Senior guard Madison Cable collected 13 points and eight rebounds in Notre Dame's NCAA first-round win over Robert Morris last year.

#2 Irish Take On #16 Duke In ACC Championship Semifinals

March 6, 2015

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2014-15 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 32

Atlantic Coast Conference Championship — Semifinal
#2/2 [#1 seed] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (29-2 / 15-1 ACC) vs. #16/16 [#4 seed] Duke Blue Devils (21-9 / 11-5 ACC)

DATE: March 7, 2015
AT: Greensboro, N.C. – Greensboro Coliseum (23,500)
SERIES: ND leads 10-1
1ST MTG: ND 74-67 (3/22/86)
LAST MTG: ND 63-50 (2/16/15)
TV: ESPNU/WatchESPN (live) (Pam Ward, p-b-p / Debbie Antonelli, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters/@ndwbb


  • Notre Dame has advanced to the conference tournament semifinals for the sixth consecutive season and the 19th time in 27 seasons.
  • The Fighting Irish will face their 10th ranked opponent of the season, having posted an 8-1 record against Top 25 teams to date.

No. 2 Fighting Irish Take On No. 16 Duke In ACC Championship Semifinals
After erasing the memory of its lone defeat in two seasons of Atlantic Coast Conference membership in Friday’s ACC Championship quarterfinals, No. 2 (and top-seeded) Notre Dame will tackle another rematch, as the Fighting Irish take on No. 16 (and fourth-seeded) Duke in an ACC Championship semifinal contest at noon (ET) Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina — the game will be televised live on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app.

Notre Dame avenged its only ACC defeat of the 2014-15 season and extended its current winning streak to 15 games with a 77-61 victory over Miami in the conference tournament’s quarterfinal round on Friday in Greensboro. The Fighting Irish led by as many as 18 points in the second half and shot 49.1 percent from the field (five of seven from three-point range) to secure the victory.

Junior guard Jewell Loyd led a balanced Notre Dame offense with 16 points, one of five Fighting Irish players in double figures (with a sixth scoring nine points). Freshman forward Brianna Turner added her seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Notre Dame.


  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 2 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • Duke is ranked No. 16 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 16 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.

Quick Hitters

  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press poll, its 83rd consecutive week in the AP Top 10 and 77th of the past 83 weeks in the AP Top 5.
  • Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 153 consecutive weeks, extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll, and ranking sixth in the nation among active AP poll appearances. What’s more, every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, never ranking lower than seventh in that time (2011-12 to present).
  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 2 in this week’s Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll, after previously spending two weeks (Nov. 25 and Dec. 2) as the nation’s No. 1 team. It was the first time the Fighting Irish had been the top-ranked team in either major national poll since April 1, 2001, when they were No. 1 in the coaches’ poll following a 68-66 win over Purdue that secured the program’s first NCAA national championship.
  • Notre Dame ranks among the top 25 in nine NCAA statistical categories (as of Friday), including five top-10 rankings — field-goal percentage (2nd – now .500), scoring offense (4th – 82.4 ppg.), scoring margin (4th – +22.5 ppg.), assists (6th – 18.4 apg.) and three-point percentage (9th – .386). The Fighting Irish also rank 15th in assist/turnover ratio (1.23), 17th in rebounding margin (+8.7 rpg.), 18th in personal fouls (14.7 per game) and 22nd in free-throw percentage (.750), as well as third in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.935).
  • Notre Dame aims to continue its remarkable success at Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 417-91 (.821) all-time record in 38 seasons at the facility, including a 94-6 (.940) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
  • Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 73 of their last 77 games against conference opponents (and 26 in a row at home), dating back to their membership in the BIG EAST. Since joining the ACC prior to last season, Notre Dame is 36-1 against conference foes (31-1 regular season, 5-0 postseason).
  • Senior guards Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway, and senior forward Markisha Wright have helped Notre Dame to a 136-9 (.938) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year’s senior class of Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride, who helped Notre Dame to 138 wins during their four seasons.
  • Since arriving at Notre Dame in 2011-12, Cable, Holloway and Wright have paced Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship games and three NCAA Women’s Final Fours (plus four conference regular-season titles and two league tournament crowns), as well as a 49-7 record against ranked teams (21-7 against AP Top 10).
  • Of the nine losses suffered by the current Fighting Irish senior class, four were decided by 13 points or less.
  • With 692 victories in her 28 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 (774-80 from 1962-95).
  • With 780 career wins, McGraw ranks 10th in NCAA Division I coaching history. She also is one of two active ACC coaches in the top 10 along with North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell (second with 958 as of Friday).

