With the 2018-19 season quickly approaching, here at Slap the Sign we will be previewing the different classes of the defending National Champions (how great does that sound?) Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team. Next up, the juniors.
The junior class includes two of the most interesting players on the Notre Dame squad. Last year, Jackie Young was probably the most consistent player for the Irish. She provided stability at a variety of different positions, especially as the injury bug ran rampant. Kaitlin Cole, a walk-on, became even more important in the second half of the season. She was one of three walk-ons on the roster last season and played the most minutes.
Kaitlin Cole – Guard/5’10” – Toledo, Ohio
Kaitlin Cole made 23 appearances for the Irish in 2017-18. She averaged just about five minutes per game, but her presence was really felt in the NCAA Tournament. She played 12 minutes in both the first and second rounds of the tournament, which helped propel the team on a long run. Her ability to play many different guard spots allowed the Irish to get some of their starters off the floor in the final minutes of games.
It is still unknown if she will be able to play this season. It appears that she will not be ready to at least start the season because of an injury. In October, Cole has posted on her Instagram story about what appears to be knee surgery. She has been seen in a knee brace and on crutches. Nothing has been confirmed by Notre Dame yet, but it probably won’t be long until more information is released. If she did in fact have knee surgery, that would be a terrible way to start the season for the Irish.
Jackie Young – Guard/6’0” – Princeton, Indiana
Jackie Young had a big season in 2017-18 for Notre Dame. She started all 38 games and averaged just over 34 minutes per game. It was very difficult to take Young off the floor last season and even a broken nose would not slow her down. Her 14.5 points per game were very important for the Irish, especially as the tournament came around. Her 32 point performance against UConn in the Final Four allowed for the Irish to stay in the game. When everyone shutdown Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey, Young became the go to option.
Heading into this season, Young will probably be the three guard in the starting lineup. Her size gives her the ability to defend against bigger guards or smaller forwards, while her ball handling skills and shooting range allows for mismatches on the offense. Mabrey will most likely start the season at the point, but don’t be surprised if Young takes the ball up from time to time.