It would be easy enough for Lindsay Schrader to be sitting around these days saying, "What if?"
But she's not. Instead, Schrader is reveling in the fact that her former teammates and coaches at Notre Dame got the opportunity to play for the NCAA women's basketball championship.
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"It was," Schrader answered when I asked her if Notre Dame's national runner-up season was somewhat bittersweet for her. "But there's a part of me that's just so proud. They deserve it. I didn't think about what might have been. There's nothing you can do about it. So much of it depends on seedings and matchups and they have a perfect ride.
"They deserve everything they got. They played just phenomenal."
Which, of course, is what Schrader did for four years at Bartlett High School and then four-plus seasons at Notre Dame.
A tri-captain of the Fighting Irish her final two seasons in South Bend, Schrader scored 1,388 points and had 803 rebounds in the 125 Notre Dame games she played. Last year, she helped Notre Dame to a regional semifinal, where the Irish lost 77-72 in overtime to Oklahoma. Their 78-53 thumping of the Sooners in this year's tournament, Schrader believes, was the catalyst to the Final Four in Indianapolis.
"That was the third year in a row we played them in the Big Dance," said Schrader, who is in the first year of a two-year internship with the Big Ten office in Park Ridge. "My junior year we won but then last year, just how close that game was and the emotion to it ... this year they played their absolute best against Oklahoma. That's the best I've ever seen them play. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is it.' After that game they had a swagger and they rolled with it. That game was the X-factor."
The Irish used that Oklahoma win as a springboard to beating Tennessee and Connecticut back-to-back -- who does that? -- before falling short to Texas A & M, 76-70, in the national title game.
As happy as she is for her former teammates, Schrader is equally happy for longtime Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw.
"She's getting inducted into the college women's basketball hall of fame this summer and she deserves it," said Schrader, who was able to attend the Final Four games. "It just shows what a great coach she is."
Condolences: Our sympathies go out today to the family of Cindy Groh-Hudik, who passed away earlier this week at the too-young age of 47 after battling cancer. Groh was a 1982 Elgin High graduate and played basketball for longtime Maroons' coach Lee Turek during the infancy of the sport at EHS as well as running track for the Maroons. She went on to become a registered nurse at Sherman Hospital for 29 years. She had lived in Carpentersville the past 21 years.
"Cindy was a great human being and a super role model for all she knew," Turek said. "I was a rookie coach when she played for me and I feel honored to have worked with such a fine, respectful young lady. As an athlete she was a tireless worker and a leader by example every day. She was an all-conference player in basketball and led her team into sectionals, and she was a state qualifier in track. One could see then that she was a special person because her friendship was unconditional. God must have special plans for her to take her so young."
Among Cindy's family is her sister Donna, the former Streamwood and Northwestern basketball star.
Funeral services were held Thursday but memorials may be made to the Nick and Jake Hudik Education Fund, c/o PNC Bank, 309 S. Eighth St., West Dundee, IL 60118. For information, call (847) 426-3436.
Kudos to Cassie: Elgin Community College freshman and Hampshire graduate Cassie Dumoulin has been selected as a third-team NJCAA All-American for women's basketball. Dumoulin was fourth in the nation among Division II scorers, averaging 22.9 points per game. She was named the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and was a first-team Region IV pick.
Challenge pairings set: The pairings have been set for the Chicagoland Challenge softball tournament, which will be hosted by St. Edward at the Elgin Sports Complex on Saturday, April 16. Downstate Farmington is the top seed, Genoa-Kingston No. 2, two-time defending champion Marengo No. 3 and Chicago Christian No. 4. Farmington will take on No. 8 Hampshire in the first round, Genoa plays Aurora Central Catholic, Marengo meets host St. Edward and Chicago Christian plays Illiana Christian. Each team gets three games in a bracket format. Game times are 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There is a $5 admission charge for the tournament.
Speaking of softball: The IHSA released assignments for the baseball, softball and girls soccer postseasons last week and there have been only minor changes to the setup for Fox Valley area Class 4A teams.
Cary-Grove, which made a run to the Elite Eight last year, will play in the McHenry regional along with Prairie Ridge, Grant and Round Lake. The winner will feed into the Rockford Guilford sectional, which includes regional winners from Harlem, Rockford Jefferson and South Elgin. The Harlem regional is all NIC-10 teams while Jacobs, Dundee-Crown, Crystal Lake South and Huntley all have to make the trip to Rockford. The South Elgin regional includes Elgin, Larkin, Streamwood and DeKalb with freshman phenom pitcher Katie Kowalski.
The sectional winner in Rockford moves on to the NIU supersectional, which will be a 3-4A doubleheader. The Guilford sectional winner plays the winner of the loaded Schaumburg sectional, which includes Bartlett as well as ranked teams Elk Grove, Glenbard North, Geneva, Conant, St. Charles North and West Chicago.
In Class 3A, Burlington Central and Hampshire have been split from the same regional. Burlington will play in the Kaneland regional with Rochelle and Sycamore, while Hampshire hosts a regional that includes Crystal Lake Central, Marengo, Woodstock and Marian Central. The Burlington regional winner goes to the Rochelle sectional; the Hampshire winner to Grayslake Central. Those two sectional winners then collide at NIU in the supersectional.
In Class 2A, Westminster Christian will host a regional that includes Luther North, Notre Dame, Willows Academy and St. Edward. The regional winner advances to Lisle for sectional play.
Log on: Keep an eye on dailyherald.com today. We hear Burlington Central might have hired a football coach.