Feb. 26, 2016
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 29
#2/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (27-1 / 15-0 ACC) vs. Boston College Eagles (14-14 / 2-13 ACC)
DATE: Feb. 27, 2016
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 17-5
STREAK: ND – won 7
1ST MTG: BC 59-55 (12/30/83)
LAST MTG: ND 63-50 (1/14/16)
TV: WatchND (watchnd.tv) (live)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p / Ruth Riley, color )
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
- Prior to Saturday’s game, Notre Dame will hold its annual Senior Day ceremony, honoring its five departing seniors (three players and two student managers). Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 12:30 p.m. (ET) to watch this year’s Senior Day ceremony.
- With a victory Saturday, Notre Dame would clinch its third consecutive outright ACC regular-season title.
No. 2/3 Fighting Irish Host Boston College on Senior Day
Less than 48 hours after earning a share of the 2015-16 ACC regular-season championship, No. 2/3 Notre Dame is back on the hardwood at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday, as the Fighting Irish wrap up their conference slate with a home date against Boston College at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised worldwide online, live and free of charge via the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv), while radio coverage will be available on South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1).
The Fighting Irish (27-1, 15-0) stretched their current winning streak to 20 games and put one hand on the ACC hardware Thursday with a 71-52 victory over Clemson at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame shot 54.2 percent from the field and led from the opening tip to the final horn.
- Notre Dame is No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Boston College is not ranked.
- Notre Dame has clinched a share of its third consecutive ACC regular-season title and its school-record fifth consecutive conference crown, dating back to its final two seasons in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame is the third ACC school to win three consecutive regular-season championships, joining Virginia (1991-96) and Duke, twice (2001-04 and 2010-13).
- The Fighting Irish have earned the No. 1 seed for the ACC Tournament and will place in the top four of the final conference standings for the 26th time in head coach Muffet McGraw’s 29 seasons at Notre Dame (covering four different leagues).
- Notre Dame is off to a 27-1 start or better for the third time in four years and fourth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2012-13 and 2013-14).
- The Fighting Irish have registered their seventh consecutive 25-win season and the 13th in program history (all within the past 20 seasons).
- The Fighting Irish are 8-1 against ranked opponents this season, and also registered a win over UCLA on Nov. 28 in the Bahamas, two days before the Bruins entered the Associated Press poll (UCLA is 14th in this week’s AP poll and 15th in this week’s WBCA/USA Today coaches’ poll).
- Despite losing two starters from the lineup that opened last April’s NCAA championship game in Tampa (and missing a third – sophomore forward Brianna Turner – with an injury for six games), Notre Dame has scarcely missed a beat this season, led in large measure by two first-time starters in graduate student guard Madison Cable (scoring up from 6.2 to 13.4 ppg.) and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (6.7 to 8.0 ppg.), as well as the reliable production off the bench from freshman guards Arike Ogunbowale (12.1 ppg.) and Marina Mabrey (11.3 ppg.).
- The Fighting Irish feature a very balanced attack with four players currently posting double-figure scoring averages (and two others at 8.0 ppg. or better). Of those six, two are freshmen (Marina Mabrey and Ogunbowale), and two are sophomores (Turner and Westbeld).
- Notre Dame’s bench play has been sharp this season, with the Fighting Irish reserves averaging 30.4 points per game, compared to 14.5 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 25 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Thursday), including five top-10 rankings – field-goal percentage (3rd – now .494), three-point field-goal percentage (3rd – .409), scoring margin (5th – +19.7 ppg.), assists (8th – 18.1 apg.) and scoring offense (8th – 79.9 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 21st in assist/turnover ratio (1.20), while standing third in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.964).
- Including this week’s No. 2 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 171 consecutive weeks (the past 101 weeks in the AP Top 10), extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll, and ranking fourth in the nation among active AP poll appearances.
- Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for 113 of 124 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (124).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (69 of 75 weeks) spent in the top five of the Associated Press poll.
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in this week’s Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll, making its 138th consecutive appearance in that survey. It’s also the eighth consecutive season and 14 of the past 18 years the Fighting Irish have appeared in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll.
- Notre Dame has a remarkable tradition of success at home inside Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 432-91 (.826) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 109-6 (.948) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 93 of their last 97 games against conference opponents (and a school-record 33 in a row at home), dating back to their membership in the BIG EAST.
- Since joining the ACC prior to the 2013-14 season, Notre Dame is 53-1 against conference foes (46-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason). The only ACC school to lose just once in regular-season conference play during a three-year span was Duke from 2002-04.
