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Marina Mabrey (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

College

Are Jersey Shore native Marina Mabrey’s shoulders big enough to carry injury riddled Notre Dame to a championship?

Versatile star will need to carry injury-riddled Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament.

I’ve had the good fortune of watching players like Bird, Johnson, and even Maravich, make passes that dropped jaws to the ground; but the best pass I ever saw thrown in my life was a skip pass from Marina Mabrey to her sister Michaela, during a non-conference game against St. Joseph’s.

I had taken my two daughters to the game to see the Mabrey sisters play and we weren’t let down.

Marina’s pass was launched from the top of the foul line, across the court, under two St. Joe’s defenders and bounced directly into Michaela’s outstretched hand as she took two steps and gently glanced the ball off the backboard for a bucket.  The pass was never more than four feet off the ground, when Marina whistled what would be considered a slider in baseball, as her sister caught the ball in stride.  You could sense the girls had practiced their chemistry and how to play 2-person basketball hundreds, maybe thousands of times in the backyard or on the high school court.

Mabrey helped start a dynasty at Manasquan High School, where both she and her sister stared.  Marina was recognized as National Player of the Year and was a McDonald’s All-American her senior season, prior to committing to play for the Muffet McGraw and the Notre Dame Lady Irish.

Born in Belmar, NJ, Mabrey is a true native of the Jersey Shore.  Aside from playing high school ball on a state championship team, Marina also played travel ball for the NJ Demons.

This year’s Irish team has faced more than their share of injuries to impact players.  Notre Dame’s lost four players to ACL injuries including Briana Turner (F), Lili Thompson (PG), Mychal Johnson (G), Mikayla Vaughn (C) and Katheryn Westbelt (F) is game to game with a nagging knee injury.

All these nagging, injuries mean Mabrey and her teammates must be at the top of their game for the Irish to move forward.  She was Notre Dame’s most versatile player during the 2017/18 season averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and two steals.  Mabrey led the team with 188 3-point attempts and made a team best 72, while shooting a team leading 86% from the free throw line.

Mabrey certainly isn’t alone, as high energy junior guard, Arike Oqunbowale can take over any game.  Guard Jackie Young and forward Jessica Shepard round out the Irish attack.

After scoring 23 points and tying an NCAA record with six consecutive 3-pointers during an opening round win Mabrey seems primed for the task.  We certainly know she’s Jersey Strong!

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