Irish celebrate season, seniors at awards banquet
Just nine days after losing in the national championship game, the Notre Dame women's basketball team gathered one final time at Purcell Pavilion to celebrate the 2018-19 season.
Every player on the team was in attendance, including the five starters who were drafted to the WNBA on Wednesday, April 10th.
600 fans showed up, lining the hallways of Purcell waiting to get to meet their favorite players and get some autographs. They all showed up to celebrate this team one more time - a team that reached the national championship game for the second straight year.
The night was also a sendoff for the senior class - arguably the greatest class not just in Notre Dame history, but in the history of college basketball.
It was a night to look back and reminiscence, and Irish coaches and players reflected on what these years at Notre Dame have meant to them.
"It's kind of an emotional night losing these seniors," Irish women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw said. "That is just such a tough group with all they've done for me and the program. I'm going to miss them so much, in so many ways outside the court."
"It's just a special place," Irish senior guard Arike Ogunbowale said. "Not many people get to experience a college experience like I've done, and the rest of the seniors have done for four years, so it's definitely a special place."
"It's really exciting," Irish senior forward Brianna Turner said. "It's been a long five years and just to have all the accomplishments and come to this night, this is finally our senior night, and I know a lot of us are leaving in the next couple of weeks, so this is probably the last time we're all going to be together as a team."
Turner and former junior guard Jackie Young were named team co-MVPs.
Young left school early and was drafted #1 overall by the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Draft. Ogunbowale was drafted fifth overall by the Dallas Wings, and Turner went 11th to the Atlanta Dream, before being traded to the Phoenix Mercury.
In the second round, former Irish forward Jessica Shepard was drafted #16 to the Minnesota Lynx, and a few picks later, the Los Angeles Sparks tabbed former Irish guard Marina Mabrey at #19.
That marks the first time in college basketball history that an entire starting lineup was drafted in the first 20 selections of the draft.