Nov. 11, 2010
2010-11 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 1
#12/12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. New Hampshire Wildcats (0-0 / 0-0 America East)
DATE: November 12, 2010
TIME: 4:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: First meeting
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- Notre Dame is 41-5 against first-time opponents since the start of the 2000-01 season.
- Speaking of that season, the 2001 Fighting Irish national championship team will celebrate its 10-year reunion during Friday’s season opener.
No. 12 Irish Tip Off Season Friday Against New Hampshire
With some of the program’s notable historical figures in attendance, No. 12 Notre Dame will tip off its 34th season of intercollegiate action at 4 p.m. (ET) Friday when it plays host to New Hampshire before an expected sellout crowd at Purcell Pavilion.
Friday’s lidlifter will have added significance as the Fighting Irish welcome back their 2001 NCAA national championship team for a series of celebration events commemorating the 10th anniversary of that milestone moment in Notre Dame athletics history.
This year’s edition of the Fighting Irish are looking to build upon a Sweet 16 appearance and a 29-win season in 2009-10, and they’ll do that with eight returning monogram winners, including two starters.
In its lone exhibition game back on Nov. 3, Notre Dame rolled to a 102-30 win over Division II Michigan Tech at Purcell Pavilion. Junior guard Natalie Novosel tossed in a game-high 21 points to lead five Fighting Irish players in double figures.
- Notre Dame is No. 12 in both the preseason Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls.
- New Hampshire is not ranked.
- With its No. 12 preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll, Notre Dame now has appeared in the AP poll for 59 consecutive weeks, tying the program record first set from preseason 1998-Dec. 3, 2001.
- The Irish now have been voted into the preseason AP poll in 11 of the past 12 seasons (since 1999-2000), something only seven other schools in the country can match.
- Notre Dame has a rugged 2010-11 schedule lined up, with games against at least one team from each of the top six RPI conferences (BIG EAST, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC), and five matchups against four other teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Sweet 16 (Connecticut twice, Baylor, Gonzaga and Kentucky).
- The Irish will play a school-record 17 regular-season home games this year, including their first regular-season tournament (outside of the Preseason WNIT) since the 1983 Notre Dame Thanksgiving Classic. The three-day, round-robin WBCA Classic (also featuring IUPUI, Wake Forest and Butler) comes to Purcell Pavilion Nov. 26-28.
- There will be lots of new faces on the Irish schedule this season, with Notre Dame playing seven first-time opponents as part of its 13-game non-conference slate. Those new opponents include: New Hampshire (Nov. 12), Morehead State (Nov. 15), Kentucky (Nov. 21), Wake Forest (Nov. 27), Baylor (Dec. 1), Gonzaga (Dec. 29) and Southeast Missouri State (Jan. 2).
- Notre Dame is closing in on the 1,000th game in the program’s 34-year history, with that milestone contest set for Dec. 5 when the Irish play host to in-state rival Purdue at Purcell Pavilion in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2. Notre Dame is 689-302 (.695) all-time entering the ’10-11 season.
- The Irish have only one true senior on this year’s roster — forward Becca Bruszewski. Guard Brittany Mallory and forward Devereaux Peters both are listed as seniors on the roster based on their academic standing, but each player has the option to petition for a fifth year of eligibility after both suffered season-ending knee injuries (torn ACL) within the first seven games of the 2008-09 campaign.
- Notre Dame welcomes a three-player freshman class that includes the program’s first-ever international player (Canadian National Team forward Natalie Achonwa), a 2010 McDonald’s All-American (Erie, Pa., native Kayla McBride) and a two-time Michigan Player of the Year (Ariel Braker from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.). Collectively, this group has been ranked as high as eighth in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
- The Irish made a shift on their coaching staff during the offseason, as former longtime assistant and post coach guru Carol Owens (who previously served as Notre Dame from 1995-2005) returns to the program as associate coach following a successful five-year run as the head coach at her alma mater, Northern Illinois. In addition, Angie Potthoff has moved into the newly-created role of associate director of operations & technology, a position that has seen her help direct Notre Dame’s emergence as one of the nation’s leaders in social media development among women’s college basketball programs.
Other Notre Dame Notables
- Notre Dame is among the nation’s winningest programs during the past 15 seasons (1996-97 to present), ranking seventh with 343 victories.
- Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in attendance each of the past 10 seasons. Last year, the program finished fourth in the final NCAA attendance rankings with 8,377 fans per game, both setting new school records in the process. The Irish also have drawn 5,000-or-more fans to 141 of their last 143 home games, logging 12 Purcell Pavilion sellouts (including a school-record six last year, including four of the final five home games, most recently on March 1, 2010 vs. top-ranked Connecticut).
- The Irish have become a regular fixture in the WNBA Draft in recent years, as seven Notre Dame players have been selected in the past decade. Charel Allen was the most recent Irish player to be chosen, going to the Sacramento Monarchs in the third round (43rd overall pick) of the 2008 WNBA Draft. Ruth Riley (San Antonio) was active in the league during the ’10 season, helping the Silver Stars return to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Three of Notre Dame’s eight WNBA alums have won a total of four league championships — Riley won a pair of crowns with the Detroit Shock (2003 Finals MVP, 2006), Coquese Washington toiled for the 2000 Houston Comets, while Jacqueline Batteast was Riley’s teammate on the ’06 title-winning squad in Detroit.
- For the fifth year in a row, the Irish posted a perfect 100-percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to figures released by the NCAA in October 2010. What’s more, since Muffet McGraw became the Irish head coach in 1987, every Notre Dame women’s basketball player that has completed her athletic and academic eligibility at the University has earned her bachelor’s degree (a 62-for-62 success rate), with all three members of this year’s senior class on target to earn their diplomas.
A Quick Look At New Hampshire
New Hampshire begins a new era in 2010-11, as first-year head coach Maureen Magarity takes over the reins on the Durham, N.H., campus. She inherits a team that went 9-22 last season and posted a 3-13 record in America East Conference play.
The Wildcats do have 10 letterwinners returning from that squad, led by preseason all-conference junior forward Denise Beliveau, who averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game a year ago. Senior center Jill McDonald also could be heard from, following a season in which she averaged 9.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
UNH played just one exhibition game this season, falling to Bentley (Mass.) College, 78-51 on Monday in Durham, N.H. Redshirt freshman guard Kelsey Hogan scored a team-high 11 points for the Wildcats, who connected on 7-of-21 three-pointers in the loss.
The Notre Dame-New Hampshire Series
Friday will mark the first time Notre Dame and New Hampshire have played in the sport of women’s basketball.
Other Notre Dame-New Hampshire Series Tidbits
- New Hampshire is the first of seven first-time opponents on Notre Dame’s schedule this year. It’s also the second consecutive year that sees the Fighting Irish open their season against a new opponent — last year, Notre Dame downed Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 102-57, at Purcell Pavilion in the first meeting between those squads.
- The Wildcats will be the 181st different opponent in the 34-year history of Notre Dame women’s basketball.
- Notre Dame is 41-5 (.891) against first-time opponents since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, including a 21-1 (.955) mark vs. new teams since the start of the 2000-01 season with a current 16-game overall winning streak. The last first-time opponent to defeat Notre Dame was Colorado State, which earned a 72-66 victory on Nov. 21, 2001, in Fort Collins, Colo. — and the Fighting Irish responded by knocking off the Rams in each of the following three seasons.
- The Irish have won 19 consecutive home games against new opposition, dating back to Jan. 18, 1996, when Connecticut posted an 87-64 win at Purcell Pavilion.
- Notre Dame has played New Hampshire twice before in men’s basketball (both Fighting Irish home wins), most recently in the 2001-02 season opener (Nov. 24, 2001), when Notre Dame routed the Wildcats, 95-33, at Purcell Pavilion behind the first triple-double in Fighting Irish men’s basketball history by in the debut game for freshman guard Chris Thomas (24 points, 11 assists, 11 steals).
- Notre Dame has faced New Hampshire in a variety of other sports through the years, going 5-5-1 across those disciplines. In ice hockey, the Wildcats hold a 3-1-1 series lead on the Fighting Irish, but Notre Dame won the most recent meeting, 7-3 in the NCAA West Regional semifinals on March 28, 2008, in Colorado Springs (sparking the Fighting Irish to their first NCAA Frozen Four and ultimately a berth in the national championship game) … Notre Dame is 2-1 against UNH in men’s lacrosse, earning wins on March 13, 1993, in Boston (ND 17-7) and March 19, 1994, at Notre Dame (ND 14-4) following a 12-3 Wildcat win on March 24, 1985 in Baltimore … the Fighting Irish also have single series meetings against New Hampshire in women’s soccer (ND 11-1 on Aug. 26, 2005, in Burlington, Vt.), volleyball (ND 3-1 on Sept. 18, 1998, in East Lansing, Mich.) and baseball (UNH 9-0 on June 11, 1928, in Durham, N.H.).
