Senior guard (and Chicagoland native) Lindsay Schrader will lead the #13/7 Irish into a Saturday matinee against Loyola-Chicago at the Joyce Center (2 p.m. ET, live video/audio/stats on

#13/7 Irish Back From Exam Break To Host Loyola-Chicago

Dec. 19, 2008

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2008-09 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 10
#13/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Loyola Ramblers (5-3 / 0-0 Horizon)

DATE: December 20, 2008
TIME: 2:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Joyce Center (11,418)
SERIES: ND leads 20-3
1ST MTG: ND 80-61 (2/4/83)
LAST MTG: ND 92-76 (2/4/95)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) / (video) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356


  • Notre Dame plays at home for the only time in a 34-day stretch from Dec. 7-Jan. 10.
  • Loyola is the third opponent on this year’s Irish schedule that Notre Dame has not faced in at least 13 years.

No. 13/7 Irish Back From Exam Break To Host Loyola-Chicago
Chances are the sigh of relief heard emanating from the Notre Dame campus had something to do with the end of the final exam period, as the No. 13/7 Irish get back to the business of basketball Saturday with a 2 p.m. (ET) game against Loyola at the Joyce Center. It’s also the only time Notre Dame will enjoy the creature comforts of home for more than a month, as the Irish are in the midst of a stretch in which they play six out of seven games on the road (including a four-game road swing coming back from the Christmas break).

Notre Dame (8-1) last saw the hardwood on Dec. 13, earning a 63-55 victory at another Horizon League opponent, Valparaiso. Led by junior guards Melissa Lechlitner and Ashley Barlow, as well as some timely defense from freshman forward Erica Solomon, the Irish closed the game on a 13-5 run to preserve the win.

Lechlitner scored a game-high 18 points (12 in the second half), while Barlow added 15 points and senior guard Lindsay Schrader chipped in 14 points for Notre Dame.


  • Notre Dame is ranked 13th in the latest Associated Press poll and seventh in the current ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.
  • Loyola is not ranked.

A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Following two seasons of impressive growth and development, Notre Dame has constructed a firm foundation upon which to build its next championship contender. The Irish enter the 2008-09 season on the heels of a seventh trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a highly-competitive effort in that regional semifinal that has players, coaches and followers optimistic that even greater success may be on the horizon.

Notre Dame has three starters and seven monogram winners returning this season from a squad that ranked among the top 10 in the country in scoring offense (8th – 76.2 ppg) and scoring margin (10th – +14.6 ppg) a year ago. The Irish also have many of the pieces back from the ’07-08 club that led the BIG EAST in steals for the second consecutive year (school-record 397, 11.68 per game) and forced an opponent-record 737 turnovers.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Notre Dame’s present upward mobility has coincided with the arrival of its current junior class, including guards and co-captains Ashley Barlow and Melissa Lechlitner. Barlow earned honorable mention all-BIG EAST status last year and is the team’s top returning scorer (12.1 ppg), while also setting the defensive tone with a team-high 68 steals last season. Meanwhile, Lechlitner (5.5 ppg, 2.6 apg) assumes the mantle of leadership from the point guard position after two consistent years as a reliable understudy to Tulyah Gaines.

The Irish also should benefit from the veteran experience and guidance of senior guard and co-captain Lindsay Schrader, who joined Barlow on last year’s BIG EAST honorable mention squad after logging 10.3 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game. She earned similar status this fall in preseason voting by the conference coaches and gives Notre Dame a unique blend of toughness and determination that has become the common thread running through the team’s recent resurgence.

The Irish sophomore class proved to be an exceptional complement to their predecessors last season, led by forward Devereaux Peters (9.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.0 bpg), who was a BIG EAST All-Freshman Team choice despite missing the final 11 games of the year with a knee injury. Guard Brittany Mallory (6.3 ppg, 34 3FG) joined Peters on the conference’s all-rookie squad, while forward Becca Bruszewski (5.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg) may be the team’s most improved player heading into this season after a scintillating three-game NCAA Tournament performance that included a season-high 16 points against both SMU and Tennessee.

