NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team never wavers when asked to explain the success of freshman point guard Lindsay Allen.
Her uncommon poise and composure, teammates say, are beyond her years.
It is why the veterans wasted no time worrying over how Allen would perform in Tuesday’s NCAA championship game against fellow unbeaten Connecticut, which defeated the Irish 79-58.
Allen scored a game-high 28 points as a senior at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., in a 67-66 win in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game.
Allen leaned on that experience the night before the biggest game of her life.
It’s just that experience of being in a championship, Allen said. In high school, I went to four straight title games. (I learned) the focus that you need to have.
Notre Dame senior forward Ariel Braker said she would not continue playing basketball now that her college career is complete. Her body has taken a pounding over the last four years.
It’s been tough, Braker said. It’s been worth it going to the Final Fours all these years. I don’t have legs left.
Associate head coach Carol Owens had been reminding Braker throughout the NCAA tournament how many games she had remaining.
Then on Tuesday, Owens delivered the final countdown: 40 minutes.
It is bittersweet, Braker said. I will miss playing, but I won’t be tearing apart my body. I will have fun watching.
Irish guard Michaela Mabrey was happy to have her father, Roy, in the stands at Bridgestone Arena.
Mabrey just wasn’t sure he was able to sleep Monday night waiting for the game.
His daughter, on the other hand, never worried about getting the necessary shut-eye.
I can sleep pretty well no matter what, the New Jersey native said.
I need my sleep.