How Good Is Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner?


The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball program has had their share of the so-called “face of the program”. It seems everyone wants to identify with that one player, that name that everyone will know. Most recently it was Skylar Diggins. Under coach Muffet McGraw, the Irish have been anything but a one-player team, showing unselfishness in all of their four Final Four trips. Freshman Brianna Turner will fall right in with the “McGraw way”, but it’s hard to not notice how she’s becoming that face.

With teammate Jewel Loyd a preseason All-American, Turner has continued to turn heads, winning two consecutive ACC Freshman of the Week awards. It had been six years since the last time a Notre Dame player had earned that, previously as a member of the Big East (Kellie Watson, 2008). Turner got it out-of-the-way quickly in her first two weeks.

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Turner averaged 16.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in three Fighting Irish wins. On the season she’s averaging 16.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and is shooting .678 from the field. The former Gatorade Player of the Year is turning out to be just as good as advertised.

The 6-foot-3 Turner continues to improve each week, and even with some of her struggles, coach McGraw sees what her potential is.

"“Each day, we’re seeing more and more of what (Brianna) is capable of,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “She is growing and developing with every practice and every game, not trying to do too much but just stay within herself and work hard to get better.”"

Watching Turner dominate the inside with fellow post partner Taya Reimer is encouraging as the Irish have been more “guard oriented” over the past few years, not to take away from the job players like Natalie Achonwa and Ariel Braker did last year. The duo has simply dominated the glass on both sides of the ball, and even when shooters like Loyd and Michaela Mabrey aren’t on point, they’ve cleaned it up and led the Irish to the 6-0 start, and a N0. 2 AP ranking and a No. 1 in the Coaches poll.

In two weeks, Turner has set the bar very high for herself. But there’s no reason to believe there will be any drop-off from her game. Coach McGraw and assistant Niele Ivey continue to restock with top recruits, and Turner is another in that line that will be fun to watch in South Bend for the next four years.