Potent Notables About The Irish

  • Notre Dame is among the nation’s winningest programs during the past 12 seasons (1996-97 to present), ranking seventh with 300 victories.
  • Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in attendance each of the past eight seasons. This year, the program has averaged 7,504 fans for its first four home games. The Irish also have drawn 5,000-or-more fans to 114 of their last 116 home games, including six Joyce Center sellouts of 11,418 (most recently on Dec. 7, 2008 vs. Purdue).
  • 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 eight seasons. 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. Allen, Megan Duffy (New York) and Ruth Riley (San Antonio) all were active in the league during the ’08 season, with all three teams making the playoffs (San Antonio made the WNBA Finals, while New York was the Eastern Conference runner-up). 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 third year in a row, the Irish posted a perfect 100-percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to figures released by the NCAA in October 2008. Notre Dame also was one of only four teams with a perfect ’07 GSR to advance to the 2008 NCAA Sweet 16 (joining Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt). Furthermore, 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 graduated (a 57-for-57 success rate).

A Quick Look At Loyola
If it’s possible to be young and experienced at the same time, then Loyola has certainly found the formula this season. The Ramblers have all five starters and nine letterwinners back from a year ago, along with six newcomers, while only three members of this year’s club are seniors.

Loyola (5-3) has won three of its last four games coming into Saturday’s matinee at Notre Dame. Most recently, the Ramblers outgunned Central Michigan, 87-82 on Thursday night in Chicago, behind a career-high 35-point performance from junior guard Maggie McCloskey (who buried 9-of-14 three-point attempts). Junior center Shannon Finnegan came off the bench to supply 15 points (on 7-of-9 shooting) and junior forward Elyse VanBogaert chipped in 14 points for Loyola, which shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57) from the field, including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the three-point line.

McCloskey leads the Ramblers in scoring (15.6 ppg.), assists (3.6 apg.) and three-point percentage (.492), while VanBogaert is second in scoring (14.8 ppg.), and tops in rebounding (7.4 rpg.) and field goal percentage (.533). Junior guard Keisha Collins also scores in double figures (11.4 ppg.) while adding 3.0 assists and a team-high 1.8 steals per game.

Head coach Shannon Reidy is in her fourth season at Loyola with a record of 24-72 (.250). Saturday will mark her first-ever matchup with Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame-Loyola Series
Notre Dame and Loyola used to have a regular date (or two) each season, playing at least once or twice per year as members of the North Star and Midwestern Collegiate conferences from 1983-95. The Irish lead the all-time series with the Ramblers, 20-3, including a 10-1 mark at the Joyce Center, where the teams have not played since March 1994. Notre Dame also has won the past 13 games and 19 of the past 20 meetings with Loyola, with the Ramblers’ last series win (and only one since Muffet McGraw became the Irish head coach) coming on Feb. 18, 1989, in Chicago (a 108-77 LU triumph).

The Last Time Notre Dame and Loyola Met
It was the three-headed monster of Beth Morgan, Katryna Gaither and Letitia Bowen that made the difference as Notre Dame broke away from a halftime tie with a blistering second-half shooting effort on the way to a 92-76 win over Loyola on Feb. 4, 1995, at Alumni Gym in Chicago.

The Irish shot 73.1 percent from the floor (19-of-26) in the final 20 minutes and finished the night with a .574 mark. Morgan scores a game-high 29 points and eight rebounds, while Gaither had 28 points (on 14-of-17 shooting) and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Bowen turned in an all-around stellar performance with 17 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and six steals, narrowly missing out on becoming just the second Irish player ever to record a triple-double.

Notre Dame led by as many as six points in the first half, but the Ramblers answered later in the period with a 14-6 run to grab a 38-34 lead. However, Bowen canned a pair of free throws and Mollie Peirick sank a jumper just before the the horn to tie the game at the half.

Neither side led by more than four points until Katy Winski, who scored a team-high 21 points, hit the second of two foul shots with 11:15 to play, giving Loyola its largest lead of the game at 57-52. The Irish then countered with a quick 18-4 burst during the next five minutes, paced by eight points from Morgan. The hosts never got closer than seven points the rest of the way, with the final margin being the largest of the day for Notre Dame.

