ND Women’s Basketball
Michaela Mabrey named new assistant coach
Jimmy Ward | Tuesday, August 27, 2019
The Notre Dame women’s basketball program has named former Irish guard Michaela Mabrey as their new assistant coach. This comes after former Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey announced she was accepting a new assistant coaching position with the Memphis Grizzlies. Coach Mabrey spoke about her decision to return to Notre Dame during a press conference Monday.
“I love this place,” said Mabrey. “I had the best four years here. I have so many memories and I’m still friends with almost all of my teammates. It was just an incredible four years that I loved — and my sister was here, so that was an eight-year run for us. It is a place that I truly love, and I love coach [McGraw]. She’s incredible in so many different ways, I’m just so excited to be back.”
Following her graduation, Mabrey did not know where her path would take her next. She credits McGraw in helping her get back into the game from another perspective — as a coach.
“When I was done playing, I kind of really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Mabrey said. “I was going to go play overseas for a little bit, and then I kind of changed my mind, and coach [McGraw] is actually the one who told me, ‘You would be a really great coach.‘”
Following Coach McGraw’s advice, Mabrey took the position of coordinator of program and player development at Miami University. Trying to get her feet wet in as many areas of the game as she could, Mabrey moved to Miami, Ohio where she would work as an assistant gaining experience on the bench and continuing to learn about the scouting processes. Last season, Mabrey accepted a position at LSU as director of recruiting.
Mabrey finally returns to South Bend following a two-year absence. She left Notre Dame in 2016, following a solid four-year career. Mabrey and her younger sister Marina, the 19th overall pick in the 2019 WNBA draft, were both deadly outside shooters.
Marina, having graduated this past season, finished her career fifth in career 3-point percentage at 40.0% and as the all-time leader in 3-pointers made at Notre Dame with 274. The elder Mabrey was also a constant shooting threat. The sisters share the honors of being the only players to make 60 3-pointers in three different seasons and, along with former Irish guard Alicia Ratay, are the only players with at least 70 made 3-pointers in two separate seasons.
Michaela, at the time of her departure, was fourth in program history in 3-pointers made with 228 and seventh in school history in career 3-point percentage at 39.6%. A steady leader at point guard, Mabrey was a member of the winningest class in Notre Dame history that made three Final Four appearances and was twice the national runner-up.
As a freshman, her numbers weren’t spectacular, averaging only 3.0 points per game and 1.3 assists, but she broke out with an 18-point, seven-assist night against St. Francis. While never a volume scorer, her output peaked at 8.6 points per game as a sophomore. While her scoring declined as her career went on, she averaged a career high 2.4 assists per game in both her junior and senior seasons.
Mabrey’s leadership and importance to the team was evidenced by her being named a captain in both her junior and senior campaigns, making her the first such player since former Irish guard Brittany Mallory. Mabrey said the biggest lesson she was taught from McGraw was to be strong.
“You can tell from her Final Four speech last year that she is a strong woman herself, and that is what she portrays for us,” Mabrey said. “She is always going to give us a platform for whatever we want to talk about. There are a million things, but I think that’s the strongest lesson I have learned. She’s taught me so much more off the court than on the court, honestly.”
McGraw also touched on the newest addition to her staff.
“Everybody that has played here appreciates the program and where it is right now, the level that we are at, but it is nice to have somebody that the recruits can relate to,” McGraw said. “Somebody who they have just seen her play, they know Marina and they know Michaela because of that. I think she’s got the energy. She’s someone who has played in this system exactly the way we are playing now. She’s been to three Final Fours, so she understands the stress, she understands the academic pressure, she can really relate to the players.”
Individual workouts begin for the team Tuesday, so Mabrey will be jumping right into the mix to kick off this upcoming season.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.