November 9, 2018, published on

On this October day in South Bend, every pass must be crisp, every cut full speed. Notre Dame’s players sprint up and down, whipping passes faster, faster, faster in this full-court practice drill. Then one player screws up; she tosses an overhead pass that is deflected.

Players drop to the floor to hold a 30-second core plank for punishment. Even Muffet McGraw, the 62-year-old Hall of Fame coach, is planking. Teeth clenched, McGraw doesn’t allow her navy sweatpants and light blue polo to graze the floor even for a second.

Arike Ogunbowale looks irritated. About-to-take-over-the-game irritated. Arike Mode is thrilling and terrifying, depending on which team you play for. The 5’8” senior All-American cruises down the court and slices her way through three players to finish at the rim.

After that, she pretends she’s about to drive in again, but she quickly stops for a pull-up, draining a long two. Her follow-through lingers as she leaves her right hand cupped down. She leans back, bouncing one, two, three times off of her right foot, very much expecting the ball to drop in.

Of course she does. She is the most clutch playmaker in women’s college basketball. (READ FULL STORY HERE).