Other Notre Dame-Loyola Series Tidbits

  • The Irish and Ramblers will be meeting for the first time in nearly 14 years, the last of three non-conference series for Notre Dame that were renewed this season following double-digit dormancy (Eastern Michigan – 24 years; Evansville – 15).
  • Notre Dame has won the past 10 series games at the Joyce Center after Loyola took their first-ever matchup in South Bend, 59-56 on Jan. 18, 1984.
  • In spite of the long layoff, Loyola remains one of the most frequently-played opponents in Irish women’s basketball history. The only longer series in the program’s record books are: Marquette (33 games entering 2008-09), DePaul (30), Dayton (28), Connecticut/Butler (25), and Detroit/Georgetown/Rutgers (24). Several other schools (Syracuse, Villanova and Xavier) have played the Irish 23 times before.
  • Loyola head coach Shannon Reidy formerly walked the sidelines at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill. from 1995-2004, while two current Ramblers recently graduated from the school — junior guard Keisha Collins (in 2006) and second-semester freshman center Caitlin Pauley (in 2007). Both Collins and Pauley were prep teammates with point guard Kaila Turner, who signed a National Letter of Intent last month to attend Notre Dame beginning next year.
  • Turner will be the 11th Chicagoland native to play for the Irish, with two members of the current Notre Dame roster hailing from the Windy City — senior guard Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett/Bartlett HS) and sophomore forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago/Fenwick HS).

Notre Dame vs. The Horizon League
Notre Dame is 102-14 (.879) all-time against the Horizon League, including a 51-5 (.911) record at the Joyce Center. The Irish also have won 27 consecutive games against current Horizon League members, including 12 in a row at home, following a 65-62 loss to Butler on Jan. 22, 1994, at the Joyce Center.

As a former member of the Horizon League (back when it was known as the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1988-95), the Irish have extensive experience against several of its members. In addition to their affiliation with the MCC, Notre Dame and Loyola were members of the North Star Conference from 1983-88.

However, since leaving the MCC in 1995, Notre Dame has played only three Horizon League opponents, downing Butler three times from 1997-99, defeating Cleveland State in 2002, and knocking off Valparaiso the past two years (the Crusaders moved to the Horizon League prior to last season).

Loyola is the second consecutive Horizon League opponent for the Irish, with those games bookending the Notre Dame exam break. The Irish went into the finals period on a high note with a 63-55 win at Valparaiso on Dec. 13.

Going Out On A High Note
Notre Dame has made a habit of heading into the Christmas holiday with a victory, having won 12 consecutive pre-Yuletide games and going 22-9 (.710) all-time in such contests. The last time the Irish lost their final game before Christmas was Dec. 21, 1995 (their first season in the BIG EAST Conference), when Michigan State pulled out an 87-83 overtime win in East Lansing, Mich.

No More Teachers, No More Books
Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive games coming off the final exam break (in 1994 and 1997, no games were played between the end of exams and Christmas). However, because of the extended layoff due to finals and associated sluggishness, many of these post-exam break games have been exceptionally close.

Recent examples of this came in 1999 (a 68-62 win at Florida International, closing the game on an 11-5 run in the final 2:43) and 2004 (a 50-47 win at Marquette on Jacqueline Batteast’s three-pointer at the horn). Last season, the Irish ground their way to a 66-47 win at IUPUI, a bizarre game that saw neither team make a three-pointer in a combined 14 attempts.

The last time Notre Dame lost a game when coming out of its final exam break was Dec. 21, 1985, when Mary DiStanislao’s Irish dropped a 73-67 decision to UCLA at the Joyce Center.

Piping Hot Turnovers
After forcing an opponent-record 737 turnovers (21.7 per game) last season, Notre Dame is at it again early this year, causing 200 turnovers (22.2 per game) in its first nine outings.

The majority of those turnovers have come via Irish steals, with Notre Dame registering 102 thefts (11.3 per game) after leading the BIG EAST Conference in that category each of the past two seasons.

Long Distance Defense
One of the focal points of Notre Dame’s preseason workouts was improving its three-point defense, after opponents shot .355 from beyond the arc last year. It would appear that early-season emphasis has paid off.