- Notre Dame has had one player come from the state of New Hampshire during the program’s 34-year history. Nashua native Kara Leary suited up for the Fighting Irish from 1990-94 and was the starting point guard for Notre Dame’s 1994 NCAA tournament opener against Minnesota at Purcell Pavilion (an 81-76 Golden Gopher win).
- New Hampshire head coach Maureen Magarity began her college playing career at Boston College and suited up for one minute in Notre Dame’s 72-59 win over BC on Feb. 5, 2000, at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame vs. The America East Conference
Notre Dame has played only two current America East Conference members in its 34-year history, although in a strange twist, Friday will mark the second consecutive Fighting Irish home game against an America East opponent.
On Jan. 19, 1986 (17 months before Muffet McGraw was hired as Notre Dame’s head coach), Boston University edged the Fighting Irish, 74-72 at Purcell Pavilion, behind a game-high 23 points from Kim Dukes. Notre Dame was led by All-America forward Trena Keys (18 points) and Sandy Botham (14 points, 11 rebounds).
More recently on March 23, 2010, the Fighting Irish downed reigning America East tournament champion Vermont, 84-66 in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion. Then-freshman guard Skylar Diggins scored a career-high 31 points (on 13-of-21 shooting), while adding seven steals and six assists, as Notre Dame overcame an early 10-point deficit to book its eighth trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 in the past 14 seasons.
Blowing The Lid Off
Notre Dame is 25-8 (.758) all-time in season openers and carries a 15-game winning streak into Friday’s game against New Hampshire. The Fighting Irish also are 20-3 (.870) in season openers during the Muffet McGraw era (since 1987-88), with their last season-opening loss coming on Nov. 26, 1994 (65-60 in overtime at No. 25 Seton Hall). Last year, Notre Dame opened with a 102-57 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Purcell Pavilion.
The Irish also are 25-8 (.758) all-time in home openers, with a 19-4 (.826) mark under McGraw, following the win over UAPB last year.
We’re Getting The Band Back Together
Nearly a decade has passed since one of the signature moments in Notre Dame athletics history, when the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team defeated Purdue, 68-66, at the Savvis Center in St. Louis to win the program’s first NCAA national championship. Now, 10 years later, the members of that historic squad will be back on campus to celebrate that accomplishment once again.
This weekend, the 2000-01 Notre Dame women’s basketball team will take part in a variety of public and private events designed to commemorate that national championship season. The public centerpiece of this celebration takes place at Notre Dame’s season-opening game at 4 p.m. (ET) Friday against New Hampshire at Purcell Pavilion, with the ’00-01 players and coaches signing autographs (limit one item per person) for fans in Heritage Hall on the upper concourse of the arena from 2:45-3:45 p.m. (ET).
The team then will watch the current Fighting Irish squad take on New Hampshire, returning to the Purcell Pavilion hardwood collectively for the first time since that national championship game victory for a special halftime celebration. A similar ceremony will be held the next afternoon at halftime of the Notre Dame football game against Utah at Notre Dame Stadium.
In addition to the autograph session, fans will have the chance to watch this year’s season opener with the 2000-01 team from the new Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion, with tickets for this special offer available for $25 each (which includes unlimited food and soft drinks, with a separate game ticket also required for admission) by contacting the Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays.
What’s more, commemorative 2001 women’s basketball reunion t-shirts will be on sale in Heritage Hall on gameday at a cost of $15 each, with proceeds going to Notre Dame’s 2011 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone initiative.
In a curious twist, each of Notre Dame’s first three games (including its exhibition against Michigan Tech) will come against teams with first-year head coaches who are under the age of 30.
Division II Michigan Tech was led by 27-year-old Kim Cameron, who was a player (2001-05) and assistant coach (2005-10) with the Huskies.