The Notre Dame-Duke Series
Notre Dame and Duke will meet for the second time this season and the 12th time in series history, with the Fighting Irish holding a 10-1 record against the Blue Devils, including an active eight-game series winning streak.

Notre Dame and Duke also have played three times before in the postseason, with the Fighting Irish winning all three of those contests — the 1986 National Women’s Invitation Tournament (NWIT) in Amarillo, Texas (74-67), the 2013 NCAA Norfolk Regional final in Norfolk, Virginia (87-76), and last year’s ACC Championship final (69-53).

The Last Time Notre Dame and Duke Met
No. 4 Notre Dame rode Jewell Loyd’s leadership, smothering defense and clutch three-point shooting to beat Duke.

The Fighting Irish won their 10th consecutive game, topping the No. 10/11 Blue Devils, 63-50 on Feb. 16, 2015, at Purcell Pavilion.

Duke came out strong, building a 14-5 lead over the first 5:31. The Blue Devils, who led the nation in rebounding margin, asserted themselves early on the offensive glass, grabbing the game’s first six rebounds. They outrebounded the Fighting Irish 45-37, and Notre Dame scored well below their season average of 84.9 points.

But Notre Dame eventually heated up from beyond the arc, hitting nine threes, nearly double their 5.1-per-game average.

Loyd made four of her eight three-point attempts, while Duke missed all 12 of its tries. It was the first time this season that Duke went scoreless from beyond the arc.

Reserves Madison Cable and Kathryn Westbeld help put the brakes on that fast Duke start. Cable finished with six rebounds and nine points, including a three-pointer from the corner as the shot clock expired coming out of a first-half media timeout, giving Notre Dame its first lead of the game at 20-19.

The Fighting Irish went on a 14-5 run over the final 10:17 of the first half to take a 34-24 lead into the break. During that stretch, Duke hit just two of nine attempts from the field.

A 6-0 Duke run to start the second half trimmed the lead to 34-30 but a 11-0 Fighting Irish spurt over a 4:02 span gave Notre Dame its largest lead at 19 with 11:05 left.

Elizabeth Williams led Duke with 18 points.

The Last Time Notre Dame and Duke Met In The ACC Championship
Second-ranked Notre Dame capped its perfect first run through the Atlantic Coast Conference by beating No. 10 Duke 69-53 in the ACC Championship final on March 9, 2014, at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Jewell Loyd, the ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player, scored 18 of her 26 points in the second half and Kayla McBride finished with 25 for the victors.

The top-seeded Fighting Irish — also the 2013 BIG EAST champions — claimed their second consecutive conference tournament crown with their third win over the Blue Devils in five weeks.

Haley Peters had 18 points and Elizabeth Williams finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds for second-seeded Duke.

The Blue Devils shot 44 percent but were just three of 12 from the free-throw line and had 20 turnovers that Notre Dame turned into 23 points.

Duke’s leading scorer Tricia Liston — who came in averaging nearly 18 points per game — was held to four on two of 11 shooting while being hounded by Loyd.