Notre Dame is ranked ninth in the country (and second in the BIG EAST) in three-point percentage defense this season, holding opponents to a .228 percentage (28-of-123) from long range. What’s more, in the first nine games, the best any Irish opponent has managed to connect from outside of the 19-9 arc was the 33.3-percent efficiency posted by Evansville (6-of-18) and Boston College (2-of-6).

In the six games since that BC contest on Nov. 23, Notre Dame has posted a .211 three-point percentage defense (20-of-95), with half of those 20 treys coming in two games (five each by Eastern Michigan and Valparaiso).

Deep Thoughts
Notre Dame has found its shooting eye from the three-point line this season, connecting at a .408 clip from distance (42-of-103) and hitting at least five triples in five of the past eight games. The Irish currently rank second in the BIG EAST and eighth in the country (as of Monday) in three-point efficiency.

Notre Dame was particularly prolific from the arc in a four-game stretch from Nov. 19-29, making a combined 29 treys in that span (seven each in wins over Evansville and Boston College, six against Georgia Southern and nine vs. Michigan State).

One also has to go back seven years to find the last time Notre Dame made more than 29 combined three-pointers in a four-game span. From Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 2001, Notre Dame was lights-out from the arc at Colorado State (7), at Arizona (7), home vs. Army (10) and at a neutral site vs. Michigan (8).

The nine three-pointers and 25 attempts against MSU also were the most for Notre Dame in a single game since March 3, 2002, when the Irish went 10-for-26 from beyond the arc in an 84-79 loss to Syracuse in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Piscataway, N.J.

Spreading The Wealth
Notre Dame has seen six different players lead the team in scoring this season, with five of the Irish leading scorers registering a career-scoring high — Becca Bruszewski at Boston College (18), Brittany Mallory vs. Georgia Southern (19), Kellie Watson vs. Michigan State (18), Natalie Novosel at Eastern Michigan (18) and Melissa Lechlitner vs. Purdue (19). The other team-leading scorer this season has been junior guard Ashley Barlow, who has set the pace for the Irish three times.

In an interesting twist, the team’s No. 2 scorer, senior guard Lindsay Schrader, has not led the team in scoring in any game this season. However, she has remained remarkably consistent throughout the campaign, scoring in double figures in seven of nine games to date.

For the season, 10 of the 12 players on Notre Dame roster have scored in double figures at least once, with freshman guard Fraderica Miller aiming to join that club (along with walk-on junior guard Alena Christiansen, who was added to the Irish roster on Dec. 19).

More On The Balance Beam
Notre Dame is ranked among the top 50 in 12 of a possible 18 NCAA team statistical categories (as of Monday). Included in that count are seven top 20 rankings, paced by a No. 8 rank in three-point percentage (.408), No. 9 in three-point percentage defense (.228) and No. 10 in field goal percentage (.467).

At the same time, only one Irish player is appearing in the top 50 of the 10 NCAA individual statistical rankings — junior guard Ashley Barlow presently stands 22nd in the nation in steals with 3.33 per game.

Thirty Deeds
Last year, the Irish tied a school record with 10 wins by 30-or-more points. It would seem Notre Dame is intent on challenging that mark this season, having won three games this season by at least 35 points — a first in school history.

Late in November, the Irish posted two of the larger winning margins in the program’s record books, rolling to a 48-point victory at Boston College (102-54), followed by a 49-point win at home over Georgia Southern (85-36).

In fact, the only time Notre Dame logged a larger combined margin of victory in consecutive games than this past week’s 97-point spread was Nov. 24-25, 1989, at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla., when the Irish downed Liberty (113-35) and host Central Florida (81-61) by a combined 98 points.

Strong Out Of The Gate
At 7-0, Notre Dame got off to its best start since a similar 7-0 opening in 2004-05, a run that included winning the Preseason WNIT. It’s also matched the second-best start in school history, topped only by a 23-0 debut (and 34-2 overall record) during the program’s 2000-01 national championship season.

Three of Notre Dame’s wins this season have come against ranked opponents, marking just the second time in school history the Irish notched three Top 25 victories in their opening seven contests. In 1998-99, Notre Dame knocked off No. 6 UCLA (99-82), No. 6/4 Duke (84-57) and No. 25/23 Illinois (101-93) in its first four games on the way to a 26-5 record.