New Hampshire is headed by 28-year-old Maureen Magarity, who played at both Boston College and Marist (2003 graduate) and most recently was associate head coach at the U.S. Military Academy, serving on the staff of her father, Dave.
Morehead State is coached by 28-year-old Tom Hodges, a former Middle Tennessee assistant who was months younger than Magarity at the time of his hire, making him the youngest NCAA Division I coach (men’s or women’s basketball) in the country this year.
Notre Dame Picked Fourth In 2010-11 BIG EAST Coaches’ Preseason Poll
Notre Dame was selected to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in 2010-11, according to a preseason vote of the league’s 16 head coaches released on Oct. 21 during the annual BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Media Day at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.
The Irish picked up 177 points in the balloting (coaches may not vote for their own teams), placing behind only two-time defending national champion Connecticut, which was a unanimous choice to win the conference title with 225 points, West Virginia (207 points, one first-place vote) and Georgetown (186 points) — St. John’s rounded out the top five with 173 points.
Diggins Earns 2010-11 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honors
Along with picking Notre Dame to finish fourth in the conference this year in their preseason poll, the BIG EAST coaches unanimously voted sophomore guard Skylar Diggins to the 10-player Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
A preseason candidate for both the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/State Farm Wade Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, as well as a consensus preseason All-American by most major media outlets, Diggins is coming off one of the finest rookie seasons in the 33-year history of Irish women’s basketball as the first freshman in 17 seasons to lead Notre Dame in scoring and the first Irish rookie in 16 years to top 100 assists in her debut season. What’s more, she finished as just the third player in program history (and the first freshman) to log 400 points, 100 assists and 75 steals in a single season, joining a pair of All-Americans and Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (top senior in the nation 5-foot-8 and under) recipients — current Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey (2000-01) and Megan Duffy (2004-05) — in achieving that distinction.
A 2009-10 honorable mention All-America selection by both the Associated Press and WBCA, Diggins led Notre Dame in scoring (13.8 ppg.), steals (2.6 spg.) and assists (tied – 3.2 apg.) last season, while ranking third on the squad in three-point percentage (.350) and free throw percentage (.782). She also chalked up a team-high 24 double-digit scoring games, including seven 20-point outings, capped by a season-high 31 points against Vermont in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion. That scoring effort was the highest ever recorded by an Irish rookie in NCAA postseason play, while her 13 field goals made tied the program record for an NCAA tournament game.
In 2009-10, Diggins set Notre Dame freshman records for steals (90), free throws made (111), free throws attempted (142) and minutes played (1,028), while ranking among the top five on the Irish rookie charts for points (3rd – 484), scoring average (tied/4th – 13.8 ppg.), field goals made (3rd – 169), field goals attempted (3rd – 385), three-point field goals made (4th – 35), three-point attempts (5th – 100), three-point percentage (5th – .350), assists (3rd – 112), steals per game (2nd – 2.6 spg.), games started (tied/2nd – 30), games played (2nd – 35) and minutes per game (5th – 29.4).
Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the 2010-11 preseason Associated Press poll, released on Oct. 29. That marks the 59th consecutive AP poll appearance for the Irish, tying a program record first set from 1998 (preseason poll) to Dec. 3, 2001.
This year’s No. 12 ranking also represents the 11th time in the past 12 years (starting with the 1999-2000 campaign) that Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason AP poll, something only eight schools in the nation have done — Connecticut, Duke and Tennessee have shown up in all 12 during that span, while Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Stanford join the Irish with 11 preseason AP poll berths.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP poll for 198 weeks during the program’s 34-year history, with every one of those appearances coming in the Muffet McGraw era (since 1987-88). McGraw ranks 13th among all active NCAA Division I head coaches for weeks in the AP poll, and also is 22nd all-time in that category.
In addition, the Irish are ranked 12th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today/WBCA coaches’ poll that was released Nov. 2. Notre Dame now has been ranked in the coaches’ survey for 59 of the past 60 weeks, falling just outside the Top 25 in the final poll of the 2008-09 season. Nevertheless, the Irish have appeared in the coaches’ poll for a total of 190 weeks during their history (all coming during McGraw’s tenure).
More Polling Data
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is one of 28 people in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history who have both played for and coached a team that has appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Besides her 198 AP poll appearances while coaching at Notre Dame, McGraw was the starting point guard at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.) as a senior in 1977, helping the Hawks rise to No. 3 in the nation.
