Madison Cable doing big, little things for Notre Dame women

Ken Klimek Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — The silence came suddenly and lingered.

But when Madison Cable got up off the basketball floor after taking a hard fall and blow to her ankle during a game against DePaul at Notre Dame Wednesday night, the roar was deafening.

The ovation Cable received from the near full house of 8,207 likely came because they saw Cable was not badly injured and the crowd knew how valuable Cable is to the Irish women’s basketball fortunes this season.

“Yes, I heard it and I appreciated it,” said Cable. "I love our fans and the support they give us.”

The Irish followers also love the effort, the hustle and the determination Cable brings to the floor every outing. And she says she's fine after the spill.

Notre Dame won’t have many followers Saturday when it meets Texas Christian University at noon in Fort Worth in the cozy Horned Frogs’ University Recreation Center – capacity about 1,300.

“It will be a fun environment, like South Dakota State, and it will likely be all purple (TCU’s school color),” said Cable.

The Irish are 8-1, and the Horned Frogs, members of the Big 12 Conference are 7-2 with a 4-point loss to tough Texas A&M and a defeat at Butler their only setbacks.

Her first name is Madison, but it could easily be Modesty. Cable is overwhelmingly team oriented, even though her individual performance through the first nine games of the season has been more than impressive.

She has been the leader for Coach Muffet McGraw, who repeatedly has praised Cable for the transformation she has made from her previous seasons at Notre Dame.

Cable came of the bench in her first three seasons, and averaged 5.3 points a game. Currently she is the team’s leading scorer at 17 points per outing and fourth in the nation with her .574 shooting percentage from 3-point range. She is also the team’s leading rebounder at 5.8 per game. Brianna Turner was grabbing 6.8 rebounds before her injury.

The loss of Turner and freshman Ali Patberg, along with the diminished playing time of junior Taya Reimer with a lingering achilles injury, has made Cable’s individual improvement all that more important to No. 3 Notre Dame.

“We all, not just me, have an added sense of responsibility,” said Cable of the team’s task in light of the injuries. “Everyone has to do more. I don’t think of being tired. I will just keeping shooting with confidence. Our offense should be fine using a 4-guard look or two posts. We need to pay attention to the scouting report and run the offense the way it should be run.”

The Irish rank fourth in the nation in scoring (86.8 points a game), but McGraw and Cable know there is a lot of work to do defensively. The Irish gave up 91 points to Connecticut and 90 to DePaul in their last two outings. TCU averages 77.6 points and has topped 80 points offensively five times this season.

“We were not executing our fundamentals,” Cable said. “We know better. We watched film. We know what we can’t do again.”

And the Irish know they can’t do without Cable. Despite the hard fall and ankle injury Wednesday, Cable logged 38 minutes of playing time. Notre Dame needs her on the floor. She helps the freshmen (Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale) any way she can.

“They ask good questions. But they have high basketball IQs,” Cable said. “Marina is in my wing group. I appreciate she wants to get things right and help the team.”

The Irish are at their best when they are running. The half-court offense has had some sore spots, partly because of the loss of Turner and Reimer.

“We just have to get comfortable with it,'' Cable said. "We have to attack the basket more.''

DePaul’s Ashton Millender (1) goes up for a shot next to Notre Dame’s Madison Cable (22) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

WHO: No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) vs. Texas Christian University (7-2)

WHEN: Saturday noon (EST)

WHERE: Fort Worth, Texas, University Recreation Center (1,350)

TV: Fox Sports Net (where available)

RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) South Bend, WatchND (audio only)

GAME NOTES: After Saturday’s matchup with TCU, Notre Dame is idle until Monday, Dec. 21, when it travels to play St. Joseph’s (Pa) ... The last time Notre Dame played in Fort Worth was Jan. 15, 1984, before Muffet McGraw was the Irish coach. Notre Dame dropped a 64-63 contest against SMU ... Saturday’s game will be played in the University Recreation Center at TCU, but was supposed to be the first game in the $72 million Schollmajer Arena. But the renovated arena was not ready for the Saturday's game. TCU is coached by Raegan Pebley, in her second season with the Horned Frogs. Previously she coached at Fresno State and led that team to the NCAA tournament in her final two seasons there ... Zahna Medley, a 5-foot-6 senior, is the team’s leading scorer (16.2) and 5-10 sophomore Toree Thompson is next at 10.3 ... Four other Horned Frogs average between 8.9 and 9.8 points a game.