Polling Station
Notre Dame is ranked 13th in this week’s Associated Press poll, down five spots from last week’s season-high ranking of eighth. Still, it’s the 26th consecutive AP poll appearance for the Irish, who rose into the Top 10 for the ninth time in the past 13 seasons (1996-97 through 2008-09) with its No. 8 position last week.

Notre Dame also has been ranked in the AP poll for 165 weeks during the program’s 32-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 stands 25th all-time in that category.

In addition, the Irish earned their 26th consecutive ranking in Tuesday’s ESPN/USA Today/WBCA coaches’ poll, moving up one spot to a season-high seventh. It’s the highest ranking for Notre Dame in the coaches poll since the week of Feb. 15, 2005, when the Irish also checked in at No. 7. The Irish now have appeared in the coaches’ poll for 157 weeks during its history (all coming during McGraw’s tenure).

More Polling Data
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is one of 24 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 165 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 24 people on this list, 13 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart).

Game #9 Recap: Valparaiso
Wide open for a three, Ashley Barlow decided to ignore Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw’s order to drive inside.

Her three-point shot bounced high off the rim, then ricocheted two more times off metal before finally falling through for the first three-pointer of the game for the eighth-ranked Irish, giving them a four-point lead as visiting Notre Dame finished with a 13-5 run to beat Valparaiso 63-55 on Dec. 13.

Valparaiso (4-3), coming off a 71-60 upset of No. 21 Purdue on three days earlier, trailed 38-31 after Barlow drove inside for a basket three minutes into the second half. But Valparaiso tied the score at 42 when Aimee Litka hit a 3 midway through the second half.

But then Melissa Lechlitner scored 12 of her 18 points in the final 9:22 to rally the Irish.

Whitney Farris scored inside for the Crusaders to cut the lead to 55-53. But the Irish scored the next three baskets, with Lechlitner putting the game away with a 12-foot jumper with 51 seconds left.

Barlow had 15 points and Lindsay Schrader added 14 points and six rebounds for the Irish. Agnieszka Kulaga led Valparaiso with 12 points and Lauren Kenney had 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Valparaiso got off to a strong start, making 7 of 10 shots to open a 15-8 lead when Ashley Varner scored inside six minutes into the game. Defensively, the Crusaders held Notre Dame to 4-of-13 shooting.

But the Irish closed to 16-15 on a three-point play by Erica Solomon, igniting a 16-0 run by the Irish to take a 28-16 lead as Valparaiso missed 16 consecutive shots and had five turnovers during the run, including a shot-clock violation. The Irish led 32-24 at halftime.

Noting The Valparaiso Game

  • Notre Dame remains unbeaten in 22 series games against Valparaiso, the most wins against one opponent without a loss in school history.
  • The Irish also improve to 10-0 all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center, with this being the fourth consecutive series game at the ARC that was decided by 10 points or fewer (and six of the past eight series games overall).
  • Notre Dame has held Valparaiso to 60 points or fewer in 20 of 22 series games, while the Irish have scored at least 60 points in 15 of 22 games (including 13 of the past 15).
  • Notre Dame’s 22 wins over the Crusaders are the most against an Indiana opponent in school history.
  • Notre Dame had at least three double-figure scorers for the eighth time in nine games this season, going 8-0 in those contests.
  • The Irish held their sixth opponent this year to less than 40 percent shooting, moving to 6-0 in those games.
  • Lechlitner scored in double figures for the third time in four games, finishing one point off her career high (Dec. 7 vs. No. 17/20 Purdue).
  • Barlow scored in double digits for the 12th consecutive game, dating back to last year.
  • Schrader posted her seventh double-figure scoring game in nine outings this year, and is shooting .667 (10-of-15) from the floor in her last two games.
  • Solomon registered a season-high three steals and tied her season best with 23 minutes played, while winding up one block off her personal high (set at Eastern Michigan on Dec. 2); Solomon also has been a force on the glass of late, averaging 6.0 rebounds in her last four games.
  • Irish head coach Muffet McGraw coached the 800th game of her career, improving to 570-230 (.713) in 27 seasons, the past 22 at Notre Dame.

