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 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.
ANOTHER COACHING AWARD FOR McGRAW
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
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):
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
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.
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 email@example.com.
FIGHTING IRISH IN THE WNBA
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
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director