Nov. 27, 2015
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 6
Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division – Championship
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. UCLA Bruins (3-1 / 0-0 Pac-12)
DATE: Nov. 28, 2015
TIME: 3:15 p.m. ET
AT: Freeport, Bahamas – St. Georges High School (1,200)
SERIES: UCLA leads 9-7
STREAK: ND ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” won 3
1ST MTG: UCLA 50-45 (12/5/81)
LAST MTG: ND 82-67 (12/28/14)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p / Ruth Riley, color)
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb Storylines
- Notre Dame goes in search of its sixth regular season tournament title since 2009-10, and its second Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division crown in four years (also 2011).
- The Fighting Irish is seeking to complete the month of November without a loss for the fourth consecutive season.
- No. 3 Fighting Irish Duel With UCLA Saturday In Bahamas
It’s been an opening month full of challenges unlike any in recent seasons, as No. 3 Notre Dame takes the court for the sixth time in 13 days when it faces UCLA at 3:15 p.m. (ET) Saturday in the championship game of the Junkanoo Jam’s Freeport Division at St. Georges High School in Freeport, Bahamas. The game can be heard live on the radio in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and around the world online through the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv). Notre Dame (5-0) advanced to Saturday’s tournament title contest with a 94-52 win over Denver on Friday afternoon in Freeport. After spotting the Pioneers an early 6-5 lead, the Fighting Irish closed the first half on a 45-9 run, shooting 69 percent (20-of-29) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes to take command. Freshman guard Marina Mabrey led a balanced Notre Dame attack on Friday with a career-high 19 points. Marina’s senior sister and Fighting Irish tri-captain, Michaela Mabrey, added 13 points, as did graduate student guard Madison Cable and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld. Rankings
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- UCLA is receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press poll and is receiving votes in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Quick Hitters
- Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 158 consecutive weeks (including the past 88 weeks in the AP Top 10), 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, with the vast majority of that time (56 of 62 weeks) spent in the AP Top 5.
- Notre Dame also is ranked No. 3 in this week’s Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll. It’s the eighth consecutive season and 14 of the past 19 years the Fighting Irish have appeared in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll.
- For the sixth time in seven years, Notre Dame opened the season ranked in the top 10 in both national polls, including prior top-five berths in the AP poll in 2009-10 (fourth), 2011-12 (second) and 2014-15 (third).
- Notre Dame has a remarkable tradition of success at home inside Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 421-91 (.822) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 98-6 (.942) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 75 of their last 79 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 the 2013-14 season, Notre Dame is 38-1 against conference foes (31-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason). The last ACC school to lose only once in regular-season conference play during a two-year span was Duke in 2003 and 2004.
- Guards Madison Cable, Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey have helped Notre Dame to a 113-6 (.950) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenging 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.
- 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 39-5 (.886) record against ranked teams (22-5 against top-10 opponents).
- With 704 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 (774-80 from 1962-95).
- With 792 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/first among active with 965 as of Friday).
- The Notre Dame-UCLA Series
Notre Dame and UCLA will square off for the 17th time in series history, with the Bruins holding a slim 9-7 lead over the Fighting Irish. However, Notre Dame has won the past three meetings and five of the past six against UCLA, with the intersectional rivals set to play for the fifth time in the past six seasons. The Last Time Notre Dame and UCLA Met
Lindsay Allen scored a (then) career-high 22 points and set numerous other personal bests to help No. 4 Notre Dame beat UCLA 82-67 on Dec. 28, 2014, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. Allen was 8-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. The Fighting Irish point guard matched her previous career high of 17 points by halftime and set career highs in field goals and three-pointers made. With Allen firing on all cylinders early, Notre Dame went into halftime with a comfortable 42-29 lead. The Fighting Irish kept it up in the second half and never let UCLA get closer than nine points after the break. Brianna Turner added 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for her first career double-double and Jewell Loyd had 12 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists for Notre Dame. Michaela Mabrey had 11 points to give the Fighting Irish four players in double figures and six Notre Dame players made at least three field goals. Nirra Fields scored 20 points and Jordin Canada had 16 for UCLA. Other Notre Dame-UCLA Series Tidbits
- Saturday will mark just the second neutral-site game between Notre Dame and UCLA. The Bruins won the first such game, 82-54 on Nov. 26, 1982, at the Orange Crush Classic in Chicago.
- Nearly half (7) of the 16 games in the series have been decided by single digits, including three in overtime (two in double OT, close to half of the five multiple-overtime games in Notre Dame history).
- Expect to see some offensive fireworks in this series, with three of the past six games featuring both teams topping the 80-point mark and at least one side doing so in seven of the past eight meetings.
- Notre Dame is 28-15 (.651) all-time against teams from the state of California, with a 17-11 (.607) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined) and a 266-7 (.788) record in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
- This will mark the seventh consecutive season Notre Dame has played at least one California school, with the Fighting Irish going 8-1 against the Golden State since 2009-10, including an active seven-game winning streak.