Peters, Mallory Out For Season
Sophomores Devereaux Peters and Brittany Mallory will miss the remainder of the 2008-09 season after each player suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee. Peters’ injury occurred in the first half of Notre Dame’s win at Boston College on Nov. 23. Meanwhile, Mallory went down in the opening minute of overtime on Dec. 10 at Michigan. Both players are expected to undergo corrective surgery in the coming weeks before beginning their respective rehabilitation programs.

Peters had played in only three games at the time of her injury, while Mallory had seen action in seven games. Thus, both players appear to meet the guidelines for the NCAA’s hardship waiver (Rule 14.2.4; sometimes informally referred to as a “medical redshirt”) that stipulates a petitioning student-athlete may not have played in more than 30 percent of a team’s scheduled number of regular-season games (Notre Dame is slated to play 28 regular-season games in 2008-09).

Both players are expected to petition for the NCAA hardship waiver. If granted, both Peters and Mallory will maintain three years of athletic eligibility beginning with the 2009-10 season.

Christiansen Joins Irish Roster
With the injuries to Devereaux Peters and Brittany Mallory, Notre Dame has added junior walk-on guard Alena Christiansen to its roster, with the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native expected to be in uniform for Saturday’s game against Loyola.

A supplemental biographical sketch on Christiansen can be found in the players’ section of the PDF version of these game notes.

Half And Half
During the past nine seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 153-15 (.911) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 81 of their last 90 such contests.

This season, Notre Dame is 7-1 when up at the break, doing so in its last eight games (losing only in OT at Michigan on Dec. 10).

Last year, the Irish went 22-2 when they led at the break, failing only to do so in their two postseason losses (BIG EAST quarterfinal vs. Pittsburgh, NCAA Oklahoma City Regional semifinal vs. Tennessee), although the UT lead marked the first time Notre Dame was up on the Lady Vols at the half in 20 series games.

The Best Offense Is A Good Defense…
During the past 14 seasons (1995-96 to present), 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 189-12 (.940) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game.

Notre Dame has added five more wins to that ledger this year with wins over LSU, Boston College, Georgia Southern, Purdue and Valparaiso.

…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 14 seasons (since 1995-96), the Irish are 118-4 (.967) 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.

Notre Dame has scored at least 80 points in four games this year, winning each time. Last season, the Irish won 14 of 15 games when reaching the 80-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 166 of their last 187 games (.888) at the 11,418-seat Joyce Center, including winning streaks of 51 and 25 games in that span. Notre Dame also has a 93-15 (.861) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the 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 75 of their last 81 non-BIG EAST contests (.926) at the Joyce Center, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Four of the losses in that span came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents — Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54), Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT) and Indiana in 2006 (54-51) — 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 Joyce Center, posting a 316-82 (.794) record at the venerable facility. Three times (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Irish went a perfect 15-0 at home, setting a school record for home wins in a season.

Crowded House
The Dec. 7 home game against No. 17/20 Purdue was officially sold out, representing the sixth women’s basketball sellout (11,418 capacity) in school history and the third in the past two seasons. It also was the first time in the 22-game series between the Irish and Boilermakers that an on-campus game has sold out.

Last year, Notre Dame sold out its games against Tennessee and Connecticut, and nearly did the same for the Michigan contest, drawing 10,825 fans for that game.

A full rundown of the top crowds in Joyce Center history can be found in the sidebar on page 9 of the PDF version of this notes package.

Irish Have New Home On The Dial
On Aug. 27, 2008, 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 now originates all Notre Dame women’s basketball games, with those events carried on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), marking the first time since the 1998-99 season that the Irish are heard on an FM station. Combined, these two stations blanket the nation’s No. 89 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 new 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 ( through the Fighting Irish All-Access multimedia package.

The new agreement includes extensive Notre Dame athletics promotion aired on a combination of the LeSEA stations.

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 as the play-by-play voice of the Irish this season.

Notre Dame On The Small Screen
Notre Dame will have at least 20 regular-season games televised during the upcoming 2008-09 season. Highlighting this year’s broadcast schedule are eight nationally-televised Irish women’s basketball contests, including five games on the ESPN family of networks (beginning with the Nov. 16 State Farm Tip-Off Classic win at LSU, which aired on ESPN2 and and three others on CBS College Sports.