- Guards Madison Cable, Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey have helped Notre Dame to a 135-7 (.951) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year’s senior class of Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright as the most successful in Fighting Irish history. Holloway and Wright helped Notre Dame to a 143-10 (.935) record in their four-year careers, with those 143 wins tying for the second-most victories by any four-year class in NCAA Division I history (the Connecticut class of 2011 amassed 150 wins, while the Louisiana Tech class of 1982 also had 143 victories).
- Since they first suited up at Notre Dame in 2012-13, Cable, Huffman and Mabrey have paced Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship games and three NCAA Women’s Final Fours (plus three conference regular season titles and three league tournament crowns), as well as a 47-6 (.887) record against ranked teams (25-6 against top-10 opponents).
- With 726 victories in her 29 seasons at Notre Dame, head coach Muffet McGraw ranks second on the Fighting Irish athletics all-time coaching wins list (across all sports), trailing only men’s/women’s fencing coach Michael DeCicco (799-90 from 1962-95).
- With 814 career wins, McGraw ranks 10th in NCAA Division I coaching history (seventh among active coaches). She also is one of two ACC coaches in the top 10 all-time, along with current North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell (second all-time/tied-first among active with 975 as of Friday).
The Notre Dame-Boston College Series
Notre Dame and Boston College will play for the 23rd time on Saturday afternoon in a series that dates back to 1983 and includes a lengthy rivalry in two different conferences (BIG EAST and ACC) during the past two decades.
Notre Dame is 17-5 all-time against BC and has won the past seven matchups with the Eagles, including a victory earlier this year. The Fighting Irish also are 10-0 all-time when playing host to Boston College at Purcell Pavilion.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Boston College Met
Marina Mabrey scored 14 points and Brianna Turner had eight points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to help No. 3 Notre Dame beat Boston College 63-50 on Jan. 14, 2016, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
The Fighting Irish pushed their 12-point halftime edge to 40-22 on Cable’s free throw midway through the third quarter. BC cut it to single digits before Notre Dame put it away with a quick 7-0 spurt capped by Cable’s 3-pointer from the right wing.
Notre Dame scored the final 10 points of the first half to take a 32-20 lead at the break. Mabrey capped the spree with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 10 seconds left.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Boston College Met at Purcell Pavilion
Brianna Turner raced toward the basket, leapt in the air, caught the lob pass from Lindsay Allen and quickly tossed it in the basket.
Next trip down the floor, Turner took another high pass from Jewell Loyd for the alley-oop layup as the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish jumped to a quick 7-0 lead against Boston College. Turner scored two more baskets on lob passes from teammates in the opening six minutes and she finished with 21 points during a 104-58 rout of the Eagles on Jan. 11, 2015, at Purcell Pavilion.
It wasn’t just Turner, though. Kathryn Westbeld matched her (then) season high with 15 points and four other Notre Dame players finished in double figures as the Fighting Irish outscored Boston College 52-12 in the paint and outshot the Eagles 58 percent to 33 percent.
Emilee Daley led Boston College with 12 points as the Eagles were held to a season-low in points. Ashley Kelsick added 11. Kelly Hughes, Boston College’s leading scorer at 15.7 points a game, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points.
Other Notre Dame-Boston College Series Tidbits
- As fellow members of the ACC (and formerly the BIG EAST), Notre Dame and Boston College have met regularly in league play during the past two decades, with the Fighting Irish owning a 15-3 edge against the Eagles in conference games, including an active eight-game winning streak in league play.
- The 2015-16 season marks the sixth time Notre Dame and Boston College have played a home-and-home series in conference play and the third consecutive year in ACC competition (after Notre Dame won both meetings in the first two seasons). The Fighting Irish also played BC twice during BIG EAST action in the 1996-97, 1998-99 and 2004-05 seasons, sweeping two of those three home-and-home series, while the teams split in 1998-99, each successfully defending their home court that season.
- In their last 11 matchups, the Fighting Irish have held BC to 61 points or fewer 10 times and winning each time. The only exception was the Eagles’ 78-61 win in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Championship.
- Conversely, Notre Dame has scored at least 82 points in six of its last seven games against Boston College after reaching that mark once in its first 15 series games against the Eagles.
- The Fighting Irish have won the past seven games in the series by an average of 33.3 points per game.
- For the second consecutive series game, Notre Dame will reach a program milestone when it faces Boston College. In January, the Fighting Irish played their 1,200th all-time game, while Saturday will represent their 500th regular-season conference game (covering affiliations in the North Star, Midwestern Collegiate, BIG EAST and Atlantic Coast conferences).
