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jj009 Offline



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02.12.2018 09:05
ough South Bend. But the centerpieces have been Skylar Diggins, Jewell Loyd, Kayla McBride and Natalie Novosel, players who spen Antworten

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dames Brianna Turner played much of last season with what seemed at times like little more than one arm. Which speaks volumes about what sort of passion resides within someone who has otherwise played her whole life with what often seems one expression.Picture Turner sliding across the lane during a games pivotal moments, one long arm scything through the air to swat away an unsuspecting opponents shot. That scene or something like it happened 177 times during her first two seasons, more than all but a handful of players in her class.Now imagine Turner reacting to the block by turning to the crowd and exhorting them to rise to their feet. Or perhaps turning her head to the rafters and letting loose a triumphant scream. How would her coach, her own poker face perfected during the course of 30 seasons on the sideline, react to such a display? What would she say about an expression of youthful self-indulgent swagger?Id like to see that, Notre Dames Muffet McGraw said recently with what seemed ample wistfulness. That wouldnt bother me at all.Just dont count on it happening. Turner could block the shot that secures Notre Dame a national championship next April and likely as not still betray all the emotion of a Buddhist monk mid-meditation.Yet the important part of that is that Turner could block the shot that secures a title next April. Or get a rebound. Or hit a shot.Turners immense talent is such that McGraw is willing to bend the teams trademark offense to accommodate her. That concession alone is unprecedented in South Bend. But if her coach would also welcome more swagger out of a quiet All-American who is now both the unquestioned face of the Fighting Irish and still something of a cipher to the college basketball world, it isnt because of any questions about her passion.Some stars wear their heart on their sleeve, but the shoulder brace Turner wore a season ago when she put off surgery to play through a second shoulder dislocation in 12 months was its own expression.The way she got through the year last year was kind of astonishing, really, McGraw said.Turner shows little emotion on the court. She never has. Maybe its the product of being the only child of two parents who both played college basketball, dad Howard at Lamar and mom Kellye at Houston. When there is basketball counsel readily available from those who live under the same roof -- Turner joked that her one and only season playing for her mom in AAU necessitated some rearrangements to maintain familial harmony -- a neutral demeanor can be a useful tool in the gym. Go along to get along.But its one thing to be shy, to retreat from or avoid challenges and attention. Its another thing to merely be quiet.There is a difference, Turner said. I dont think Im shy. I think Im quiet until I get to know people.The sense of humor and talkativeness come out in private, even sometimes in public when the game situation allows for a bit of merriment on the bench. But the force of that personality was perhaps best demonstrated when she returned last season after missing six games following the second shoulder dislocation. While the injury was painful primarily only in the moment that shoulder slipped out of its socket, it left her constrained by the bulky brace worn to protect the joint and well aware that surgery was inevitable. The choice was ultimately hers, and while some urged her to take a hint after the second injury and have the procedure immediately, she was the strongest advocate for staying on the court.I really wanted to play last season, Turner said. I really loved that team so much and the seniors. I really wanted to play with that team. And I just knew myself, that I could not sit out. It was just me being stubborn, and the doctors said I could play on it.As a result, following surgery in April and no matter how she pestered, bartered and cajoled the training staff to accelerate the timetable, she wasnt cleared for full contact until about a month ago. The free throw line jumper that McGraw wanted her to add will have to wait, the time and repetition needed being difficult to find once school and season intersect. It might not be until conference play that Turner fully hits her stride (and the brace is still present). But even with as much depth of talent as the Fighting Irish have ever had -- eight high school All-Americans -- Turner is indispensable.Notre Dames rise from the ranks of the very good to what now seems an annual place in the top five has been built around perimeter stars. Not solely perimeter players, mind you, not with Devereaux Peters and Natalie Achonwa passing through South Bend. But the centerpieces have been Skylar Diggins, Jewell Loyd, Kayla McBride and Natalie Novosel, players who spent a lot of time with the ball in their hands and could create for themselves when necessary. Not since Ruth Riley was in the post at the turn of the century has Notre Dame had a post player as its hub.That can be a challenge in the Princeton offense the team runs.Were constantly talking about looking in and running things for Bri, McGraw said. Princeton is kind of equal opportunity, and when shes at the top, she has the ball but shes not really in a scoring area sometimes.Notre Dame has played this system since 2001. A lot of talent has come and gone in South Bend during that time. The list of those who convinced the coach to deviate from its principles is short.Shes it, McGraw said. First one in a long time.In the Tom Hanks movie Bridge of Spies, the accused spy that Hanks character is asked to defend remains improbably stoic in the face of countless moments of stress. His reply when asked if he is worried is always the same and unerringly logical: Would it help?Watching Turner can feel like a similar experience. Block a shot and shes immediately headed up the court in transition. Take a hard foul that isnt called and shes in pursuit of the rebound. Up a dozen points or down a dozen points, it is the same. Two healthy arms or one, it is the same.Notre Dame has alpha personalities among its plentiful assets. Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale have plenty of swagger. Even Lindsay Allen, soft-spoken as she is, commands a huddle. It might not need that from Turner. But it does need her to be what she is capable of being. The best.She claims that shes gotten mad, McGraw said. I was like, Dang, when was it? I want to rewind the film and see it because I didnt notice. She never, ever, ever -- I mean, Ive never even heard her curse. Shes never slammed the ball down or stomped off or said an unkind word to anyone.Id like to see a little fire.Would it help?What Turner did a season ago, and what McGraw will do to get the most out of her this season, might tell you all you need to know about her. 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