In addition, Notre Dame continues to expand its broadcast reach globally on the Internet. All 11 Irish regular-season home games not selected for commercial TV coverage will air live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site,, via the site’s free multimedia package, Fighting Irish All-Access.

This year’s TV slate continues a recent trend that has seen the Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01 and continuing through this year, Notre Dame has played in 122 televised games, including 72 that were broadcast nationally.

Oh Captain, My Captain
Senior guard Lindsay Schrader and junior guards Ashley Barlow and Melissa Lechlitner are team captains for the 2008-09 season. All three players are serving as captains for the first time in their careers, and each received the captain’s honor following a vote of their teammates prior to the season.

Irish In The Pink (Zone) All Season Long
Notre Dame is proud to be a participant in the second annual Pink Zone initiative, created by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) in order to heighten breast cancer awareness and raise money for research towards finding a cure for the disease.

Throughout the 2008-09 season, the Irish will take part in several activities centered around the Pink Zone initiative, including:

  • Open Practice/Tip-Off Luncheon – On Oct. 19, the Irish open the doors to one of their preseason practice sessions and allowed approximately 600 season ticket holders to watch the team prepare for the upcoming season. A luncheon with the team followed and a total of $3,311 was raised.
  • Three-Point Pledge – Fans can pledge an amount to donate for every three-pointer the Irish make this season. Pledge cards are available at the Joyce Center Gate 10 marketing table prior to each home game.
  • Beanie Bears/Calendars – The Irish are collecting a $5 donation for every special-edition Notre Dame women’s basketball beanie bear and team calendar sold during the season.
  • T-Shirt Sales – Specially-commissioned “Irish Believe” pink t-shirts are on sale in the Hammes Bookstore and Varsity Shop on the Notre Dame campus. Proceeds from the sales of the t-shirt will go to breast cancer awareness and research.
  • Brittany and Becca’s Class – Sophomores Brittany Mallory and Becca Bruszewski currently are taking a management class in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business under the guidance of Chuck Lennon, an Irish women’s basketball season ticket holder, as well as Associate Vice President for University Relations and Executive Director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. This class has been focusing on ways to help promote and enhance the Pink Zone initiative on the Notre Dame campus and rolled out their ideas at the Dec. 7 Purdue game.
  • Pink Zone Challenge – The Irish women’s basketball program has challenged some of the other top-drawing teams in the country to a friendly fund-raising competition to see which school can raise the most money for breast cancer awareness and research during the WBCA’s designated Pink Zone games (Feb. 13-22, 2009). A total of 15 schools from among the top 20 in last year’s final NCAA attendance rankings have committed for this inaugural challenge — Baylor, Connecticut, Duke, LSU, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. The school raising the most money during their specific Pink Zone game will earn the first-ever Pink Zone Challenge Trophy, to be commissioned by Notre Dame and awarded during the WBCA National Convention, to be held April 3-7, 2009, at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in St. Louis.
  • Game Day (Feb. 8 vs. DePaul) – The Irish have selected their Feb. 8 home game against DePaul as Notre Dame’s Pink Zone game, presented by Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. The Irish will take the court in white, pink and navy uniforms, specially-designed by the school’s official athletics apparel provider, adidas. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a free pink Irish t-shirt, compliments of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, and pink pom-poms, balloons and posters will fill the crowd. In addition, breast cancer survivors will be recognized on the court during a special halftime ceremony. What’s more, should Notre Dame sell out this game, the Irish will donate an additional $10,000 to the Pink Zone initiative.

Proceeds from all of Notre Dame’s Pink Zone events this season will go to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, as well as three local charities — Women’s Task Force, Young Survivors Group and Secret Sisters Society. For more information on the WBCA’s Pink Zone initiative, log on to the WBCA’s official web site at

ND To Host NCAA Tourney Games in 2009
Notre Dame’s Joyce Center will serve as one of 16 host sites for first- and second-round games in this year’s NCAA Championship on March 22 & 24.

All-session tickets for this year’s NCAA Championship games at the Joyce Center are available by contacting the Notre Dame athletics ticket office (574-631-7356).

Notre Dame has played in the NCAA Championship on its home floor five times before, most recently defeating Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) and Middle Tennessee in 2004 to make the program’s sixth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. All told, the Irish are 6-1 in NCAA tourney play at the Joyce Center, winning six in a row since an 81-76 first-round loss to Minnesota in 1994.

