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New ND women’s club basketball encourages athleticism, camaraderie

| Friday, April 5, 2019

The new Notre Dame women’s club basketball team has competed in four tournaments in their inaugural semester. The team is comprised of a fluctuating 15 to 20 members and coached by Rob Coloney, the director of Graduate Career Services. 

Two of the four tournaments were in Chicago, and one was for regionals at Dayton University, where the club received a free automatic bid to nationals in two weeks in Wichita, Kansas. Most recently, the club hosted a tournament on Notre Dame’s campus, sophomore Kate Mulshine, who serves as vice president of the club, said.

The formation of the club team has been in the works since the fall of 2017, junior Caroline VanKirk said.

VanKirk said she was connected with current senior Megan Kamm by Club Sports last spring. They now serve as co-presidents of the club.

“I had talked to a couple people at club sports about [the prospect of a women’s club basketball team] in the spring of last year, and then they gave me Megan’s contact because Megan had been involved in trying to start it the previous fall with two girls who ended up walking onto the actual team,” VanKirk said.

Freshman twins Cate and Maggie Murdock also said they both had interest in the formation of the club team during their senior year of high school.

“When we were still deciding where to [attend college] basketball was important,” Cate Murdock said.

Maggie Murdock added that they knew about the lack of a women’s club basketball team, so they emailed club sports and were connected with VanKirk.

After the Murdock twins, along with other interested girls, were connected with VanKirk and Kamm, the team started scrimmaging a couple times a week in the fall. However, at the time, the team wasn’t allowed to reserve courts because of its pending status as an official club sport, VanKirk said.

Recruitment was largely based on the formation of a group text which included girls who play interhall basketball, VanKirk said.

As the team is in its first year, they chose to not enter a league, which is expensive and restricts teams to certain tournaments, and instead play at individual tournaments, Mulshine said.

VanKirk said their team is having trouble with adequate funding due to their success, as there is a maximum allocation of funds that first-year clubs receive. The club is still on probationary status, she added.

“It was weird because we won this free bid to nationals, but we have to pay for hotel rooms and plane tickets,” Mulshine said.

Mulshine and VanKirk said the club made a Notre Dame Day video, and even reached out to Notre Dame Day organizers to be on the livestream. There is also a fundraiser for the club on Saturday at Chipotle.

All four members interviewed said their hopes for next season include sustaining their winning streak, getting more funding and making it to nationals for a second time.

Cate Murdock said she enjoyed the camaraderie of the team.

“It’s been so fun to hangout with all the people on the team. We are all such close friends now,” she said.

“We actually hangout outside of basketball,” VanKirk added. 

Mulshine added the community of the club is something she has really enjoyed.

“I’ve been here for a year, but I’ve never really found something that is my ‘thing,’” Mulshine said. “It’s really cool to find a group of girls that you have so much in common with from different grades and dorms. I think we all missed that team aspect that we had in high school.”

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