TOLEDO — For the Notre Dame women’s basketball team to win a national championship, there are smaller roles that must be filled by talented players.
One of those making sacrifices is freshman Taya Reimer, who averaged 15.8 points per game in her outstanding career at Hamilton Southeastern High School.
A skilled post player, Reimer is asked to do the dirty work off the bench for a national powerhouse.
She needed very little convincing from Irish coach Muffet McGraw.
“It was really easy,” McGraw said. “It takes the pressure off her, coming in when you have upperclassmen carrying the team scoringwise. It is easier for freshmen to get assimilated and get comfortable.”
Slowly but surely, Reimer is doing that.
She has 14 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks in her past four games and played 15 solid minutes in Saturday’s 93-42 victory over Robert Morris.
“From high school, it’s often difficult coming into a team where you have other players out there as good as you,” senior teammate Natalie Achonwa said. “Taya has done a great job of being open to criticism and opinions of others. That has really helped her grow this year.”
McGraw wants rebounding and physicality from Reimer.
“With Taya, it’s all about confidence,” McGraw said. “Now she is able to grasp what we need her to do.”
Point guard Lindsay Allen’s seven assists on Saturday were the second-most by a freshman in Notre Dame’s NCAA tournament history. “It’s all about setting the tone, getting the ball out quick, getting the ball in transition and getting the ball to our scorers,” Allen said.
The Irish anticipate Arizona State trying to be physical with them on Monday. Achonwa said Notre Dame must think one step ahead.
“It’s all about quickness,” Achonwa said. “That’s how you counteract physicality. Keep your feet moving. As long as we stick to our principles, we don’t have to get caught up in that physicality.”