April 4, 2011
It was a memorable basketball moment in a passionate basketball city.
As the second half game clock finally struck zero, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s players and coaching staff rushed onto the court in a sea of fist pumps, hugs, and smiles to celebrate a 72-63 victory over top-ranked UConn.
A sea of green-clad Notre Dame fans filled Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis to cheer on their beloved Irish, well aware that April 3, 2011 would go down as one of the greatest days in the history of our storied women’s basketball program.
From the moment the sun rose in the hoops-crazed Circle City, there was a distinctly Irish buzz around town. Supporters of the Hoosier State’s finest came from all over, and a large collection of Michiana natives made the quick trip South for a beautiful Sunday drive to the capital.
Notre Dame alumni came out in full force, and the Muse was delighted to see a strong contingent of Monogram winners at events leading up to the big game. Over the course of the afternoon, the Muse caught up with more than 20 former student-athletes to get their take on the evening contest between the Irish and the Huskies and to hear about the latest happenings in their lives.
From celebrity sightings to alumni updates, the Musings have you covered for what went down during an incredible Final Four Sunday for Notre Dame women’s basketball.
Sightings at Conseco
Arguably one of the most ardent women’s basketball fans in the nation, former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ’75 (M.A.) took in the doubleheader of games from a center court seat near the Stanford section. Although Rice was sad to see her alma mater fall to Texas A&M in a thrilling first game, Rice stayed for game two and the Muse caught her clapping along spiritedly with the ND fight song. Rice earned her master’s degree in political science from Notre Dame before moving on to serve as a State Department intern in the Carter administration.
Completing the circle of political clout around Rice were Indiana governor Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard. The star-studded section of seats also featured University of Indiana men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean and his wife, Joani.
Although she spent the game on the sidelines with her team, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw (honorary) made several appearances on the Conseco Fieldhouse big screen over the course of the evening. In addition to being honored with a number of legendary coaches for winning more than 200 career games (Muffett currently stands at 644 victories), McGraw was featured in a special segment that chronicled her career and celebrated her upcoming induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this June in Knoxville, Tenn.
Women’s Basketball Alumna Spotlight – Megan Duffy ’06
The Muse found former Irish star Megan Duffy ’06 with some of her old teammates at the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s pre-game pep rally at the Ram Restaurant.
Duffy just finished her second season as an assistant women’s basketball coach at St. John’s University. The Red Storm have finished in the top half of the BIG EAST and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in each of Duffy’s two seasons with the program.
She is only one of three players in the history of Notre Dame women’s basketball to amass 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals during her career. She was a two-time AP honorable mention All-American, earned all-BIG EAST honors on three occasions, and won the 2006 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given annually to the nation’s top senior who is 5 feet 8 inches or shorter.
A 2005 gold medalist with the 2005 USA World University Games team, Duffy was selected 31st overall in the 2006 WNBA Draft and played for three seasons in the league.
Duffy took a few moments to speak with the Muse about Notre Dame basketball and what she misses most about the Golden Dome.
Former Irish star Megan Duffy ’06
What’s it like coaching now that your playing days are over?
“I spent so much time at Notre Dame as a player investing so much time and energy. Now you get on the other side of things, it’s pretty cool. We had a great year at St. John’s, and now to be back at the Final Four supporting Notre Dame is a pretty special thing.”
What’s your favorite memory from your Notre Dame career?
“My freshman year we were a No. 11 seed in the tournament and we went into Kansas State on their home floor and beat them. It was a No. 11 beating a No. 3 seed, so that was pretty special. There are a lot of memories, just with all the girls together and hanging out with the coaching staff, which is still pretty much the same from when I played.”
Are you excited to see so many women’s basketball monogram winners in Indianapolis?
“It’s great for all of us former players to come back and support the current players and their families and see some alums to reminisce about the old days and celebrate what they’re doing right now.
What do you miss most about Notre Dame?
“I think I miss the people the most and the connection you have with people. Everyone is so supportive and so into everything you do, whether it’s the academics or athletics or just even the spiritual life and the family aspect of things. You see somebody with a Notre Dame T-shirt on and it’s like an instant friendship no matter who you are.”
Monogram Winner News & Notes
Members of the Monogram Club staff were on hand to greet the group of former student-athletes that attended the Alumni Association pep rally/reception at the Ram Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis. In addition to giving out some first-rate Monogram Club gear and swag, the Muse spoke with some of the attendees about their careers as well as their favorite Notre Dame memories.
In addition to Megan Duffy, another 1,000 point scorer made the trip to Indianapolis. Lindsay Schrader ’10 (basketball) is currently working as a compliance/governance intern for the Big Ten Conference in Chicago. Schrader would like to remain in college athletics after her internship ends in either a coaching or administrative role.
Anna Nicole Jones ’09 (manager) drove all the way from Washington D.C. to watch the Irish topple the Huskies. Jones served as a manager from 2006-08 and specialized with the women’s basketball team during her senior campaign. She is currently working in federal sales for AT&T and has enjoyed some high-profile projects. Jones recently finished an assignment at the White House with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She’s a fan of Clinton’s signature pants suits, and we’re a fan of you, Anna! What a great start to your career!
Philip Sicuso ’99 (football) lives in Brownsburg, Ind. and works as an attorney with Bingham McHale, LLP. A former walk-on for the Irish, Sicuso misses the competition and camaraderie of his playing days, but enjoys staying connected with teammates like Marc Edwards ’97 and Bobby Brown ’99 through LinkedIn. Sicuso was happy to hear that the Monogram Club will be coming to LinkedIn in the near future!
David Welsh ’80 (wrestling) is employed as a general surgeon in Batesville, Ind. While serving as a top-flight medical professional, Welsh has still found the time to become an experienced Taekwondo martial artist.
Quips Welsh, “My patients become a lot more compliant with my instructions when they find out I’m a fourth degree black belt.”
Well said, David.
From his wrestling days with the Irish, Welsh fondly remembers heading into the ring with the freight train that was the legendary Bob Golic ’79 (football, wrestling).
“Warming up with Bob before matches, he would just toss me around like a rag doll,” Welsh said. “He was so big and strong, the other wrestlers didn’t like warming up with him, but I thought it was fine. He was good to know, because on the field – whether it was football or wrestling – he was the fiercest competitor you could find. Off the field, he was the nicest guy you’d ever want to know.”
Welsh remains active in sports and works with the Indiana State High School Association and Medical Association to develop concussion guidelines and heat index guidelines specifically for football players.
Anne Schenkel ’79 (tennis) is a sports and orthopedic physical therapist living in Fort Wayne, Ind. Schenkel was part of the first women’s varsity tennis team at Notre Dame and helped the team win a division championship as a senior. She still stays involved with the game and coaches a tennis team at a local high school.
That’s all for this edition of the Muse. We look forward to cheering on the Irish on Tuesday night as they aim to win the second national title in school history!
Check back in this spring for more editions of the Monogram Club Musings, and as always, GO IRISH!
— ND —