Irish women ink three top picks

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — University of Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw announced Wednesday that three of the country’s top high school student-athletes have chosen to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Fighting Irish, each signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2012.

Hannah Huffman, a 5-9 guard from Diablo, Calif. (Carondelet High School), Jewell Loyd, a 5-10 guard from Lincolnwood, Ill. (Niles West High School) and Michaela Mabrey, a 5-10 guard from Belmar, N.J. (Manasquan High School) all made their official commitments to the Fighting Irish during the early signing period, which began Wednesday and continues through Nov. 16.

All three student-athletes are rated among the top 40 players in the country by various national recruiting services. As a group, this trio currently is ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation by both ESPN Hoopgurlz and All-Star Girls Report, and it’s a consensus top 10 class by all major recruiting outlets (final class rankings will come out following the early signing period), all but assuring Notre Dame will have a Top 25 class for the 16th consecutive year, a streak only two other schools in the country (Connecticut and Tennessee) can match.

“This is a great class we have coming in,” McGraw said. “We’ve got to replace some great perimeter players in Natalie Novosel and Brittany Mallory in this class, and the players we have coming in, I couldn’t be more excited about them. They fill the needs that we had, they’re tremendous basketball players, and they’ve won championships, either in high school or AAU ball. We want players that know how to win and these three certainly know all about that. They’re all going to contribute immediately, particularly with four seniors graduating off this year’s team, and it’ll be tough to replace that experience, but I think these three are capable of doing it. We can’t wait to have them join our program and our University next year.”