Duke’s best chance to claw back into the game came when Ka’lia Johnson went to the line with her team down 10 with 2:23 left. However, she missed the front end of a one-and-one, McBride followed with two free throws, and after a turnover, Loyd hit a fast-break layup to put Notre Dame up 65-51 and send the Fighting Irish to their seventh tournament title in their third different league.

Other Notre Dame-Duke Series Tidbits

  • Notre Dame is 26-2 (.929) all-time against North Carolina schools, including an active 16-game winning streak.
  • The Fighting Irish are 15-1 (.938) all-time when playing in the state of North Carolina, including a 6-0 record at neutral sites (4-0 at the Greensboro Coliseum).
  • In its 38-year history, Notre Dame has had just two North Carolina natives on its all-time roster — Raleigh product Mary Joan Forbes (1980-81) and Charlotte resident Erica Williamson (2006-10).
  • Three participants from the 2014 McDonald’s High School All-America Game (played at the United Center in Chicago) will be represented on Monday. Notre Dame freshman forward Kathryn Westbeld and Duke rookie forward Lynee’ Belton played for the East Team, which dropped a narrow 80-78 decision to a West squad led by Fighting Irish freshman forward Brianna Turner (the game’s Most Valuable Player).
  • Five players from the 2013 McDonald’s High School All-America Game (also played at Chicago’s United Center) are on Monday’s rosters. A pair of Notre Dame sophomores — guard Lindsay Allen and forward Taya Reimer — played for the East Team, while Duke sophomores Oderah Chidom and Kendall Cooper and redshirt freshman Rebecca Greenwell helped the West squad to a 92-64 win.
  • Notre Dame and Duke will have a combined four future players suiting up in the 2015 McDonald’s High School All-America Game on April 1 at the United Center in Chicago (6:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU). The Fighting Irish will have three players in the game (tying for the most representatives from one program in this year’s contest), as Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale and Ali Patberg all compete for the East Team against a West Team that will include Duke incoming freshman Kyra Lambert.
  • Loyd and Duke senior center/forward Elizabeth Williams were teammates on the 2010 USA Basketball Under-17 National Team that won the gold medal at the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championships in Toulouse, France.
  • Allen, Reimer and Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner played alongside Chidom and Greenwell on the 2012 USA Basketball U17 World Championship Team that won the gold medal with a perfect 8-0 record in the tournament, which was contested in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Reimer and Greenwell made up half the USA Basketball roster at the inaugural FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship in 2011 in Rimini, Italy. That squad earned honorary bronze medals from FIBA after being forced to forfeit its third-place game vs. Japan when Reimer and Greenwell were injured.
  • Reimer and Greenwell were teammates on the 2011 USA Basketball U16 National Team that won gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Merida, Mexico.
  • Notre Dame junior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey joined forces with Cooper on the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team that struck gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Notre Dame athletic trainer Anne Marquez filled a similar role for Team USA at the event.
  • Duke vice president/director of athletics Kevin White spent eight years (2000-08) in a similar role at Notre Dame, and was at the helm when the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team won the 2001 national championship. Several of White’s lieutenants on the Duke athletics staff also have Notre Dame ties, including deputy director of athletics Nina King (director of rules education at Notre Dame from 2005-08; graduated from Notre Dame in 2000, earning bachelor’s of business administration degree from Mendoza College of Business; served as head student manager for Fighting Irish women’s swimming & diving program as a senior in 1999-2000).
  • Duke’s director of marketing & promotions Nicole Jones held several roles in Notre Dame’s marketing & promotions department from 2003-10.
  • Duke assistant director for resource acquisition David Brochu was part of the staff with Notre Dame Sports Properties from 2007-10.
  • Duke assistant track & field (throws) coach B.J. Linnenbrink served in a similar capacity at Notre Dame from 2003-07.

Ranking File
Notre Dame is 8-1 against ranked opponents (5-1 against top-10 teams), with six of those eight victories coming by double figures, including all five wins over top-10 opponents.

