March 23, 2016
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 35
NCAA Championship – Lexington Regional Semifinal
#2/3 [#1 seed] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (33-1 / 16-0 ACC) vs. #13/16 [#4 seed] Stanford Cardinal (26-7 / 14-4 Pac-12)
DATE: March 25, 2016
TIME: 9:00 p.m. ET
AT: Lexington, Ky. – Rupp Arena (23,500)
SERIES: SU leads 2-1
1ST MTG: SU 97-67 (12/2/90)
LAST MTG: ND 81-60 (3/27/15)
TV: ESPN/WatchESPN (live) (Dave Pasch, p-b-p / Debbie Antonelli, color / Allison Williams, sideline)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p / Ruth Riley, color)
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
IRISH TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: UND.com
- Notre Dame has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the seventh consecutive season and the eighth time in nine years.
- The Fighting Irish will face a current Pac-12 Conference school in the NCAA Championship for the fifth time in six years.
No. 2/3 Fighting Irish Meet No. 13/16 Stanford in Sweet 16
Following a pair of energetic wins before its home crowd at Purcell Pavilion, No. 2/3 (and top-seeded) Notre Dame continues its NCAA postseason journey at 9 p.m. (ET) Friday when it faces No. 13/16 (and fourth-seeded) Stanford in a Lexington Regional semifinal at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. The game, a rematch of last year’s NCAA Sweet 16 contest in Oklahoma City, will air live on ESPN and WatchESPN, while radio coverage is available on South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1).
The Fighting Irish (33-1) moved on in this year’s NCAA tournament with an 87-70 victory over in-state rival Indiana on Monday night. Notre Dame used a 24-6 run midway through the second half to take command and secure its 26th consecutive win.
Junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the first half, while sophomore forward Brianna Turner posted her fourth double-double of the year with 18 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Irish effort.
- Notre Dame is No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Stanford is No. 13 in the final Associated Press poll and is No. 16 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Notre Dame has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the seventh consecutive season, the eighth time in nine years and the 14th time in 20 seasons. The Fighting Irish are one of five schools to make the Sweet 16 each of the past seven seasons (2010-16).
- Notre Dame’s current 26-game winning streak is the third-longest in program history. In the previous four seasons, the Fighting Irish fashioned a winning streak of 20 games or more, including a school-record 37-game success string in 2013-14.
- Notre Dame is one of two schools to have both its men’s and women’s basketball teams reach this year’s NCAA Sweet 16, joining fellow ACC school Syracuse in that elite company.
- This marks the second consecutive season and the third time in school history (also 2003) that both Fighting Irish basketball programs have qualified for the NCAA Sweet 16 in the same season.
- Notre Dame is the only school in the nation to have both of its basketball teams reach the NCAA Sweet 16 and also see its football team win 10 games and compete in a New Year’s Six bowl game (Fiesta Bowl) this year.
- Notre Dame is believed to be the first NCAA Division I school ever to have both basketball teams reach the Sweet 16, its hockey program qualify for the NCAA Championship (a 16-team field) and its football program compete in a New Year’s Day bowl game, all in the same season.
- Notre Dame swept the ACC regular-season and tournament titles for the third consecutive season, becoming the second conference school ever to pull off that feat and the first since Duke from 2002-04.
- The Fighting Irish earned their fifth consecutive outright conference regular-season championship (including their final two years in the BIG EAST), the longest string of consecutive conference crowns in program history (previous was three from 1989-91 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League).
- Notre Dame is the third ACC school to win three consecutive outright regular-season championships, joining Virginia (1991-96) and Duke (2001-04).
- The Fighting Irish tied a school record with their fourth consecutive conference tournament title, beginning with the 2013 BIG EAST championship and continuing the past three years in the ACC. Previously, the Fighting Irish won four consecutive league tournament crowns from 1989-92 in the MCC/Horizon League.
- Notre Dame is the fourth ACC school to win three consecutive conference tournament crowns (first since North Carolina from 2006-08).
- The Fighting Irish are off to a 33-1 start or better for the third time in program history, all within the past four seasons (also 2012-13 and 2013-14).
- Notre Dame has registered its sixth consecutive 30-win season and the eighth in program history (all within the past 20 seasons).
