Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Senior guards going after same prize

As last night's men's championship game proved, there's no substitute for having a veteran guard who wants the ball in crunch time.

Well, both UConn and Notre Dame have one of those.

Over the last three years both UConn's Bria Hartley and Kayla McBride of Notre Dame have delivered time after time. Tonight they will both play their final college game and one to them will leave the court as a leader for an undefeated national championship team.

“I have always been a fan of her game,” McBride said. “She plays with the same East Coast swag so I appreciate that. She is a competitor, she wants to win and I want to win so it will be a good matchup.”

There’s a high probability that the two players, who first met playing in a high school all-star game after their senior year of high school will both be taken in the first round of the upcoming WNBA draft but that is pretty far down on the list for of the two of them right now.

“I first met Kayla at the McDonald’s All-American game,” Hartley said. “We rode over on the shuttle together. She is probably one of the first people that I’ve met and talked to. I remember that first year of playing USA Basketball with her, I loved playing with her. I am fan of her game as well. I watched her games. She’s a really good player. She can affect the game in so many ways.

“She has really become a great player. She’s developed a lot of different things in her game. There’s time where is out there on the court I watch her, this girl makes every shot. I think just kind of admire really good players that work really hard.”

Both Hartley and McBride thrive on being willing to take and make shots when the game is on the line.

“You want to make plays for your team and you want to step up,” Hartley said. “We’ve been able to do that for our team. I know we both kind of enjoy playing. We played each other through the years. I talk to her every one and a while. I know she’s enjoying her time there and I’m enjoying my time at UConn.”

Notre Dame is no stranger to play games in the state of Connecticut, facing UConn 22 times either in Storrs or Hartford from 1996-2013 and also being regular visitors to the XL Center for the Big East tournament.
However, Notre Dame’s next trip to Connecticut will not be against UConn or any conference rivals.

The Fighting Irish will be headling the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge in November.

Notre Dame will host Holy Cross on Nov. 23, Harvard on Nov. 24 and Quinnipiac on Nov. 25 before playing Kansas at Mohegan Sun Arena on Nov. 30.

It will give Notre Dame a chance to play at Mohegan for the first time.

“I've played there in the WNBA but it is going to be good for them to travel and go to different places as a team,” Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey said.

Under different circumstances Notre Dame junior Whitney Holloway would be getting ready to square off with her former high school teammate Michala Johnson.

However, after seeing limited time in her first two seasons at UConn, Johnson opted to transfer to Wisconsin. After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer regulations, Johnson wasted little time in making an impact as she earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after leading the Badgers in scoring, averaging 16.6 points per game while adding 7.3 rebounds per game.

“It is great, she is a great player and I am not surprised with what she is going now because she is doing that in high school so I was really happy for her,” said Holloway, who played with Johnson at Montini High School in Lombard, Ill. “She likes Wisconsin so I am really happy for her. It is never easy to transfer but she is having a great time and she loves Wisconsin.”

The final live blog of the season is set for tonight when UConn and Notre Dame square off for the national title.


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