The Irish women's basketball team defeated Duke on Sunday 69-53 in Greensboro to capture the ACC Tournament Championship. Notre Dame now heads into the NCAA Tournament with a 32-0 record.
The big dance doesn't start until March 22nd so the Irish will have nearly two weeks off before playing their next game. They also won't know until Monday who they are even playing so coach Muffet McGraw is giving her team the week off to re-charge.
On Monday, our own Angelo Di Carlo talked 1-on-1 with Coach McGraw about the ACC Championship, an undefeated season, her team's break before the NCAA Tournament and the big dance itself.
Angelo: ACC Tournament Champions. How does that feel?
Muffet: It feels great. It's just a remarkable achievement for this team. To go in with an undefeated regular season was a tremendous accomplishment, but to keep going and to defeat a team three times, that was pretty phenomenal.
Angelo: You have talked all year that you think Kayla McBride is the nation's best player, but I'm wondering is she definitely the best player on your team? Jewell Loyd with the performance she put on Sunday--just remarkable to become the All-Tourney MVP.
Muffet: It was amazing. We were cheering on the bench, watching the amazing shot she put in (Loyd finishing off an alley oop pass from Lindsay Allen for a layup). I thought it should be the SportsCenter #1 play.
Angelo: I noticed on the broadcast you had trouble cutting down the net?
Muffet: (big laughter)
Angelo: You are well experienced with cutting down nets. How did you struggle? Does the ACC have a new type of net that you couldn't handle?
Muffet: I think it was my fear of heights. I was afraid to get all the way to the top of the stand--just trying to reach out from afar and I grabbed the wrong strand.
Angelo: Looking at the accomplishments of this team: ACC regular season champions, ACC Tournament Champions, 32-0 record. What's the best acheivement out of those three?
Muffet: I'm not sure but I think the regular season because its about the whole body of work--all season long. We just came in every day, ready to go, ready to practice, ready to get better. This team just never quits. Great leadership--so many good things.
Angelo: You have a long break here as there always is. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Muffet: I think it's a good thing. We're tired. We didn't get a break since December. We didn't have a bye, we played Tennessee over the bye weekend. So for us, this is finally the chance for the girls to relax. It will be great for them to go to the beach, find some friends, enjoy their families. We're off until Saturday, so they have the whole week. It's spring break here and you don't want to be in the weather here, so everyone got to go somewhere nice.
Angelo: How much are you looking forward to the NCAA Tournament?
Muffet: I'm excited. I think I'm anxious. I kind of wish it was next week so I didn't have two weeks to stew about who we are playing and what we have to do to win.