It was a heck of an April for Notre Dame Women’s Basketball coach Muffet McGraw
I must admit, I don’t watch much women’s college basketball. In fact, that might even be an overstatement. The first time I turned on a woman’s basketball game this season was when I saw that the Notre Dame women’s basketball team might possibly knock off mighty UConn in the Final Four.
So when the site administrator for SlapTheSign.com asked me if I could do a write-up on the commitment of Samantha Brunelle — the No. 1 rated female prep player in the class of 2019 — I was a bit hesitant. The last thing I wanted to do is make a damn fool of myself.
Then I started to watch Ms. Brunelle play basketball.
To say that she is the proud owner of a well rounded game would be an understatement. Watching the highlights of her 49 point performance from this past January showed her to be comfortable scoring from all three levels.
I then proceeded to watch the entire game film.
At 6’2, Brunelle has the ability to play in the paint, displaying an effective back to the basket game, using a pretty nifty (and legit) up and under move early in the game. It is her perimeter ability however, that really stands out. Her shot does not have the “load up” motion or the “push shot” that you sometimes see in the women’s game. She has the strength and ability to shoot the ball from up high. This allows her to get the ball away faster when she does decide to pull the trigger. Combine that ability with her height and you have a jumper that is incredibly difficult to not just block, but to defend in general.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, she also has some handles in the open court and is an intuitive defender. At one point during her 49 point performance, she helps off of her defensive assignment to cut off a lane, then recovers to force a turnover, intercepting a pass, brings it up the court in traffic, penetrates and kicks for a teammates wide open triple attempt.
Need I remind you this young lady is 6’2?
Combine all of that this with the fact that she crashes the glass and makes her free throws — what is there not to love?
What about her level of competition at the prep level? My concerns here were put to rest when I read her evaluations from the U16 and U17 Team USA games. Going all the way back to 2015: “active on the glass”, “soft touch” and “finishes in traffic” are seen everywhere. You certainly can’t question the level of competition at those events.
At the end of the day, she is the No. 1 player in the nation for a reason. Given her abilities, I see no reason why she won’t help solidify Coach Muffet McGraw’s legacy as one of the greatest basketball coaches in history with some more deep tournament runs for the Irish.