The undefeated Irish women's basketball team may have two freshmen starting in Sunday's Final Four, but this team couldn't be more experienced when it comes to big game situations.
Notre Dame is in the Final Four for the 4th straight season and will face Maryland at 6:30 Sunday in Nashville with a spot in the national championship game on the line.
"I’m trying to have a lot more fun with it," says Irish senior Kayla McBride who is making her 4th and final trip to the Final Four. "I feel like, even though it is my last one, I don’t want to let it just slip away. I stress myself out thinking about basketball. I want to have fun. It’s the last one, so yeah of course I’m thinking about the game and I wanna win a national championship, but I’m also trying to have fun with it too."
With Natalie Achonwa out with a torn ACL, Ariel Braker is the only other senior starter for Notre Dame. So does this feel different for her at the final four for the last time?
"I don’t think it’s different," Braker said Saturday before the Irish practiced at Bridgestone Arena. "Everything feels the same so far. I’m just kind of like living in the moment right now."
While this is the last hurrah for the seniors and the first journey for the freshmen, the one constant is coach Muffet McGraw.
"This is probably the calmest I’ve ever been," said McGraw who is entering her 6th Final Four in her career and 4th straight. "I think the first couple times you’re just so excited to be there. And this time, I know we have a job to do., but we’re gonna enjoy it."
McGraw was named the Associated Press National Coach of the Year for the 2nd consecutive season on Saturday for the leading the Irish to an undefeated season.