NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Markisha Wright admittedly gets nervous when people put her in the spotlight.
When she checked out of Notre Dame’s 87-61 win over Maryland in a national semifinal Sunday, fans behind the Irish bench showered her with shouts of, Kisha!
A grinning Wright – who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench – covered part of her face with her right hand.
I was thinking, Guys, stop it,’ Wright joked afterward. It was cool, but uh
Imagine Wright’s dismay when she learned that Irish coach Muffet McGraw had referred to her as the player of the game. The junior forward cocked her head back and rubbed her knees.
I’m just going to keep doing what they tell me to: rebound, set good screens and finish, Wright said.
With Notre Dame short-handed because of injury, Wright played more minutes against the Terrapins – 23 – than she had in the previous three games combined (22).
Putbacks by Wright on consecutive possessions gave Notre Dame a 17-15 lead. The Irish never trailed again.
Twelve points, nine rebounds, who expected that? McGraw said. To do what she did on the biggest stage was amazing, phenomenal.
Just before the halftime buzzer, Notre Dame let red-hot Kayla McBride create as a pick-and-roll ballhandler.
The Irish swung the ball to Madison Cable, whose wide-open 3-pointer from the right wing sent them to the locker room with a 48-31 lead.
They accidentally left me open, said Cable, who had seven points and five rebounds. I made it thankfully. We got fired up running into halftime. It gave us something to be excited about.
McGraw said: That was a huge momentum swing because it was a clear breakdown. You really had them rattled.