Nagbe, Winning Mentality Helps Falcons Soar Toward Long-range Goals

Notre Dame College senior guard Martha Nagbe has been named 2nd Team All-Atlantic Region, the second consecutive season in which she has earned the honors.

Nagbe, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, led the Falcons this season with an average of 17.9 points and 4.5 assists per game, both top-5 marks in the Mountain East Conference (MEC), as well as 6.1 rebounds per game.

She  proved her versatility on both ends of the floor, also leading all of NCAA Division II with 119 steals, a mark of 4.2 steals per game.

This honor also comes on the heels of Nagbe being named 1st Team All-Mountain East Conference. Nagbe’s efforts also helped lead the Falcons women’s basketball program to its second consecutive 20-win season.

With the leadership of Nagbe, the Notre Dame women’s basketball program was taking down its MEC opponents regularly after the holiday break.

History has shown that a strong second half put the Falcons into position for a decent spot in the conference tournament. The Falcons, who lost in the MEC tournament championship to West Liberty University last season, had their eyes back on the prize after a slow start to this season.

Since Head Coach Katie Hine took over the program for the 2011-2012 season, the Falcons have had at least a three-game win streak after the week-long holiday break in December. Even more impressive, the Falcons have had a six-game winning streak in two different seasons and two 10-game winning streaks in two different seasons. The most recent 10-game winning streak came this season and lasted from Dec. 18 until Jan. 28.

“We went through struggles early on,” Hine said. “Our first (conference) games were against Wheeling Jesuit and West Liberty.”

Hine went on to mention that those two teams were the only programs ahead of the Falcons in the conference standings.

Even with those struggles early on in the season, Notre Dame continued to work hard and looked for positives.

“We built on positives in practice, even when the games weren’t going our way,” Hine said.

Focusing on the bright side was effective in getting the season turned around. On Dec. 17, the Falcons lost when they were playing in Puerto Rico. The defeat put them in a hole with a record of three wins and six losses and a heavy dose of conference play around the corner.

“We want to develop the mentality of winning, and we are going to get stronger,” Hine said. “There are no quick fixes, and if we have to take our bumps in the first two months, that’s what we’ll do.”

The coaching staff and players saw a very intense, hard fought fourth quarter during the loss, which was an example of how well the team could play.

Following a win in the second of the two-game Puerto Rico trip, the Falcons had over two weeks before they played again.

This long break was spent practicing and getting better, according to Hine.

“We start the season with the mentality to win in the first few months,” Hine said. “It depends on the senior leadership and who steps up.”

Nagbe, a redshirt senior also was awarded conference Player of the Week for Jan. 18-Jan. 24. She has been a big part of the turn-around along with the five other seniors on the roster, three of which are starters along with Nagbe.

For even more confidence, the team took down No. 13 ranked West Liberty during the win streak.

But, the coaching staff and players understood what needed to be done the rest of the season. The team had a record of 13-8 overall and was tied for third in the MEC with a conference record of 10-5.

“I want to see us come out and play hard,” Hine said. “We need to take care of this moment to reach our long-term goals.”

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