No Skylar, no problem for the 2013-14 ND women's basketball team - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

No Skylar, no problem for the 2013-14 ND women's basketball team


Alright lets get the obvious out of the way: Skylar Diggins is not on the Notre Dame women's basketball team anymore and she is not coming back. Still things are not ho-hum over at Purcell Pavilion these days.

"We're a totally different team and we have a totally different arsenal," said senior forward Natalie Achonwa. "We have some great players returning, some great freshman coming in, and we have so much to do this year. We call ourselves the "Lucky 13" because we go so deep. Anyone can go on any day."

The is heading into this season with lots of confidence. The Irish bring back four of their top five scorers and all five of their best rebounders from last season. With experience and depth, they believe they are ready to make another run at the Final Four.

"The goals don't change," said senior guard Kayla McBride. "I think we've got a new team, new conference, but the goals are still the same and I think everybody in this arena feels the same."

Head Coach Muffet McGraw has led the Irish to three consecutive Final Fours. While her players are confident this year, she says they will have to keep pushing to keep up the success.

"I think anything can happen," said McGraw. "I think if you play great defense and you rebound you have a really good chance at winning a lot of games."

Part of the reason Notre Dame is not worried too much about Diggins's departure is because they are brining in a top five recruiting class. The group is led by two McDonald's All-Americans who are expected to make an immediate impact.

Point guard Lindsay Allen was a four-star recruit who seems to have already gained the respect of her teammates. Allen has a chance to fill Diggins's spot in the starting line-up.

"I'm just trying to work as hard as I can," said Allen. We can accomplish some pretty amazing things this year."

The other All-American is Fishers, IN product Taya Reimer. Reimer is a do-it-all forward who won National Player of the Year award honors last year.

"I went over my goals with coach and I think we're both pretty clear on what my role is," said Reimer. "I'm just going to focus on rebounding, playing defense, and contributing however I can. Just work hard to do whatever I can for the team."

The Irish have a few more weeks of practice before their first exhibition game of the season against California-Pennsylvania on October 30.

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