Irish Fans Crave Another Big Mac Attack
After a wildly-successful debut last season, Notre Dame is bringing back its “Big Mac” promotion for 2008-09, offering fans a coupon for a free Big Mac from South Bend-area McDonald’s restaurants if the Irish score at least 88 points in a game.

It hasn’t take long for the burger watch to fire back up again this year, as Notre Dame topped the 88-point mark in both its lone exhibition game (96-30 win over Gannon on Nov. 5) and its regular-season opener (96-61 win over Evansville on Nov. 19).

Last year, the Irish reached the magic number eight times, doing so in both exhibition wins, along with regular-season victories over Miami (Ohio), Boston College, Canisius, Valparaiso, Marquette and South Florida.

It should come as no surprise that in the short history of the promotion, the Notre Dame player with the most “Big Mac” baskets shares the same initials with the tasty burger — sophomore guard Brittany Mallory, who was sent the crowd home happy (and presumably with full bellies) four times.

This season, it’s been the Irish freshmen who have taken on the “Big Mac” mantle of responsibility, with guard Natalie Novosel doing the honors in the Gannon exhibition win and forward Erica Solomon putting Notre Dame over the top against Evansville.

Joyce Center Arena Renovation Underway
On Sept. 13, 2008, groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Purcell Pavilion, including the Joyce Center arena addition and renovation, were held to kick off the first phase of the two-year project to upgrade the home for Notre Dame basketball and volleyball.

The first phase of the project, that began in September 2008, involves construction of a new three-story structure at the south end of the arena. That structure will include a new three-story lobby, the Notre Dame ticket operations (approximately 4,500 square feet) and a varsity shop to sell apparel and souvenirs (approximately 3,000 square feet), in addition to a new club seating and hospitality area.

Replacement of the existing Joyce Center arena seating, including installation of chair-back seating throughout the arena, is expected to take place after the University’s Commencement Exercises in May 2009. The entire project is scheduled for completion in January 2010. The arena is expected to re-open by mid-October 2009, in time for the start of the basketball season and the end of the volleyball season.

The University announced in October 2007 that this $26.3 million project had received a $12.5 million leadership gift from Notre Dame alumnus and Trustee Philip J. Purcell III, the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley.

Exterior changes to the Joyce Center that began taking shape in September include a new, three-story addition on the south end of the current structure. The third floor area will include the stadium club/hospitality area. The first-floor addition will include almost 4,500 square feet for ticket offices (including four exterior and 10 interior tickets windows), 3,000 square feet for the varsity shop, as well as a completely new main entrance and lobby situated between Gates 8 and 10. The new entrance will feature graphics and theming that highlight Notre Dame’s competing athletic programs.

Changes to the interior of the Joyce Center arena include:

  • New, blue chair-back seating from top to bottom of the arena, including all-new upper-arena sections. All seating will be replaced in the lower bowl (including platform seats), and the wooden bleachers in the upper bowl will be removed and replaced with treads and risers and permanent arena seats. The exchange of the bleacher sections for chair back seats will change the capacity from the current 11,418 to approximately 9,800.
  • A stadium club/hospitality area (approximately 16,500 square feet) in the south end of the arena, with a separate, private entry and with premium club seating for nearly 800 fans (that figure is part of the projected 9,800 capacity). Included in this area will be food service and restroom facilities.
  • New fixed concession areas, increased numbers of women’s restrooms and increased handicapped seating options.
  • The interior seating changes provide an opportunity to consider new options for student seating. Students currently sit in both lower- and upper-arena sections behind the basket on the east end of the arena.

Next Game: Charlotte
Notre Dame will go on a season-long eight-day break for the Christmas holiday before returning to action Dec. 28 with a 2 p.m. (ET) game at Charlotte. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPNU and will mark the first-ever game between the Irish and 49ers, as well as Notre Dame’s first visit to the Queen City since January 1981.

The 49ers (8-2) have won five in a row and own wins over USC and SMU earlier this season. Charlotte is set to visit South Carolina Sunday afternoon before going home for the holidays.

— ND —