Of the 28 people on this list, 15 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart), including former Irish point guard and assistant coach Coquese Washington (’92), who helped Notre Dame to its first-ever AP poll ranking in 1990-91, and is in her third season as head coach at Penn State, guiding the Lady Lions into the AP poll at No. 23 on Jan. 25, 2010.
Six of the 16 active coaches in this group — including McGraw — led their teams to this year’s NCAA Championship, while McGraw and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey are the only active skippers to play for and coach a team in the AP poll, and also coach that team to a national title (McGraw in 2001, Mulkey in 2005).
Exhibition Recap: Michigan Tech
Junior guard Natalie Novosel scored a game-high 21 points, including nine in a game-opening 17-0 run as the No. 12 Notre Dame women’s basketball team charged past Michigan Tech, 102-30, in the exhibition debut for both teams on Nov. 3 before an enthusiastic crowd of 7,464 at Purcell Pavilion.
Novosel connected on 8-of-11 shots from the field while adding a game-best six steals and five rebounds, all in just 18 minutes of action. She also led five Fighting Irish players in double figures, with freshman guard Kayla McBride coming off the bench to chip in 14 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Senior forward/co-captain Becca Bruszewski collected 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, while sophomore guard Skylar Diggins piled up 12 points, six rebounds and three assists (with only one turnover).
Junior guard Fraderica Miller rounded out the double-digit scoring parade for Notre Dame with 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting, and freshman forward Natalie Achonwa posted game highs of nine rebounds and three blocks.
The Fighting Irish shot 54.3 percent (38-of-70) in their first action of the season, and outrebounded the Huskies, 53-18 (including 25 offensive rebounds), leading to a 26-0 edge in second-chance points. Notre Dame also forced 33 turnovers, with 25 of those coming on steals, and limited MTU to a .211 field goal percentage (8-of-38) for the game.
No player scored in double figures for Michigan Tech, which is trying to replace the graduation of all five starters from last year’s 31-3 squad that won its second consecutive NCAA Division II Midwest Regional title and returned to the NCAA Elite Eight. Lindsey Lindstrom and Paige Albi shared team-high scoring honors for the Huskies with six points apiece.
Notre Dame wasted little time in taking control, scoring the first 17 points of the contest in the opening 4:38 of play. In addition to Novosel’s nine points in the run, the Fighting Irish also forced Michigan Tech to commit six turnovers on its first seven possessions, with five of those giveaways coming via Notre Dame steals. Lindstrom finally broke the ice for the Huskies by connecting on a three-pointer from the left side exactly five minutes into the game.
MTU seemed to stop the bleeding for the next four minutes, but then the Fighting Irish put together a 13-2 run right up to the eight-minute media timeout that hiked their lead to 37-7. Senior guard/co-captain Brittany Mallory tallied five points and Achonwa added four markers in the surge.
The Huskies again righted themselves temporarily, but Notre Dame then closed the half on a 15-3 run covering the final 6:08 of the period. Six different Fighting Irish players scored during that spree, led by Diggins’ five points, as Notre Dame took a 52-14 lead to the locker room.
Defense continued to be the story for the Fighting Irish in the second half, as Notre Dame held Michigan Tech without a single field goal for 11:35 during the middle portion of the stanza. All 12 Fighting Irish players in uniform would eventually find their way into the scorebook, including their two walk-ons — senior forward Mary Forr and junior guard Veronica Badway — who each scored in the final two minutes.
Noting The Michigan Tech Game
- Notre Dame posted its largest margin of victory ever in an exhibition game (72 points), eclipsing the old record of 66 points set in a 2008 win over Gannon (Pa.), 96-30.
- The Fighting Irish also tied the record for fewest points allowed in an exhibition, which had been set in that 2008 game against Gannon (and would have been broken had Michigan Tech’s Angela Guisfredi not banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer).
- Notre Dame topped the 100-point mark in exhibition play for the first time since 1998, when the Fighting Irish downed the Visby Ladies (a Swedish club), 111-82.
- The Fighting Irish have scored at least 90 points in their last five exhibitions, averaging 96.2 points per game in that stretch, and winning those five contests by an average of 53.2 points per night.
- Notre Dame has forced a combined 115 turnovers in their last three exhibition games (an average of 38.3 per game).
