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, was one of the largest-attended and most popular events at the conference.
McGraw's prepared remarks and an extended question-and-answer session that followed, are available to watch in their entirety on the following embedded video (she begins speaking at approximately 13:00):
PINK ZONE RECAP
Continuing its wildly-successful fund-raising efforts through the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and its Play4Kay (formerly Pink Zone) cancer initiative, Notre Dame once again reached six figures in donation totals for 2013-14, collecting $112,200 in funds to help support research to find a cure for numerous cancers. That total not only ranks Notre Dame among the top NCAA Division I schools in the nation in terms of fund-raising dollars for the sixth consecutive year, but it now brings the program's total collection amount in that time to nearly $750,000.
This year's Notre Dame Pink Zone drive was supported in several ways, including online donations, pledges for every three-pointer the Fighting Irish made (the team made a school-record 190 treys in 2013-14), purchases of special Pink Zone merchandise including t-shirts, headbands and tote bags, and the annual Notre Dame Spin-A-Thon (co-sponsored by Knollwood Country Club, the Notre Dame College of Science and Notre Dame RecSports), where participants ride stationary bikes in a relay format for a portion of the 24-hour event and collect pledges for time or miles ridden.
Donations from this year's Pink Zone initiative are divided between the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and several local charities in the South Bend area, including The Foundation of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center for Secret Sisters Society, Young Survivors and Women's Task Force. The Pink Zone donations help further an educational program that promotes early detection, supportive care, and survivorship. Along with these efforts, donations provide free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings for those who financially qualify.
What's more, in 2013-14, the Notre Dame women's basketball program and the Pink Zone initiative joined in partnership with Riverbend Cancer Services. This local facility offers a warm, welcoming place filled with helpful people and programs for cancer survivors and families in the South Bend community who are living with a cancer diagnosis.
For more information on Notre Dame's Pink Zone initiative, please visit its official web page at UND.com/pinkzone.
SEASON RETROSPECTIVE DIGITAL MAGAZINE
Fans can still take advantage of the opportunity to download the exclusive 2013-14 Notre Dame Women's Basketball Digital Magazine, presented by Boling Vision Center.
The magazine is available for iPad users exclusively through the Notre Dame athletics digital publications app, which can be downloaded free of charge on the iTunes Store (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD).
After downloading the app, fans should activate it and look for the "women's basketball" folio (the first one listed in the app) and download the folio.
Once the download is complete, fans will have access to this special collectors' edition publication that celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of the 2013-14 Fighting Irish squad that posted a 37-1 record, including a perfect 19-0 record in its inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference on the way to ACC regular season and tournament titles. Notre Dame's 37-game winning streak also was the longest by any Fighting Irish program in a team-only sport since at least World War II and it culminated with Notre Dame's fourth consecutive NCAA Women's Final Four appearance and its third national championship game berth in four years.
The magazine includes recaps and breakdowns of all 38 Fighting Irish games during the 2013-14 season, as well as video highlights and photo galleries for many contests, including each of the team's postseason games. What's more, numerous video and print features provide a superb complement to this year's historic ACC Championship and NCAA national finalist runs, while season statistics, polls and updated biographical information on all Notre Dame players round out the magazine's extensive coverage.
This project represents the latest collaboration between Notre Dame Athletic Media Relations, Notre Dame Marketing Communications and Fighting Irish Digital Media (FIDM), following similar successful efforts with the launch of the 2013 Notre Dame Football Gameday app, and a commemorative yearbook heralding the success of the 2013 Fighting Irish men's soccer team that captured its first NCAA national championship.
With the end of the academic year comes the start of camp season, and in what has become a recurring theme for the past several years, the Notre Dame women's basketball camps are sold out. More than 1,000 campers have signed up for one of five different camps during the month of June -- Team Camp (Session I from June 13-15; Session II from June 28-30), Individual Skills Camp (June 19-21), Ultimate Guard Camp (June 21-23) and Co-Ed Day Camp (June 24-27). Due to facility limitations between the double-domed Joyce Center and other campus facilities, camp enrollments have been capped, but wait lists exist for each camp.
For more information on the 2014 Notre Dame women's basketball camps, visit the official Notre Dame Sports Camps web site at youthsports.nd.edu, call the Sports Camps office at (574) 631-8788 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIGHTING IRISH IN THE WNBA
Two recent Notre Dame graduates have seen extensive action during the first two weeks of the 2014 WNBA season.
Skylar Diggins ('13) has started both games for the Tulsa Shock thus far, averaging 20.5 points (fifth in the WNBA), 7.0 assists (third in the WNBA), 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals (eighth in the WNBA) per game despite Tulsa dropping a pair of close decisions at San Antonio (80-76) and at home to defending WNBA champion Minnesota (94-93).
Kayla McBride ('14) also has started every game this season, cracking the lineup for the San Antonio Stars' first four contests (they are 2-2). McBride is averaging 8.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, ranking sixth among WNBA rookies in scoring.
Diggins and McBride will square off for the second time in the regular season at 8 p.m. (ET) Wednesday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, where the Stars pulled out their first win over Tulsa back on May 17. Wednesday's game can be seen live online through the league's multimedia platform, WNBA LiveAccess ($14.99 for a season membership).
Devereaux Peters ('11) remains sidelined for the Minnesota Lynx following preseason arthroscopic knee surgery. Although she has been cleared to resume some drills on a limited basis, she still is expected to be out for another 2-3 weeks.
Natalie Achonwa ('14), who was selected by the Indiana Fever in the first round of the 2014 WNBA Draft, is sitting out this season while recovering from successful surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee suffered on March 31 in Notre Dame's NCAA regional final (Elite Eight) win over Baylor at Purcell Pavilion. Achonwa is continuing to rehabilitate from her surgery, with trainers in both South Bend and Indianapolis working cooperatively to manage her recovery.
FOLLOWING THE FIGHTING IRISH
For more information on the Notre Dame women's basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's basketball Twitter pages (@ndwbbsid or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director