- Notre Dame is 22-5 (.815) all-time against Massachusetts schools (17-5 vs. Boston College, 2-0 vs. UMass, 1-0 vs. UMass Lowell, Holy Cross and Harvard). The Fighting Irish have won their last 11 games against the Commonwealth since a 78-61 loss to Boston College on March 19, 2006, in the first round of the NCAA Championship in West Lafayette, Indiana.
- Three of the top girls’ basketball players to come from the Jersey Shore in recent seasons will suit up Saturday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame’s sister guard tandem of senior Michaela Mabrey and freshman Marina Mabrey are from Belmar, N.J., and graduated from Manasquan High School, while Boston College junior guard Kelly Hughes is from Point Pleasant, N.J. (20 minutes south of Belmar), and matriculated from Point Pleasant Boro High School.
- Fighting Irish athletic trainer Anne Marquez is a native of Framingham, Massachusetts.
Going Out On Top
- Prior to Saturday’s game against Boston College, Notre Dame will take time to honor its five departing seniors (guards Madison Cable, Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey, plus student managers Katie Higgins and Jasmine Smith) for their contributions to the program.
- Notre Dame is 32-6 (.842) all-time on Senior Night, including a 25-3 (.893) record in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present). In fact, the Fighting Irish lost their first Senior Night game under McGraw (69-68 vs. DePaul in 1988), but have proceeded to win on 25 of the past 27 Senior Nights since then. The only setbacks during this current stretch came in 2002, when Villanova edged the Fighting Irish, 48-45, to break Notre Dame’s school-record 51-game home winning streak, and in 2007, when Rutgers pulled away late for a 76-60 win.
Peaking When It Counts
- When the regular season enters its stretch run in the month of February, Notre Dame historically seems to raise its level of play.
- Since 1995-96, the Fighting Irish are 128-28 (.821) in February games (including an active 33-game winning streak), as well as a 71-6 (.922) mark at home.
- In the 29-year Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present), the Fighting Irish are 176-43 (.804) in the month of February, including a 93-12 (.886) home record.
- In that time, Notre Dame has never posted a losing record in February (a feat that has continued this season), and only once did the Fighting Irish end the month at .500 (4-4 in 1988-89, McGraw’s second year in South Bend).
- Notre Dame has been known for its ability to share the basketball like few teams in the sport, a trend that continues this year with the Fighting Irish recording assists on 61.5 percent of their made baskets (507 of 825).
- This should come as no surprise, for in the past six seasons (2009-10 through 2014-15), Notre Dame finished the campaign with assists on more than 60 percent of its baskets five times – and in the sixth (2014-15), the Fighting Irish had assists on 59.5 percent of their field goals.
Spreading The Wealth
- Notre Dame has had at least four players score in double figures in 18 games this year, going 17-1 in those contests.
- Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 135-6 (.957) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 105 of their last 107 such outings.
- In the past seven seasons, Notre Dame’s only losses when it has fielded at least four double-figure scorers both came against Connecticut – 83-65 in the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinal at New Orleans Arena (now known as the Smoothie King Center), and 91-81 earlier this season on Dec. 5 in the Jimmy V Classic at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.
- For the season, Notre Dame currently has four players registering double-figure scoring averages (and two others at better than 8.0 ppg.), all of whom are ranked among the top 30 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (as of Friday) – sophomore forward Brianna Turner (12th – 14.2 ppg.), graduate student guard Madison Cable (20th – 13.4 ppg.), freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (24th – 12.1 ppg.; fifth among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Marina Mabrey (27th – 11.3 ppg.; sixth among ACC rookies).
Three For The Money
- Notre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 169 treys this season (6.04 per game).
- At their current pace, the Fighting Irish would top the single-season program record for three-pointers per game (5.74 in 1998-99). In fact, only once in the past 13 seasons has Notre Dame averaged five treys per game (2013-14, when it made exactly five per contest and a school-record 190 total).
- Notre Dame’s 169 three-pointers this year are tied for fifth on the school’s single-season list, and the sixth time in seven years (all but 2010-11) the Fighting Irish have knocked down at least 160 treys in one season.
- The Fighting Irish tied a school record with 13 three-pointers on Dec. 5 at top-ranked Connecticut. The 13 triples (which Notre Dame last registered on Jan. 2, 2002, at Miami) also matched two UConn opponent records for three-pointers in a single game (overall and Gampel Pavilion).
- That performance was the first of five times this year the Fighting Irish have made at least 10 three-pointers in a game, with four of those coming against ranked opponents (Dec. 9 vs. #18/17 DePaul; Dec. 30 vs. Georgia Tech; Jan. 21 vs. #RV/24 Syracuse and Feb. 22 at #12/9 Florida State).
