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Irish lose another to injury ahead of UConn matchup

Defeating UConn in women's basketball is tough enough at full strength, but Notre Dame will attempt to pull it off with just eight scholarship players.

The Irish lost Mikayla Vaughn to a knee injury this week, as she tore her ACL in practice on Tuesday. The freshman center had played in all six games before then, averaging eight points and four rebounds per game. She'll miss the remainder of the season.

Despite the emotion in practice, head coach Muffet McGraw said the team will move forward.

“We’re not going to change a lot," she said. "I think we’re going to be in great shape. The players are gonna all contribute. I think everybody’s really focused and ready. We went on and I thought we have a lot to overcome, so this team has handled adversity really well so far so I see no reason why they won’t continue to do well.”

Vaughn is the third Irish player to lose her season due to a knee injury, which is how the team found itself with only eight available scholarship players. Brianna Turner and Mychal Johnson were injured before the season.

However, the remaining players are trying to stay positive and focus on working towards the monster task of traveling to UConn shorthanded.

"We're hitting adversity right now," said guard Marina Mabrey. "It just makes us better, makes us tougher. We have to stay mentally strong."

But with such adversity, McGraw knows Sunday will be a difficult matchup.

“This is as good a team as they’ve had and they’ve had a lot of good teams," said McGraw. "This is one that they just have so many weapons, you can’t lay off anybody. I think everybody you play at different times during the year, there’s always one person you can double off of or maybe not worry about. This team has five people that can score the ball pretty much every possession.”

The game, which features No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 1 UConn, will tip at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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