- The Fighting Irish are 10-1 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 10th in the final AP poll and 12th in the latest 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 13.8 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 (11.5 ppg.) and Marina Mabrey (10.8 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 29.7 points per game, compared to 14.7 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 25 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Tuesday), including five top-10 rankings — three-point field-goal percentage (3rd – .408), field-goal percentage (3rd – .496), scoring margin (4th – +19.5 ppg.), assists (7th – 18.1 apg.) and scoring offense (8th – 79.9 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 19th in assist/turnover ratio (1.22), while standing third in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.971).
- Including a No. 2 ranking in the final balloting (the fifth year in a row it has ended up second in the media voting), Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 174 consecutive weeks (the past 104 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 116 of 127 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (127).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (72 of 78 weeks) spent in the top five of the Associated Press poll.
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in the latest Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll, making its 141st 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 435-91 (.827) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 112-6 (.949) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season and an active 30-game home winning streak.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 97 of their last 101 games against conference opponents (and a school-record 34 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 57-1 against conference foes (47-1 regular season, 10-0 postseason). Notre Dame is just the second ACC school to lose only once in regular-season conference play during a three-year span (Duke also went 47-1 from 2002-04).
- Guards Madison Cable, Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey have helped Notre Dame to a 141-7 (.953) 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 four conference regular season titles and four league tournament crowns), as well as a 49-6 (.891) record against ranked teams (25-6 against top-10 opponents).
- With 732 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 820 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, along with current North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell (third all-time/second among active coaches with 975 wins).
The Notre Dame-Stanford Series
Notre Dame and Stanford will meet for only the fourth time in their series history on Friday night, with the Cardinal holding a 2-1 lead all-time against the Fighting Irish. Last year’s matchup in Oklahoma City was the first time Notre Dame and Stanford had played in more than 23 years.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Stanford Met
Lindsay Allen normally focuses on setting others up.
This time, the Notre Dame point guard turned into a scorer, dropping in a career-high 28 points to help the top-seeded Fighting Irish defeat Stanford 81-60 in the NCAA Sweet 16 on March 27, 2015, in Oklahoma City.
Allen entered the night averaging just under 10 points per game, but she matched her career high with 24 points in the first half alone.
Jewell Loyd scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half for the Fighting Irish.
Bonnie Samuelson scored 17 points and Erica McCall and Amber Orrange each added 12 for No. 4 seed Stanford.
It was the first postseason meeting for veteran coaches Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame and Tara VanDerveer of Stanford, and just the third-ever meeting between the schools. Stanford won the previous meetings in 1990 and 1991. This one turned into a blowout in the second half.
Allen scored nine quick points to help the Fighting Irish take a 20-11 lead. The Cardinal trimmed it to 34-29 with about three minutes left in the first half before Allen drained two three-pointers to help the Fighting Irish close the half on an 8-2 run and take a 42-31 lead into the break.
Stanford cut its deficit to 48-44 early in the second half before Loyd got going. Her three-point play with just over 10 minutes remaining put Notre Dame up 59-47. The Fighting Irish shot 52 percent in the second half to pull away.
Other Notre Dame-Stanford Series Tidbits
- Notre Dame has had seven California natives suit up during the program’s 39-year history, including current senior guard (and Diablo resident) Hannah Huffman, who was a 2012 graduate of Carondelet High School in nearby Concord.
- During her prep career (2008-12), Huffman challenged (and in many cases, topped) Carondelet’s records for career points, rebounds, assists and steals, many of which were held by former Stanford center Jayne Appel (now a member of the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, where she is a teammate of former Notre Dame All-America guard Kayla McBride).
- Huffman also was a product of the high-powered East Bay Xplosion AAU program that produced numerous Division I players including Appel and a trio of former Oklahoma players in Courtney and Ashley Paris and Danielle Robinson (who also is now a WNBA teammate of Appel and McBride in San Antonio).
