Sports

Although Diggins is gone, Notre Dame still have high expectations behind Achonwa, McBride

  • FILE - In this March 26, 2013 file photo, Notre Dame guard Kayla McBride runs off the court after a second-round game against Iowa in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Iowa City, Iowa. Duke returns all five starters and its top seven scorers to build on its recent domination in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

    FILE - In this March 26, 2013 file photo, Notre Dame guard Kayla McBride runs off the court after a second-round game against Iowa in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Iowa City, Iowa. Duke returns all five starters and its top seven scorers to build on its recent domination in the Atlantic Coast Conference. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 2, 2013 file photo, Notre Dame players celebrate an 87-76 win over Duke at the regional final of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Norfolk, Va. Notre Dame has been to three straight Final Fours as it enters the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Fighting Irish are determined to start their ACC tenure by dethroning Duke, who has won three of the past four league titles. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

    FILE - In this April 2, 2013 file photo, Notre Dame players celebrate an 87-76 win over Duke at the regional final of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Norfolk, Va. Notre Dame has been to three straight Final Fours as it enters the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Fighting Irish are determined to start their ACC tenure by dethroning Duke, who has won three of the past four league titles. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2013 file photo, Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw speaks during the Atlantic Coast Conference NCAA college basketball media day in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame has been to three straight Final Fours as it enters the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Fighting Irish are determined to start their ACC tenure by dethroning Duke, who has won three of the past four league titles.(AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, James Brosher, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2013 file photo, Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw speaks during the Atlantic Coast Conference NCAA college basketball media day in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame has been to three straight Final Fours as it enters the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Fighting Irish are determined to start their ACC tenure by dethroning Duke, who has won three of the past four league titles.(AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, James Brosher, File)  (The Associated Press)

Notre Dame seniors have been to the Final Four three straight seasons, so they believe a fourth straight trip only seems natural.

Forward Natalie Achonwa and guard Kayla McBride, though, are aiming higher. After losing to the national champions the past three seasons, they are looking to end their careers with a national championship.

The Irish return four starters and enter the Atlantic Coast Conference with the goal of winning the league title immediately. They start the season ranked No. 6 and have been picked to finish second in the league.

With experienced reserves and two highly rated freshmen, the challenge for coach Muffet McGraw is to figure out how to put all the pieces together and fill the void left by the graduation of Skylar Diggins.