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    2011-12 Media Day - Irish Players

    FIGHTING IRISH
    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Oct. 12, 2011

    Skylar Diggins • Junior • Guard

    On how the team deals with outside factors...
    "We can't focus on the outside stuff. The peripheral stuff has to be nipped in the bud when we go on the court. We have to focus on each other. I think the reason why we were so good last year was because not only our bonds on the court, but off the court strengthened our on-court bond. This team knows each other well. I feel like we know each other inside and out so that definitely is going to show on the court."

    On Becca Bruszewski graduating and how her leadership can be replaced...
    "Becca was a great leader and she was the poster child for the blue collar player. She did a lot of the intangible things that are hard to measure until she is gone. So now without her presence we notice that. We just need people to step up and that is going to be a big job for us. We have to step and do the things that she did. She is going to be a hard player to replace because she was a workhorse, a beast, a bruiser. So we are definitely going to miss her, but the upperclassmen need to step up and that is going to start with me, Devereaux (Peters) and Natalie (Novosel)."

    On Twitter and social media...
    "I'm just trying to remain myself. I didn't get a Twitter (account) for notoriety. I got it to keep in touch with friends and now that I have more fans, I feel like it serves as a direct connection between my fans and I. You know, I am not able to talk to everyone, but I can choose who I can respond to."

    On the possibility of the team losing its edge because it has received so many preseason accolades...
    "I think that when me, Devereaux (Peters), and Natalie (Novosel) went to play USA ball in China that we brought back with us so much intensity. It gave us incentive because there was no way we were losing a gold medal. So I think we want to bring that feeling of winning a gold medal and sharing it with our teammates here. I think us being able to play in the games made us more eager to get started here and I think some of that intensity is showing early. We are right there. It brings me back to my freshman year of high school (at South Bend Washington) when we lost to Castle (High School) in the championship and I said we will be back next year. I feel the same way here."

     

     

    On if Notre Dame has lived up to everything she thought it would be...
    "Absolutely, and more. People ask me if I am nervous or feel more pressure being from South Bend, but I think I feel more comfortable because I get to play in front of family, friends and familiar faces. I feel like I know everybody in South Bend so it is great being home and having my family close enough to go home if I need a break, but at the same time they allow me to grow and develop into an adult and have the college experience. It is nice having them close to experience it all with me."

    Kayla McBride • Sophomore • Guard

    On returning after a tough first year to help the team this season...
    "I have a huge support system. I have my coaches, I have my family, I have all of these people around me; Notre Dame in general. That was a good background I had. I could lean on them whenever things like that did happen. It was a life lesson for me. What I took away from it was just personal things, like personal growth. It's really the only way to look at it."

    On how tough it was to watch the team play and not be able to contribute last year...
    "This is probably the hardest part; not being able to help my team and missing the game. I would try and be vocal on the court. I would try and be vocal on the sidelines as much as I could. But it all goes back to this mental toughness. I learned so much just from sitting on the sideline. I learned about what Coach (McGraw) wants and what Coach sees on the court and seeing a completely different aspect."

    On what Coach McGraw's message was to her after learning she would not be able to play last year...
    "Coach and I talked right after it happened and she said you need to take this time to get better. For me that clicked something that it was put on my shoulders. I had to take care of the business that I had to take care of and make sure I was still getting my conditioning in. It was the little things I had to make sure I was doing on the court and in the classroom so I could get back and help my team."

    On how excited she is to get back in there...
    "You have no idea. I cannot wait. I have been waiting for this for a really long time. It's kind of like I am back where I started. You know, I remember media day last year and I cannot wait. I am so ready to get back out there."

    Devereaux Peters • Fifth-Year Senior • Forward

    On the three incoming freshman...
    "They have big time potential to do some pretty great things. They work really hard. Obviously they were a bit intimidated coming in as freshmen after the year we had last year, but they have been working extremely hard and have been doing really good things in all aspects of their game."

    On her leadership role this season...
    "Well I feel as though I can finally have a say in things now that I've actually played an entire season, so I've been more vocal. (Coach McGraw) talked to me about talking a bit more this season since I have a bit more experience than any of the other post players, so I've tried to make that a role of mine."

    On what her goal is for this season...
    "That's easy - National Championship. We want to win it all this year. We had a great season last year, but we want to close it out this time."

