For the Notre Dame senior class the National Championship game will be the last one they play in an Irish uniform. For Ariel Braker it will be the last game she ever plays.
The 6-1 forward has been battling knee injuries her entire career at Notre Dame. She tore her ACL, the same injury that has fellow senior Natalie Achonwa sidelined, back in high school and hasn't been able to get back to full strength. She has also had arthroscopic surgery on both knees since. She says that Tuesday night's title game will be her last.
"Oh I will definitely be done with basketball after this," Braker said. "I mean obviously it is worth it. I mean we have made it to the Final Four four years so obviously I don't mind. But I mean I just don't have legs left."
Her teammates have seen her battle all season long and appreciate the sacrifices she has made for her team.
"Ariel is an old woman," Senior guard Kayla McBride said with a laugh. "I appreciate the fight in her. I think she has been through a lot with her knees and even just her confidence in her freshman and sophomore year. To be where she is now I couldn't be more proud of her. She is probably my best friend on the team so to have her go through what she went through and be where she is now, it just says a lot about her character."
Braker doesn't want any one to feel bad for her either. She says this is what she wants and has enjoyed her run with Notre Dame.
"Obviously I am going to miss playing but I am not going to just keep tearing apart my body. So I will be happy to watch."