- Notre Dame’s .650 three-point percentage (13-of-20) at UConn was the highest against the Huskies since March 26, 2007, when LSU made 7-of-10 three-pointers (.700) against UConn in the NCAA Fresno Regional final (Elite Eight) in Fresno, California.
- The Fighting Irish rank third in country in three-point percentage (as of Thursday), now connecting at a .409 clip from beyond the arc, while graduate student guard Madison Cable (.455) currently leads the ACC and ranks as the nation’s No. 4 individual three-point shooter.
The Second Platoon
- Another reason for Notre Dame’s success this season has been the performance of its reserves, who are averaging more than 30 points per game and have outscored the opponent’s bench by more than a 2-to-1 margin (30.4 ppg. to 14.5 ppg.).
- The Notre Dame reserves have combined to score at least 30 points in 14 games this year, including seven 40-point outings.
- The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored the opponent’s bench in 26 games this season, including a season-high 64 points on Nov. 23 at Valparaiso, outscoring the entire Crusader roster by 10 points (not to mention the Notre Dame starters by 18).
- The Fighting Irish reserves also outscored the full Virginia Tech roster on Jan. 24, edging the Hokies, 42-41 (and outscoring the Notre Dame starters by four).
- In addition to the Valparaiso and Virginia Tech games, the Fighting Irish bench came close to outscoring the entire opposing team on two other occasions – Nov. 18 vs. Toledo (UT 39, ND reserves 32) and Nov. 27 vs. Denver at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas (DU 52, ND reserves 48).
- A pair of freshman guards – Arike Ogunbowale (12.1 ppg.) and Marina Mabrey (11.3 ppg.) head up the Fighting Irish bench contingent, which has seen at least one reserve score in double figures in 24 games this year (total of 39 double-figure outings).
- Since the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 135-7 (.951) record.
- In that four-year span, six of the seven Fighting Irish losses have come against top-three teams, including the past five against Connecticut – No. 3 Baylor (73-61 on Dec. 5, 2012, at Purcell Pavilion), No. 3 Connecticut (83-65 on April 7, 2013, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals at New Orleans Arena – now known as the Smoothie King Center – in New Orleans, Louisiana), No. 1 Connecticut (79-58 on April 8, 2014, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national championship game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee), No. 3 Connecticut (76-58 on Dec. 6, 2014, in the Jimmy V Classic at Purcell Pavilion), No. 1 Connecticut (63-53 on April 7, 2015, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national championship game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida) and No. 1 Connecticut (91-81 on Dec. 5, 2015, in the Jimmy V Classic in Storrs, Connecticut).
- The other loss came on Jan. 8, 2015, with a 78-63 setback at Miami. That defeat ended Notre Dame’s 61-game winning streak against unranked opponents in the Associated Press poll, the second-longest active run in the nation (research for this note provided by STATS via the AP).
- Including postseason tournament results (league and NCAA), Notre Dame has won 93 of its last 97 games against conference opponents, dating back to the start of the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Tournament.
- Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference prior to the 2013-14 season, the Fighting Irish are 53-1 against league opponents, going 46-1 in the regular season and 7-0 in the postseason (including a win over then-ACC member Maryland in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals).
- Notre Dame’s only loss to an ACC opponent since joining the conference came on Jan. 8, 2015 – a 78-63 defeat at Miami that ended a school-record streak of 38 consecutive wins in regular season conference games.
- Since the loss at Miami, Notre Dame has won its last 28 regular season games against ACC opponents (plus three more in the 2015 ACC Tournament).
- The Fighting Irish have won a school-record 33 consecutive home games against conference opponents, a streak that began on Feb. 14, 2012, with a 66-47 win over Providence. The previous school record for consecutive home conference wins (31) was set from Dec. 12, 1998-Feb. 19, 2002 during the program’s BIG EAST membership.
That Championship Feeling
- With its 71-52 victory over Clemson on Thursday, Notre Dame secured a share of its fifth consecutive conference regular-season title, and third in as many years as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
- Notre Dame has won five consecutive league regular season championships (2012-13 in BIG EAST; 2014-16 in ACC) for the first time in its 39-year history, after stringing together three in a row just once before.
- In their first three seasons (1988-89 to 1990-91) in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (Horizon League), the Fighting Irish won the regular season title each time, although they shared the MCC crown in their inaugural league season with Loyola-Chicago.
- Notre Dame is the third program to earn three consecutive ACC regular-season crowns and first since Duke won four in a row from 2010-13.
- Notre Dame is the second program from outside the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle to collect three consecutive ACC regular-season championships and the first since Virginia won six in a row from 1991-96.
— ND —
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).