Dec. 28, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
RALEIGH, N.C. – As the 2016 calendar year ends, the 2016-17 ACC season begins for the No. 2 Notre Dame women’s basketball team as the Irish face North Carolina State at 7 p.m. on Thursday night at Reynolds Coliseum in the league opener. The game will not be broadcast but it will be streamed live online through ACC Network Extra.
Here are some things to know about the matchup.
About the Wolfpack
NC State stands at 10-3 on the year as the Wolfpack also prepares for its ACC opener. NC State is a perfect 8-0 on its newly-remodeled home court, including a win over Indiana.
Curiously, 48 hours after facing Chattanooga, Notre Dame will line up against Wes Moore who coached the Mocs for 15 years before coming to NC State in 2013-14. Moore is 73-34 with the Wolfpack and 631-206 in his 27-year head coaching career. Chelsea Nelson tops NC State with both her 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. She is one of five Wolfpack players to average at least nine points per game.
The Irish have won all five meetings with the Wolfpack, four of them coming since Notre Dame joined the ACC for the 2013-14 season. This will be the third time in four years the Irish have played NC State on the road with the Irish taking the first two meetings in Raleigh. The teams have faced off on a pair of neutral courts with the Irish taking a 1996 contest at Louisiana Tech in the Preseason WNIT and a contest in the 2015 ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
In the fifth meeting, the Wolfpack finally came to Purcell Pavilion last year and the Irish claimed an 82-46 win on Feb. 4. Madison Cable poured in 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead Notre Dame. Cable also grabbed seven rebounds and hit all seven of her free throw attempts.
In addition to its visits to Reynolds Coliseum, Notre Dame played twice in North Carolina’s capital city during the 2012 NCAA Championship. The Irish defeated St. Bonaventure and then Maryland to claim the Raleigh Regional title in games played at PNC Arena, home of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
Consistent ACC Success For Irish
Since joining the ACC for the 2013-14 season, Notre Dame has been the league’s top program, compiling a 47-1 regular season record and winning three consecutive regular season and tournament championship doubles.
The lone loss came at Miami on Jan. 8, 2015, and the Irish have won all 29 regular season games since and 35 games in a row vs. ACC teams including conference tournament play.
The 35-game ACC streak including tournament games is the 15th-longest in NCAA history and the second-longest in ACC history behind a 51-game run by Duke from 2001-04.
The 29-game ACC regular season winning streak is the 24th-longest such streak in NCAA history and the second-longest in ACC history behind just a 42-game run by Duke from 2001-04. With a win, Notre Dame would tie Colorado’s 30-game Big Eight run from 1994-96 for 23rd place.
In each case, Texas holds the NCAA record with marches of 143 and 124 games, respectively, through the Southwest Conference from 1981-90.
Starting Off Conference Play on the Right Foot
Notre Dame has a strong track record when it comes to starting off its conference season with a victory. Not only has Notre Dame won each of its three ACC openers since joining the league in 2013-14, but the Irish have actually won 10 consecutive conference openers, covering their last seven seasons of BIG EAST competition.
The last conference-opening loss for Notre Dame was a 66-63 defeat at St. John’s on Jan. 4, 2006.
This year marks the first time the Irish have played their ACC opener away from Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame’s league slate has commenced with wins over Clemson (2013-14), Florida State (2014-15) and Georgia Tech (2015-16), all at home, since joining the conference.
Two Days. Two Games.
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, this span between games at Chattanooga (Dec. 27) and NC State (Dec. 29) marks the 76th time the Irish have played a pair of games with just one (or no) days off in between.
The Irish have risen to the occasion in recent seasons, going 64-11 (.853) on the back half of these two-game (or more) blitzes during the past eight years.
Notre Dame has been victorious in the last nine such scenarios, dating back to a loss to UConn in the 2015 national championship game, two days after beating South Carolina in the national semifinals.
This is the third such scenario in 2016-17. Notre Dame beat No. 17 Washington, 71-60, on Nov. 20 in the Preseason WNIT championship game and then turned around to beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 91-51, on Nov. 22 in Houston. Last week, the Irish beat Toledo, 85-68, on Dec. 18 and Michigan State, 79-61, on Dec. 20, both on the road as is the case with this tandem of games.
The Irish will not face this scenario again until the daily grind of the ACC Tournament in March.
Allen Triple Trouble For Mocs
Tuesday night, senior Lindsay Allen recorded the sixth triple-double in Notre Dame history, scoring 11 points, grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds and matching her career high with 12 assists. Remarkably, the two-time Nancy Lieberman Award finalist and 1,000-point scorer had never previously recorded so much as a double-double.
Allen is the only player in the ACC to record a triple-double so far in 2016-17.
Sophomore Marina Mabrey recorded a triple-double last year at Valparaiso. Thursday’s game at NC State marks the first time the Irish have ever put a lineup on the court featuring two players who each have a collegiate triple-double to their credit.
The night would have been noteworthy for Allen regardless as she started her 125th career game, never missing one. The 125 consecutive starts is by far a school record and her 125th start overall moved her past Ruth Riley and Lindsay Schrader (both 124) into third place in school history. Next on the list is Alicia Ratay at 129 and then, finally, Skylar Diggins at 144. The Irish are 118-7 (.944) in Allen’s starts.
How to Watch/Listen
The first official steps towards the creation of an ACC Network began this summer in conjunction with ESPN. Most non-televised ACC road games will now be streamed under the banner of ACC Network Extra, similar to all of Notre Dame’s non-televised home games. Games are available online at WatchESPN.com (formerly branded as ESPN3) or through the WatchESPN app. Streams are free to all ESPN subscribers.
Information on how to access WatchESPN is available here.
For those familiar with the WatchESPN, the direct link to the webcast of Sunday’s game is available here.
Bob Nagle returns for his 12th season as the radio voice of the Irish. Notre Dame’s local home on the radio is Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) while the audio is also available globally via WatchND.tv and the WatchND app. The direct link to the radio call is here.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.