In the past four seasons (2011-12 to present), the Fighting Irish are 49-7 (.875) against ranked opponents, with more than 75 percent of those Top 25 wins (37 of 49) by double digits.

Department of Defense
In the past 11 games, Notre Dame has shown marked improvement in its defense, allowing opponents to score just 54.7 points per game while forcing 16.7 turnovers per night, posting a rebounding margin of +9.3 per game and blocking 4.6 shots per contest.

The Fighting Irish have been particularly stingy at the three-point line, holding opponents to a .234 three-point percentage (33 of 141) in the past 11 games, a stretch that has included matchups with two top-10 opponents (Duke and Louisville) as well as the ACC’s top three-point shooting team in conference play, Virginia.

Collectively, those three teams made five of 30 three-point attempts (.167) against Notre Dame, highlighted by a zero for 12 whitewash of No. 10/11 Duke on Feb. 16 at Purcell Pavilion.

Fighting Irish In The ACC Championship
Notre Dame is in the midst of its second ACC Championship this weekend, looking to defend the ACC postseason crown it earned to cap off last year’s inaugural season in the conference.

Between their memberships in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (Horizon League), BIG EAST Conference and ACC, the Fighting Irish have played in 27 league tournaments, compiling a 40-19 (.678) record in conference tournament games.

In that time (1989-present), Notre Dame has won seven titles (MCC-5, BIG EAST-1, ACC-1) and reached the tournament championship game 13 times, while advancing to the league tournament semifinals in 19 of those 27 seasons.

Before last year’s three-game run to the ACC crown, the Fighting Irish posted a 24-17 (.585) record in 18 BIG EAST Championship appearances. Notre Dame also won the 2013 BIG EAST title (61-59 at Connecticut on a layup by Natalie Achonwa with 1.8 seconds left) in the last of their seven title game appearances (1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013). In addition, the Fighting Irish reached the BIG EAST semifinals in 11 of their 18 years.

Prior to joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96, Notre Dame won the MCC Tournament five times, all in six-year span (1989-92, 1994), and made the tournament semifinals in 1995 (its final year in that conference).

Other ACC Championship Tidbits

  • Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed in its conference tournament for the fourth consecutive year, and ninth time in 28 years (also 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995 in the MCC; 2001, 2012 and 2013 in the BIG EAST; 2014 in the ACC). In eight previous tournaments as a top seed, Notre Dame has won five titles (1990, 1991 and 1994 MCC; 2013 BIG EAST; 2014 ACC) and reached the championship game on two other occasions (2001 and 2012 BIG EAST).
  • Dating back to the start of its BIG EAST tenure in 1995-96, the Fighting Irish are 22-7 (.759) in conference tournaments when playing as the higher seed.
  • Beginning with the classic 2001 BIG EAST title game against Connecticut (won by the Huskies on Sue Bird’s fadeaway jumper at the buzzer), 18 of the past 29 Fighting Irish games in the tournament have been decided by 11 points or fewer, including 11 by single digits (Notre Dame is 8-10 in these close contests).
  • Since 1995-96, more than half (23) of Notre Dame’s 44 conference tournament games have featured margins of 11 points or fewer, with the Fighting Irish going 11-12 (.478) in those games.

48 Hours
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Notre Dame has played 61 times when it has had a short one-day break (or less) between games.

When faced with such a tight turnaround, the Fighting Irish have risen to the occasion in recent seasons, going 51-10 (.836) on the back half of these two-game (or more) blitzes during the past seven years.

Saturday’s ACC Championship semifinal marks the seventh time this season Notre Dame has played twice in less than 48 hours, with the Fighting Irish going 6-0 in such games thus far. Most recently, Notre Dame posted a 74-36 win at Clemson on Jan. 24, a day and a half following an 89-76 victory over Georgia Tech at Purcell Pavilion.

Game #31 Recap: Miami (ACC Championship Quarterfinal)
No. 2 Notre Dame hasn’t had many scores to settle in its short time in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Just this one.

