Despite injures, Notre Dame's women take on UConn in Final Four
The Notre Dame women's basketball team's run to the Final Four has been difficult because of the number of injuries players have sustained this season. Despite the injuries, the team has persevered.
By January, the Irish were down to 7 scholarship players and had to bring in 3 walk-ons just so they could practice 5-on-5.
Brianna Turner, Mychal Johnson, and Mikayla Vaughn are out with ACL injuries to their left knees. Lili Thompson is out with an injury to her right knee.
Other injuries include Jackie Young's broken nose, Jessica Shepard's ankle, Marina Mabrey's hand and Kat Westbeld's ankle.
Most teams would have crumbled, but not this one.
Head Coach Muffet McGraw's Irish continue to fight and find ways to win.
Led by Arike Ogunbowale who is averaging 20 points and 5 rebounds per game.
Shepard has also been key by averaging 15 points and 8 boards.
Muffet was just named Coach of the Year.
When we spoke with her earlier this season, she said it's the team that deserves all the credit.
"This has been unprecedented. Three ACLs in six months. It's been really difficult to get past it, especially the last one. You just feel like there's something out there that doesn't want us to be successful. So, to overcome the hurdles that we've had to, the mental toughness we've needed to handle this adversity and to see them every day, looking at them knowing they can't be out there with us. But it hasn't changed our focus, it hasn't changed our goals. We are still competing for a national championship, that's what we want, that's our goal," Coach McGraw said. "It's been a learning experience to see who's handling it the best. Really I think they're handling it better than I am because it's been really tough for me. I think we're helping each other get through it, we certainly need it."
Even then, the goal is a national championship, the injuries were never an excuse to give up.
Friday night's game will be the 7th time Notre Dame and UConn have played each other in the Final Four.