    On the expectations for the team this year...
    "We like having these expectations. I think we showed at the end of the year last year that we can handle expectations so we enjoy it. It is definitely better than having zero expectations."

    On all of the marquee games on the schedule this year...
    "Those are the games that you live for when you play college basketball. You want to play the big games on the big stage, especially coming off of the season we had last year. It is just going to be really fun playing those big games against big time teams."

    Natalie Novosel • Senior • Guard

    On the team going into the season with a target on its back...
    "It's very exciting. There is definitely some anxiety right now because I don't think we are ready yet, but that will take care of itself in practice. We are going to work hard and iron out everything, and make sure that we are ready for the season."

    On if the team has talked about the possibility of winning a championship...
    "We definitely have, and we are all very motivated to make that happen. It is going to take all of us (giving) a complete team effort every day."

    On the freshman class...
    "Markisha Wright will definitely contribute, and be a really big help to us this year. She has a lot of confidence, which is something you don't usually see in a freshman. (Madison Cable) on the wing is learning at a very fast pace, but she still has a lot to learn and she needs to build up her strength a little bit more. I think she'll be a good asset for us. Whitney (Holloway) is a really energetic point guard who should be able to come in here and really help our guard depth."

    On the mood of the team heading into fall practice...
    "I think it is a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I just don't feel as though we are ready yet. We have a lot of pressure on our backs that we need to get ready for. We are going to need every practice to prepare for this season since we will be a targeted team. We need to embrace the pressure though because it is much better than not being expected to win."

    Brittany Mallory • Fifth-Year Senior • Guard

    On how they are going to share the basketball with all the offensive weapons they have...
    "None of us are selfish. Whoever is hot on a given day we are going to get them the ball. Everyone is willing to share. We all want to win, and you cannot win when you play selfish basketball."

    On the team's mentality after coming so close to winning it all last season...
    "I think we definitely have a big chip on our shoulder. Obviously our main goal was to win the national championship, and we didn't achieve that goal. We were in the game, but we didn't win it. We are doing everything we can to get back to the championship game and take it home with us this year."

    On how Skylar handles the spotlight...
    "I can't even tell that she is a big time name in college basketball. She is such a down-to-earth person. She is such a good person and such a good team player because she is always worried about the team, and what we are doing to improve our game. To be a great point guard you have to be unselfish, and that is her."

    On how the community has embraced the team after all of their success...
    "They have been great. Our fans, and the community in general, have been really supportive. Every time we go out for lunch, no matter where we go, we always have someone come up to us and say 'good job' or want to take a picture with us, I can definitely tell they have taken an interest in our team and in Irish basketball as a whole."

    On adjustments the team has to make from last year...
    "We lost Becca (Bruszewski), who was obviously a great post player for us so we need to find someone to fill that spot whether it is Natalie Achonwa or Kayla McBride coming back. It is going to be a different look. It just depends on what works for us game by game."

    Natalie Achonwa • Sophomore • Forward

    On embracing her new role on the team this season...
    "We lost a great player last year when we lost Becca (Bruszewski). She really brought the grit and the grind to our team so I really need to add some of that to our team and get stronger down on the inside. It is going to be a grind of a season and I need to make sure I'm ready for that."

    On how much her tournament play last season helped her...
    "My dad always told me that I perform at my best when the pressure is at its highest. During the tournament last year it really gave me a chance to go in there and show what I can do when the pressure is on. I need to do that more consistently this year."

    On how much different she feels being a sophomore instead of a freshman...
    "As much as you think high school prepares you for college basketball, it really doesn't prepare you at all. It is a completely different ball game coming from high school to college. So with a year behind me now I feel like I'm more prepared for college basketball because I know what is expected of me and I can just go out there and get it done instead of worrying if I'm doing things right."

    Markisha Wright • Freshman • Forward

    On what the biggest difference is, so far, between high school and college ball...
    "The big difference that I've seen is strength. It's a lot faster and a lot more competitive. "

    On what her main strength that she will bring to the Irish...
    "Power. I think I bring that."

    On how quickly herself and the fellow freshmen were welcomed to the team...
    "It didn't take them very long. Pretty much as soon as I got here I felt like they embraced me."

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