- Of the five multiple-overtime games in Notre Dame history, four have come at Purcell Pavilion, including UCLA’s 86-83 double-overtime victory over the Fighting Irish on Nov. 18, 2010, at Purcell Pavilion.
- The one road double-overtime game in Notre Dame history also involved UCLA, with the Fighting Irish edging the Bruins, 93-91 in Nov. 30, 1997, at Pauley Pavilion.
- The Notre Dame-UCLA men’s basketball rivalry is arguably the most famous in NCAA history, punctuated by the memorable 71-70 Fighting Irish win over the Bruins on Jan. 19, 1974, at Purcell Pavilion (then known as the Joyce Center), snapping UCLA’s record 88-game winning streak. Notre Dame’s Dwight Clay hit the decisive shot in that victory from the deep right corner in front of the Fighting Irish bench with 29 seconds remaining – at the time, the team benches were located on the north side of the court (currently where the broadcast tables sit), and the location of Clay’s historic shot is now directly in front of the ramp leading to the Notre Dame women’s basketball locker room off the northeast corner of the court.
- UCLA senior guard Nirra Fields was on the West squad at the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Game, which lost to its East counterpart, including Fighting Irish senior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey), 79-78 at the United Center in Chicago.
- Notre Dame sophomore forward Brianna Turner played alongside UCLA sophomore guard Jordin Canada and sophomore forward Lajahna Drummer on the West Team in the 2014 McDonald’s High School All-America Game at the United Center in Chicago. Turner was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after collecting 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, as well as the game-winning basket in the West’s 80-78 win over the East (a squad that included Fighting Irish sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld).
- Notre Dame vs. the Pac-12 Conference
- The Fighting Irish are 29-20 (.592) all-time against current Pac-12 Conference teams, with a 18-16 (.529) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined).
- Notre Dame has won 26 of its last 33 games against Pac-12 schools since a 93-72 loss at UCLA in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Championship (in what was the first-ever NCAA tournament game for the Fighting Irish).
- Notre Dame has won its last eight games against Pac-12 opponents since an 86-83 double-overtime loss to No. 15 UCLA on Nov. 18, 2010, at Purcell Pavilion.
- The Fighting Irish most recently faced a Pac-12 program in last year’s NCAA Oklahoma City Regional semifinals (Sweet 16), defeating No. 14/17 Stanford, 81-60 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
- Tournament Tested
Notre Dame has felt right at home in tournament situations during the past 20 seasons. Starting with the 1996-97 season, the Fighting Irish have won 39 of their last 43 regular-season tournament games (multi-game events only), including runs to the title in five tournaments since 2009-10 – 2009 Paradise Jam (Island Division), 2010 WBCA Classic, 2010 State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic, 2011 Junkanoo Jam (Freeport Division) and 2012 World Vision Classic. The only Notre Dame losses during this current stretch were three defeats to teams ranked in the top three nationally during the Preseason WNIT semifinals (72-59 vs. No. 3/2 Tennessee at Ruston, Louisiana, in 1996; 75-59 at No. 3 Maryland in 2007) or championship (94-81 at No. 1 Baylor in 2011), and a 67-63 overtime setback at No. 20 Colorado on Nov. 15, 2003, in the finals of the WBCA Classic – a game that saw the Buffaloes sink a desperation 30-footer at the end of regulation to force the extra period. Notre Dame is playing its only regular season tournament of the 2015-16 campaign, and its first since posting four consecutive victories in the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge, which was played in a “classic” format, with pre-determined matchups and no champion crowned. In that four-game run, the Fighting Irish defeated Holy Cross (104-29), Harvard (97-43) and Quinnipiac (112-52) at Purcell Pavilion, then ousted Kansas (89-47) during the tournament’s showcase day on a neutral floor at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Back In The Islands
Notre Dame is making its second appearance in the Junkanoo Jam, having also played in the tournament’s Freeport Division in 2012. That year, the Fighting Irish defeated USC in their opening game, 80-58, then rallied from a school record-tying 18-point second-half deficit to edge No. 7/6 Duke, 56-54 on Natalie Novosel’s foul-line jumper at the buzzer. Outside The Lower 48
Notre Dame will be playing its eighth regular season game outside the continental United States since the start of the 2009-10 season when the Fighting Irish take on UCLA Saturday. Notre Dame is 7-0 in such games, going 3-0 in two appearances at the Junkanoo Jam (Freeport, Bahamas), 3-0 at the 2009 Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands), and 1-0 in a neutral-site game against Duquesne on Dec. 1, 2013, at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ontario (played as a homecoming for former All-America forward Natalie Achonwa). In addition, the Fighting Irish went 3-0 during their summer 2013 European tour, winning games in London, Barcelona and Madrid. November To Remember
Notre Dame’s success during the past 21 seasons has been aided by its ability to get off to a good start. The Fighting Irish are 93-14 (.869) in November games since 1995-96 (when they joined the BIG EAST Conference). Notre Dame has won 30 of its last 31 games in the month of November, the lone exception being a 94-81 loss at No. 1 Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT championship game. 48 Hours
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Notre Dame has played 67 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 56-11 (.836) on the back half of these two-game (or more) blitzes during the past eight years. Notre Dame already is 1-0 on short rest this year, having posted a 110-54 win at Valparaiso on Monday, two days after a 75-64 victory at South Dakota State. Streak Stats
- Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 113-6 (.950) record.
