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Irish Insights


Notre Dame women's basketball team gets new look

SOUTH BEND – The Notre Dame women's basketball team will have a new different look then the one that went a school best 35-2 and reached the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last season.

And it has less to do with the graduation of star point guard Skylar Diggins then one might think.

While Diggins will be missed, the Irish will look different because they are bigger.

"We have six post players," coach Muffet McGraw said at the team's media day Tuesday. "(Associated heed coach) Carroll (Owens) is beside herself with glee down there, she doesn't know what to do. We actually will have trouble getting them all in the game. We are used to playing four guards, and it is a lineup we've really liked. Now to try to get all six of them in, even at practices, has been kind of challenging.

"I'm excited. I think (6-foot-3 freshman) Taya Reimer is going to contribute a lot. I think she's going to give us some great minutes. Of course, (6-3 senior) Natalie (Achonwa) and (6-2 junior) Markisha (Wright) and (6-1 senior) Ariel (Baker), we have a lot of veterans coming back. We got (6-3 freshman) Kristina Nelson, who is really coming off surgery and really just getting into the swing of things now, and (6-4 freshman) Diamond Thompson, I think those two working on getting in shape."

Achonwa, who led the team in rebounds with 9.5 per game last year, said she is excited about having the help down low.

"It's great because we'll have that post presence that since I've been here Notre Dame has never had," Achonwa said. "To have that size as well as the rebounding ability will change our game tremendously."

McGraw said the Irish could still use the four-guard lineup they have utilized recently in certain game situations, but she also wants to take advantage of the team's newfound height.

"It allows us to change defensively, to do some different things, maybe press in different ways, maybe play more zone because of our size, certainly, that inside presence," McGraw said. "The Princeton offense is more of a perimeter guard oriented type of offense, but with these guys inside, we are looking to put in some other things so we can really take advantage of our size inside."