Media day offers dose of reality to All-America candidates

Muffet: ND's No. 1 ranking 'doesn't mean much to us' (1:34)

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw and Arike Ogunbowale join SportsCenter to discuss ND's No. 1 ranking in the women's basketball preseason poll. (1:34)

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Baylor center Kalani Brown would have loved to have played in the Final Four last season. Instead, Brown was rooting for one of her best friends, Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale. And, wow, did the Irish guard provide a lot to cheer about.

Brown is from Slidell, Louisiana, and Ogunbowale from Milwaukee, but they've been close since they played together as teens for USA Basketball. So when Ogunbowale hit the two buzzer-beating shots in the semifinals and championship game last April at the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, Brown yelled out in joy.

"Our schools are so far apart, so I never get to see her," Brown said. "But I talk to Arike almost every day."

Wednesday, they got to see each other in person, as they were among seven players visiting ESPN for the NCAA's women's college basketball national media day. Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter, Louisville guard Asia Durr, Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu, Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan and UConn guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson also attended the event. All were WBCA All-Americans last season except Carter; she was national freshman of the year.

All are expected to play huge roles on some of the best teams in the country for 2018-19. The Irish are No. 1 in Wednesday's Associated Press preseason poll, followed by UConn, Oregon, Baylor, Louisville and Mississippi State rounding out the top six. Texas A&M is No. 20.

Wednesday was a day to look back at last season's celebrations and heartbreaks, glance ahead at what's on the way, and also to have a little fun.

Ogunbowale discussed her experience competing on "Dancing With the Stars" after her epic Final Four performance.

Difficult as it was -- "Learning those dances was tough" -- she said she definitely was glad she did it. So the question was posed to others: What reality show would you want to be on?

Some had to think about it for a while. But the 6-foot-7 Brown, whose Lady Bears are picked to finish first in the Big 12 again, had a quick answer.

"I'd want to do 'America's Next Top Model,'" said Brown, whose 65.0 shooting percentage was fourth in Division I last season. "I'd enjoy that."

Ogunbowale, who has already done reality TV, said that if she could be on another show, it would be "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

"They look pretty lavish, so that would be fun," Ogunbowale said. Samuelson, the American Conference Player of the Year last season, also picked the Kardashians' show -- mostly because she thought it would be hilarious to experience a day with them.

"But I'd also love to see my sister on 'Fear Factor,'" Samuelson said of older sibling Karlie, a Stanford grad who played for the Los Angeles Sparks this past WNBA season.

Uh, is that because Karlie would do well on that show with some of its gross-out challenges?

"Oh, no," Samuelson said with a grin. "I think she'd do terrible."

Durr, last season's ACC Player of the Year, said she thought her family was entertaining enough that maybe they could have their own reality show. Carter, who averaged 22.7 points last season (sixth-best in Division I), is fearless about having the ball in her hands at crunch time. Witness her 37 points in an 80-79 NCAA second-round victory against DePaul last season. And she wouldn't be afraid of the two reality shows she thinks would be an entertaining challenge: "American Ninja Warrior" and "Wipeout."

"I think I could make it through both of them," Carter said.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw went with a reality show for which she thinks she has the right skills -- or lack thereof.

"'Worst Cooks in America,'" McGraw said, adding her husband, Matt, is the chef in the family. "I'm a really terrible cook."

Ionescu, already the NCAA's career leader in triple-doubles with 10 through two seasons, thought "Dancing With the Stars" would be cool because it allowed for creativity. Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer picked that show, too, saying, "I enjoy dancing; I was a big two-stepper in college."

But perhaps the most entertaining answer came from Schaefer's standout senior, McCowan. The Bulldogs have played in the past two NCAA finals, and despite losing four starters from last season, they are picked to finish first in the SEC again this season. The team is built around the 6-7 McCowan, who averaged 18.2 points and 13.9 rebounds last season. She's an intimidating presence on the low block. And she picked a very intimidating reality show.

"I'd go with 'Naked and Afraid,' just to see if I could survive," McCowan said of the series that strands two people in the wilderness and challenges them to stick it out for 21 days by finding their own food, water, shelter and making some form of clothing. "I'd like to see how far I could make it. But I don't do well with bugs, so ...

"I think it's all just a mental thing, though. So if my mental state was right, I think I could do it."