- The Fighting Irish improve to 31-1 in exhibition games since 1993-94, while extending their current winning streak in preseason play to 26 consecutive games.
- The popular “Big Mac” promotion returned to Purcell Pavilion for the fourth consecutive season, with fans in attendance receiving coupons for a free McDonald’s Big Mac any time the Fighting Irish score 88 points in a game — ironically, it was Notre Dame’s most recent McDonald’s All-American (McBride) who did the honors with the season’s first “Big Mac Basket”, knocking down a mid-range jumper on the left side with four minutes to play.
- The attendance of 7,464 was the second-largest crowd ever for a Notre Dame women’s basketball exhibition, topped only by last year’s audience of 7,508 for a 97-53 win over Indianapolis at Purcell Pavilion.
McGraw Is Simply Legendary
The announcement on July 10, 2010, may have made it official, but it really only confirmed what Notre Dame fans have known for a very long time — head coach Muffet McGraw is a Hall of Famer.
McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of more than 600 games in her illustrious career, was one of six people — and the lone coach — named to the 2011 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class, as announced in Uncasville, Conn., during the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game” that was televised live nationally on ESPN from Mohegan Sun Arena.
The others in McGraw’s Hall of Fame class include former Olympic gold medalists Ruthie Bolton (Auburn) and Vicky Bullett (Maryland), as well as Val Ackerman, the first WNBA president (1996-2005) and first female president of USA Basketball (2005-08), and a pair of three-time All-America players from the pre-NCAA era, Pearl Moore (Frances Marion) and Lometa Odom (Wayland Baptist).
The ’11 class offically will be introduced at the 2010 State Farm Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., when Connecticut and Baylor meet at 6 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. The group then will be enshrined June 10-12, 2011, during the 13th annual Induction Weekend at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.
McGraw becomes the first Notre Dame selection for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The Irish skipper also is the third BIG EAST Conference coach chosen for the honor, joining Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (2001) and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (2006) in that elite company. First-year Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan also was a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1999, going in primarily for her accomplishments as a player at Old Dominion.
McGraw also will be the ninth active college head coach to enter the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on the basis of her success on the sidelines. Besides Stringer and Auriemma, the others on this notable list are: Pat Summitt (1999 – Tennessee), Van Chancellor (2001 – LSU), Tara VanDerveer (2002 – Stanford), Sylvia Hatchell (2004 – North Carolina), Andy Landers (2007 – Georgia) and Debbie Ryan (2008 – Virginia).
Half And Half
During the past decade, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 188-17 (.917) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 116 of their last 127 such contests.
Notre Dame led at the break in 25 games last season and went on to earn victories each time.
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense…
During the past 16 seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season (Notre Dame’s first in the BIG EAST Conference), the Irish have an amazing 208-15 (.933) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game, including a 13-1 record last season.
The lone loss? A 59-44 setback to top-ranked Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals on March 8, 2010, in Hartford, Conn.
…But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. During the past 16 seasons (since 1995-96), the Irish are 140-4 (.972) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are a pair of overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995, a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998, and an 81-80 loss to DePaul in 2008.
Last season, Notre Dame was 17-0 when it scored at least 80 points, including four games when it topped the 90-point mark.
Now That’s A Home Court Advantage
One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame’s success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 189 of their last 214 games (.883) at the 9,149-seat Purcell Pavilion, including winning streaks of 51 and 25 games in that span. Notre Dame also has a 106-18 (.855) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the former Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game league winning streak at home before it ended with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the ’02 home finale.
The Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 85 of their last 92 non-BIG EAST contests (.924) at Purcell Pavilion, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the seven losses in that span came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents (four by 12 points or less) — Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54), Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT), Indiana in 2006 (54-51) and Minnesota in 2009 (79-71) — with the other two defeats coming to Tennessee in 2005 (62-51) and 2008 (87-63). The Purdue loss also snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak which began after the UW setback.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the former Joyce Center, posting a 339-86 (.798) record at the venerable facility. Three times (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Irish went a perfect 15-0 at home, which was the school record for home victories in a season prior to last year, when Notre Dame went 16-1, capped by an 84-66 triumph over Vermont on March 23, 2010, in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Irish Are The Hottest Ticket In Town
The 2009-10 season saw an unprecedented surge in fan support for Notre Dame women’s basketball, as the Irish set new program records for the highest year-end NCAA attendance ranking (fourth), highest average attendance (8,377 fans per game) and most sellouts (six) in a single season. And, as the old saying goes — “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
For the second consecutive preseason, Notre Dame fans have all but exhausted the program’s season ticket packages (close to 7,500) and are snapping up single-game ducats at a rate that will have the Irish challenging their freshly-minted single-season average attendance record in 2010-11.