The top-seeded Fighting Irish avenged their only ACC loss in two years Friday by beating Miami 77-61 in an ACC quarterfinal.

“Any time you lose a game,” coach Muffet McGraw said, “That’s the team you want to play again.”

ACC Player of the Year Jewell Loyd scored 16 points, and league Freshman of the Year Brianna Turner had 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the Fighting Irish (29-2) win their 15th straight game. Taya Reimer and Madison Cable each scored 13 points.

The defending league tournament champions held on after a late 15-4 run to advance to the semifinals.

Jessica Thomas scored a career-high 24 points and Jassany Williams had 16 for the eighth-seeded Hurricanes (19-12).

Adrienne Motley, who averages nearly 17 points, finished with just five on two of eight shooting with Loyd guarding her when Notre Dame wasn’t playing zone defense.

Kathryn Westbeld had 10 points for the Irish, who held the Hurricanes to one of 10 shooting over 6 1/2 minutes down the stretch to improve to 5-0 in ACC tournament games.

“I thought that might have been where we could have made our little run,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “If you’re going to beat Notre Dame, you’ve got to make those plays. … They’re like gold when you get them.”

Led by Loyd and Turner, they haven’t lost since Miami handed them their only ACC setback on Jan. 8.

In that 78-63 loss in Coral Gables, Motley scored a career-high 32 and Williams blocked nine shots.

“Miami’s a great team, but we definitely wanted to get them back,” said Reimer, who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting.

Miami threatened to make it two for two after cutting it to 48-43 on Thomas’ drive with 13 1/2 minutes left.

Lindsay Allen converted a three-point play to start the decisive run, and Cable made a key three-pointer before Turner converted a three-point play to give Notre Dame its largest lead, 63-47, with 9:05 remaining.

Beyond The Box Score — Miami

  • Notre Dame advances to the conference tournament semifinals for the sixth consecutive season (and 19th time in 27 years), as well as the second time in as many seasons it has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • Notre Dame is 22-7 (.759) as the higher seed in conference tournaments dating back to 1995-96, its inaugural season in the BIG EAST Conference.
  • Notre Dame avenges one of its two losses this season by nearly the same score that Miami defeated the Fighting Irish in the regular season (78-63 on Jan. 8 in Coral Gables).
  • Notre Dame improves to 16-4 all-time against Miami, including a 2-0 record in the postseason (the Fighting Irish defeated the Hurricanes, 67-52 in the 2000 BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinals in Storrs, Connecticut).
  • Notre Dame is 33-6 (.846) all-time against Florida schools, including a 20-3 (.870) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined) — the Fighting Irish also have 13 of their last 14 games against teams from the Sunshine State.
  • Notre Dame is 15-1 (.938) all-time when playing in the state of North Carolina, including a 6-0 record at neutral sites (4-0 at the Greensboro Coliseum).
  • The Fighting Irish have held their last 11 opponents to 63 points or fewer.
  • Including regular season and postseason tournament results (conference and NCAA), Notre Dame has won 73 of its last 77 games against conference opponents.
  • The Fighting Irish had five double-figure scorers for the eighth time this season (8-0 record).
  • Junior guard Jewell Loyd moved into seventh place on the Fighting Irish career scoring list with 1,774 points, passing Alicia Ratay (1,763 points from 1999-2003).
  • Freshman forward Brianna Turner posted her team-leading seventh double-double of the season (first since Feb. 5 against Virginia), fifth-most by a Fighting Irish rookie in program history and most since Jacqueline Batteast’s 11 double-doubles in 2001-02.
  • Senior guard Madison Cable set a new career high by going eight for eight from the free-throw line, while scoring in double digits for the career-best eighth time this season.
  • Sophomore forward Taya Reimer has scored in double figures in her last four games, while her three blocks were one off her season and career high.

— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director