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Muffet McGraw named Naismith Coach of the Year semifinalist

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Considering the devastating run of injuries Notre Dame women's hoops suffered during the season, it is fairly remarkable for the team to stand in the hunt for another conference title and a number one seed in the NCAA.

Because of that feat, Muffet McGraw is getting some national praise.

McGraw was named one of ten semifinalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, which will be announced at the end of March.

"It's all about the team. It really is," she said of the honor. "They've committed to defense, and they're doing everything they can possibly do. They come into practice every day just ready to get better. They put up with me ranting and raving on the sidelines every single possession. It's amazing what they've been through."

McGraw has won the award three times, taking home the honors in 2001, 2013, and 2014. In all three of those years, she swept the four major Coach of the Year awards.

Despite the news, the Irish still have work to do before the regular season ends. Thursday's matchup with Virginia Tech is the first of two home games this week to close out the season. If Notre Dame picks up two wins, it means at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the fifth consecutive year since joining the conference.

With so much time spent on the road this season, McGraw said it's nice to have a chance at claiming the hardware in front of the Irish faithful.

"We are so glad to be at home because our fans bring that energy and we really needed that," she said. "Especially in the Georgia Tech game, the fans really brought us back in the second half, so we're really counting on them to help us out the next two games."

Thursday's game is set to tip at 7 p.m. followed by Sunday's senior appreciation game against North Carolina State.

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