Quartet caps historic tenure at ND
Chris Masoud | Tuesday, April 3, 2012
DENVER – Graduate students Devereaux Peters and Brittany Mallory and seniors Natalie Novosel and Fraderica Miller leave Notre Dame as one of its most accomplished classes. The foursome compiled 142 wins and one Big East regular season title, while reaching four Sweet Sixteens, two Final Fours and two National Championships in their combined five seasons.
“I’m just completely just so proud of them and what we’ve done this year and how we fought back,” Peters said. “Even this game we didn’t quit throughout the game. I’m just happy for them and for what we’ve accomplished in our careers. Not many people can say what we’ve done.”
Back-to-back national runner-up
Notre Dame has now lost back-to-back national championship games, falling to Baylor 80-61 after losing to Texas A&M 76-70 in 2011. Notre Dame became the third team to do so, joining Tennessee in 2003 and 2004 and Auburn in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
“I feel a little numb right now,” Novosel said. “To get all the way back to this point, it hurts the most because we came up short once again. To come all this way, especially as a senior, and wanting and willing a sense of urgency to come back this whole way and to not be able to come out on top against is what hurts the most.”
Devereaux Peters was on the floor for just 15 minutes and played in foul trouble all night, finishing with four fouls. Her regular-season average was 24.5 minutes per game.
Natalie Novosel failed to record a field goal Tuesday, finishing 0-for-11 from the floor and five-for-eight on free throws. Novosel led Notre Dame in scoring with 28 points in its Nov. 20 loss to Baylor.
“I was trying to get confidence baskets, trying to get a layup or get to the line, and even my free throws weren’t going in,” Novosel said. “I thought they did a really good job on me defensively, not helping off me at all so I could get a clean look at the basket. They always had a hand in my face.”
Big time on the big stage
Baylor junior center Brittney Griner registered 26 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in the win, earning herself the title of Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Prior to the contest, Griner was named the Associated Press Player of the Year, the Naismith Player of the Year and the Wade Trophy winner.
“Brittany Griner comes to work every day,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “A lot of great players think they’re all that and they half go through drills and they come to practice and they dog it. That child comes to work and brings her work pail every day.”
Sports writer Kelsey Manning also contributed to this report.
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