Anaya Peoples finds her role

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - Notre Dame women's basketball freshman guard Anaya Peoples is finding her role on the team.

Heading into this season, many thought, including head coach Muffet McGraw, that Peoples would be the team's lead point guard.

But Peoples has shown she's much more powerful driving to the rim.

Peoples is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds a game for the Irish. That's second on the team.

"Honestly, just my coaches and teammates believing in me," Peoples said. "When they believe in me, it gives me confidence in myself. When you have people out there saying, "C'mon Anaya, get this rebound do it for us!" That's very inspiring. I wanna do it for them. It's bigger than me so just having them behind me pushes me."

She earned the ACC Rookie of Week earlier this month after a strong performance in the Cancun challenge.

Now, as conference play is about to begin, the Irish are going to need Peoples more than ever.

"She's just too good around the basket," McGraw said, "I don't want to do anything that's going to take her away from her ability to score around the basket and drive the ball. Playing the point is not the spot for that. It allows her to just kind of play freely without having to think for everybody else. We want to get her the ball. We don't want her to have to deliver the ball."

The Fighting Irish are back in action Sunday against Clemson to open up ACC play at 4.

The Irish hope to have to big playmakers back on the court for Sunday's matchup.

Guard Marta Sniezek is expected to be back after missing last week's exhibition game dealing with plantar fasciitis.

McGraw also hopes to have Mikayla Vaughn back for the first time since the season opener. .

Vaughn suffered a right knee sprain against Fordham.