- In that four-year span, five of the six Fighting Irish losses have come against top-three teams, including the past four 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 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) and 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).
- 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).
- Poise Under Pressure
- Notre Dame has won its last 19 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime, including all seven close games last season.
- The Fighting Irish last dropped a single-digit decision on March 6, 2012, falling 63-54 at No. 4 Connecticut in the BIG EAST Conference Tournament championship game at Hartford, Connecticut.
- Notre Dame also has been sharp when pushed to overtime, having won five in a row and seven of its last 10 games when going to an extra session.
- Game #5 Recap: Denver
Notre Dame used a balanced effort to win its opener at the Junkanoo Jam. Freshman Marina Mabrey scored a career-high 19 points to lead the No. 3 Irish to a 94-52 victory over Denver on Friday in Notre Dame’s Freeport Division opener at St. Georges High School in Freeport, Bahamas. “Another great game from her,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said about her young star. Her sister, Michaela, was one of three Irish players with 13 points. She hit three of Notre Dame’s nine 3-pointers as the Irish shot 60 percent (9 for 15) from behind the arc. “The 3 was really working for us against the zone, a big improvement from what we’ve been doing,” McGraw added. Denver held a brief 6-5 lead early on before the Irish scored 15 of the final 18 points in the first quarter to take control. Marina Mabrey took over in the second quarter scoring 15 of her points as the Irish (5-0) built a 50-15 halftime lead. The lead got up to as high as 47 in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame’s bench outscored Denver 48-10. “People on the bench were ready when they came in,” McGraw said. Samantha Romanowski scored a season-high 14 points, hitting four 3-pointers, to lead Denver (1-3). Beyond The Box Score – Denver
- For the fourth time in five games this season, Notre Dame held its opponent to 54 points or fewer.
- The Fighting Irish improve to 39-4 (.907) in multi-game tournament play since the start of the 1996-97 season.
- In the past seven years, Notre Dame is 7-0 in the regular season when playing outside the continental United States (3-0 at Junkanoo Jam, 3-0 at Paradise Jam in U.S. Virgin Islands, 1-0 at Toronto, Ontario).
- The Fighting Irish have won 26 consecutive games against first-time opponents and are 50-3 (.943) against new foes since the start of the 2000-01 season.
- Notre Dame is 10-2 (.833) all-time against current Summit League teams, with a 4-1 record away from home (Friday was the first-ever neutral site game for the Fighting Irish against a Summit League opponent).
- Notre Dame has won its last nine games immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday and is 26-13 (.667) all-time in its first game after Thanksgiving, including a 22-7 (.759) record in the Muffet McGraw era.
- The Fighting Irish are 93-14 (.869) in the month of November since the 1995-96 season and have won 30 of their last 31 November games.
- The Fighting Irish held Denver to an opponent season-low six points in the second quarter, matching Toledo’s total in the second period on Nov. 18 at Purcell Pavilion.
- Denver’s 15 first-half points were the fewest by a Notre Dame opponent since March 7, 2015, when No. 16 Duke scored 15 points in the first half of Notre Dame’s 55-49 win in the ACC Championship semifinals at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Notre Dame dished out a season-high 28 assists on 36 field goals, a sparkling 77.8 assist percentage. Through five games this season, the Fighting Irish have assisted on 107 of 167 field goals, good for a 64.1 assist percentage.
- Notre Dame had just 12 turnovers on Friday and has committed just 34 giveaways in the past three games (11.3 per game).
- The Fighting Irish sank a season-high nine three-point field goals on a season-best .600 three-point percentage.
- Notre Dame shot better than 55 percent from the field for the second consecutive game (.614 at Valparaiso on Monday; .571 against Denver on Friday), the first time it has done that since Jan. 19-22, 2015, when the Fighting Irish shot .582 against Tennessee and .565 against Georgia Tech, with both of those games played at Purcell Pavilion.
- For the second game in a row, freshman guard Marina Mabrey posted a career scoring high with 19 points (she had 18 on Monday at Valparaiso).
- Junior center Diamond Thompson tied her career high with six points and set a new personal best with five rebounds and 15 minutes played, matching or eclipsing her totals in Monday’s game at Valparaiso (six points, four rebounds in seven minutes).
– 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).