Weight loss helps Texas A&M star

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Well, 6-foot-1 forward Adaora Elonu did it late in the Stanford game, forcing 6-3 Mikaela Ruef to change directions several times as she tried to bring the ball up the court.

“Adaora has not been our best in practice at doing that and we carp on her every day,” Schaefer said. “When our kids over there are seeing Adaora Elonu turn the ball three or four or five times in the backcourt, they’re fired up. That’s part of what gets us going and gets them excited in that situation.”

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MELLOW MUFFET: Notre Dame’s veteran players have seen a mellowing in coach Muffet McGraw.

Oh, she’s still intense and she’ll get on them when they need prodding. But McGraw herself concedes she’s lightened up and is more patient with this team, which has reached the national championship game despite losing four starters from last season.

“We talk to a couple of the players here from years ago and they’re like, ‘She’s so much easier on y’all than she was on us,’” guard Skylar Diggins said. “And I’m like, ‘Well, yeah.’

“But she’s had a lot of patience with us. Obviously we’re a young team and I think with her being patient with us and talking to us like she does … we’re just able to put together an awesome year.”

McGraw said she’s more relaxed because the team has made her that way. She doesn’t need to come up with many pep talks because senior Becca Bruszewski sees to that.

“I never have to worry about if we’re gong to show up,” McGraw said. “And I think that really makes it more fun. I’ve really enjoyed coaching this team. I’ve enjoyed this journey we’ve been on.”

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DOS SKYLARS: Before she enrolled Texas A&M, Skylar Collins knew no one else with the same first name.

“I felt kind of special,” she said.

Then, during a team dinner before a game against Texas Tech, the television was tuned to ESPN and the announcer mentioned Skylar Diggins.

“I turned around and was like, ‘Who called my name?’” Collins said. “That was the first I ever heard about her because this was when she was being recruited. I didn’t know anybody else even had that name. I think it’s kind of cool.”

Collins has said she’d like to meet the Notre Dame star and it could happen Tuesday night, though hardly in a friendly setting. Collins, a reserve guard, usually goes in to play defense, so there’s a chance she’d guard Diggins. She won’t be going out there just to shake her hand.

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