ND's Loyd is a Jewell of an athlete - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

ND's Loyd is a Jewell of an athlete

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Since she came to campus, Jewell Loyd has given the Notre Dame offense a different dynamic.

"I think she's clearly the best athlete we've ever had in the program," said Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw.

The Irish are not afraid to show off the sophomore's athleticism with set alley-oop lay-up plays. Lately, her teammates have started to ask if she could do even more.

"Well we've been throw lobs, so it'd be cool if [Loyd] finally dunked it once," said freshman guard Lindsay Allen.

Is Allen implying the 5'10" Loyd could eventually dunk the ball in a game off a lob pass? McGraw seems to think it's a real possibility.

"I think [dunking would] be a goal for her," said McGraw. "She's been working out with our strength coach in the weight room to get her jumping a little bit more, but there's also controlling the ball. You know women's hands are generally a little bit smaller than guys to hold the ball when you get up that high, but I think she could do it."

Loyd credits her athleticism to good genetics and playing against boys from the time she started basketball. She added she also trains using jumpsoles, which players can use to increase their vertical jump.

According to Loyd and her teammates, she is consistently grabbing the rim in practice and has even dunked a tennis ball a few times. Clearly, the goal is to get a basketball over the rim though.

"It'd be awesome," said Loyd. "It's definitely something that I want to do if the time arises, but then again it's only two points."

Loyd might humbly understate the possibility of a women's basketball player under six foot tall dunking in a game. Her teammate Kayla McBride, who is just 5'11", however, says a Loyd dunk would be a historic moment.

"I think if anyone could do it [Loyd] can," said McBride. "It'd definitely be good for the women's game. It brings a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, and it could definitely start with Jewell."

Loyd's athleticism is clearly top notch for her size, but McGraw says that's not the only thing that makes her one of the top players in the country.

"She plays like a guy. She can elevate and get a shot. She's got such great skills. She can handle the ball, shoot the three, she can do it all," said McGraw.

Doing it all could eventually mean dunking the ball, but Loyd says she will wait until she has that skill down in practice behind closed doors before she tries it in a game.

That is probably a good idea, because she might get benched if she tries it and it does not work.

"I think she knows better than to try that," said McGraw, while laughing.

Loyd and Notre Dame will look to continue their quest at a NCAA National Championship this Saturday when they play Oklahoma State in the sweet sixteen at Purcell Pavilion.

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