- Notre Dame head men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark (who recently completed his 15th season under the Golden Dome) spent five years (1996-2000) as Director of Soccer at Stanford, overseeing both the men’s and women’s programs while specifically coaching the Cardinal men’s team. During his tenure at the helm of the Cardinal men, Clark compiled a 71-21-12 (.740) record and guided Stanford to the NCAA Championship each of his last four years (1997-2000), and his 1998 squad was the national runner-up. His final season with the Cardinal in 2000 ranked as one of the most successful in Stanford history. The 18-3-1 record matched the school standard for wins in a season (tying the mark set in 1998), while his team also spent two weeks ranked No. 1 in the country, the first time Stanford had ever been atop a collegiate poll in men’s soccer. Clark led Notre Dame to its first NCAA national championship in 2013 and most recently, a berth in last year’s NCAA round of 16.
- Third-year Notre Dame head women’s soccer coach Theresa (Wagner) Romagnolo spent three seasons (2008-10) as an assistant coach at Stanford, helping the Cardinal to a 70-4-3 record, three NCAA Women’s College Cup berths and two trips to the NCAA national championship match (2009 and 2010, falling to Notre Dame in the latter contest), as well as two Pac-10 Conference (now Pac-12) titles. In her first two seasons at Notre Dame in 2014 and 2015 (following three seasons as the head coach at Dartmouth), Romagnolo led the Fighting Irish to a combined 28-11-3 record and two NCAA tournament appearances, including a berth in the NCAA round of 16 in 2014.
- Fourth-year Stanford athletics director Bernard Muir served on the Notre Dame athletics administration staff from 2000-05, first as an associate and senior associate athletics director for student welfare & development, and later as deputy athletics director for administration and facilities.
- Stanford director for athletics communications Alan George served in a similar role with the Notre Dame athletics communications staff from 2007-12, working with the Fighting Irish volleyball and softball teams, while also spending time as a secondary contact with the women’s basketball program.
Golden Dome vs. the Golden State
- Notre Dame is 29-15 (.659) all-time against teams from the state of California, with a 18-11 (.621) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined) and a 27-7 (.794) record in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
- Back on Nov. 28, the Fighting Irish earned a 92-84 overtime win over UCLA in the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division title game in Freeport, Bahamas.
- This is the seventh consecutive season Notre Dame has played at least one California school, with the Fighting Irish going 9-1 against the Golden State since 2009-10, including an active eight-game winning streak.
- Notre Dame is 6-1 all-time against California schools in the NCAA Championship, most recently defeating Stanford, 81-60 in last year’s Oklahoma City Regional semifinals (Sweet 16).
Notre Dame vs. The Pac-12 Conference
- Including this year’s wins over UCLA (92-84 in overtime on Nov. 28 in Freeport, Bahamas) and Oregon State (62-61 on Dec. 28 at Purcell Pavilion), the Fighting Irish are 31-20 (.608) all-time against current Pac-12 Conference teams, with a 19-16 (.543) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined).
- Notre Dame has won 28 of its last 35 games against Pac-12 schools since a 93-72 loss at UCLA in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Championship (in the first-ever NCAA tournament game for the Fighting Irish).
- Notre Dame has won its last 10 games against Pac-12 opponents since an 86-83 double-overtime loss to No. 15 UCLA on Nov. 18, 2010, at Purcell Pavilion.
- This marks the second time in three seasons Notre Dame has played three Pac-12 teams in the same year. In 2013-14, the Fighting Irish won regular-season contests against UCLA (home) and Oregon State (road) before defeating Arizona State in the second round of the NCAA Championship in Toledo, Ohio.
One Sweet (16) Friday
- In a remarkable confluence of athletics success, three Notre Dame programs will compete in the round of 16 in their respective NCAA tournaments within a four-hour window on Friday.
- The Fighting Irish hockey team leads things off at 5:30 p.m. (ET), taking on Michigan in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. That game will be televised live on ESPNU.
- At 7:27 p.m. (ET), the Notre Dame men’s basketball team tips off its NCAA East Regional semifinal game against Wisconsin at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. The game will air live on TBS.
- The Fighting Irish women’s basketball team will provide the nightcap to this tripleheader with its 9 p.m. (ET) contest against Stanford in the NCAA Lexington Regional semifinal at Rupp Arena, with ESPN offering the live broadcast.
- Notre Dame is believed to be the first NCAA Division I school to have its men’s and women’s basketball programs and hockey program all reach the round of 16 in their respective NCAA tournaments, while the same school’s football program posted a 10-win season and competed in a New Year’s Day bowl game (the Fighting Irish faced Ohio State in this year’s Fiesta Bowl).
— 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).