New pieces a challenge for McGraw and women's basketball team to start '17

Published: Oct. 12, 2017 at 5:40 PM EDT
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The Notre Dame women's basketball team met with the media Thursday night as the season inches closer.

For the Irish, a few new pieces will be on the floor in 2017, mainly at the point guard position after the graduation of Lindsay Allen

Another key void the Irish will need to fill is down low with Defensive All-American Brianna Turner, who will sit out this year to rehab her knee she injured in the second round of the tournament last season.

This means there are many new pieces will be added to the lineup, with a mix of transfer students and freshmen.

One of those pieces will be transfer point guard Lili Thompson, who sat out last year after transferring from Stanford.

"I think now we're starting to see how rusty we look because there's somebody new at the helm and trying to out those pieces together," said head coach Muffet McGraw.

It's been really challenging. It's kind of fun because it's a whole new puzzle for me to put together so I'm looking forward to that."

Returning starters include senior Kat Westbeld and juniors Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey.

Westbeld has been limited throughout the majority of the summer after having surgery on her ankle this past April.

She is still at least three weeks away from returning but is still excited for another year to take the floor.

"It's exciting for every season going in, especially it being my last year and doing whatever I can off the court, on the court helping every body out," said Westbeld. "[There are] six new people coming in this year so it's a lot of learning, a lot of patience so helping everyone out wherever I can, as much as I can."

Notre Dame is coming off another tough loss in last year's NCAA Tournament, falling to Stanford 76-75 in the Elite Eight.

The Irish will have their exhibition game at Purcell Pavilion Saturday, Nov. 1st at 7pm.

The team will open its regular season Saturday Nov. 11th at 1pm against Mount St. Mary's