Part of the appeal of Notre Dame women’s basketball can be traced to the renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, which has yet another new feature this season with the addition of a four-sided LED video scoreboard high above center court, as well as LED auxiliary scoreboards above all four court-level entrance ramps and at the scorer’s table.
Irish On Your Radio Dial
Beginning with the 2008-09 athletics year, the Notre Dame athletics department announced it had partnered with the LeSEA Broadcasting Network, making Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) the new radio home of Notre Dame women’s basketball in the South Bend market.
LeSEA originates all Notre Dame women’s basketball games, with those events carried on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), marking a return to the FM side of the dial for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Combined, these two stations blanket the nation’s No. 91 media market (South Bend-Elkhart), covering a 21-county area in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan that contains more than 1.35 million listeners (better than 800,000 in the greater South Bend area alone). All told, Notre Dame’s women’s basketball network stretches from Kalamazoo, Mich., to the north, North Judson, Ind., to the west, Macy, Ind., (home of former Irish All-America center Ruth Riley) to the south, and LaGrange, Ind., to the east.
Women’s basketball game broadcasts also continue to be streamed live and free of charge on Notre Dame’s official athletics web site (www.UND.com) through the Fighting Irish All-Access multimedia package.
Bob Nagle, the voice of Notre Dame women’s basketball from 1996-97 through 1998-99 (including the program’s first NCAA Final Four berth in 1997), returns for his third season in his second stint as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Irish.
Notre Dame On The Small Screen
Notre Dame will have at least 21 regular season games televised during the 2010-11 season. Highlighting this year’s broadcast schedule are seven nationally- or regionally-televised Irish women’s basketball contests, including the program’s fourth-ever appearance on network television (Jan. 8 vs. Connecticut on CBS), two showings on the ESPN family of networks, and three others on CBS College Sports.
In addition, Notre Dame continues to expand its broadcast reach globally on the Internet. All Irish regular-season home games not selected for commercial TV coverage will be webcast live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com, via the site’s free multimedia package, Fighting Irish All-Access.
This year’s TV slate continues an emerging trend that has seen the Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01 and continuing through the end of last season, Notre Dame has played in 167 televised games, including 113 that were broadcast nationally.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Senior forward Becca Bruszewski and senior guard Brittany Mallory will serve as Notre Dame’s team captains for the 2010-11 season. Both players received the captain’s honor for the first time in their respective careers following a vote of their teammates prior to the season.
And Two Makes A Baker’s Dozen
Notre Dame has added two walk-on players to its 2010-11 roster, with both earning their way onto the squad through preseason workouts.
Junior guard Veronica Badway (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was a standout prep player at Fox Chapel Area High School, averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game as a senior in 2007-08, leading the team to its first section title in the program’s 24-year history.
Badway currently is enrolled in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business as an accounting major. She has made the dean’s list each semester at Notre Dame and was a recipient of Notre Dame’s Accountancy Excellence Scholarship.
Senior forward Mary Forr (Altoona, Pa.) has been a member of the Irish practice squad off and on for the past three seasons, following a successful career at Bishop Guilfoyle High School. As a senior in 2006-07, she earned first-team all-state honors after averaging 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and helping BGHS to a 30-1 record and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class A state title.
Forr presently is enrolled in Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters, where she is pursuing a double major in political science and philosophy. She also is active with the St. Joseph County chapter of the Special Olympics.
Next Game: Morehead State
It’s a quick turnaround for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish return to the Purcell Pavilion hardwood at 7 p.m. (ET) Monday when they play host to another first-time opponent, Morehead State.
The Eagles return five letterwinners, including three starters, from last year’s squad that went 22-11 and finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 14-4 record.
Like Notre Dame, MSU opens its season on Friday, paying a visit to No. 9/10 Kentucky for a rare 11 a.m. (ET) tipoff that will make it the first Division I women’s basketball game in the country this year.
— ND —