Jan. 6, 2016
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 15
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-1 / 2-0 ACC) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (11-4 / 1-0 ACC)
DATE: Jan. 7, 2016
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Charlottesville, Va. – John Paul Jones Arena (14,593)
SERIES: Series tied 2-2
STREAK: ND – won 2
1ST MTG: UVA 68-40 (2/22/81)
LAST MTG: ND 75-54 (2/5/15)
TV: virginiasports.com (PPV-live)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
- Notre Dame makes its second visit to the Virginia campus in three seasons after traveling to Charlottesville just once prior to 2013-14.
- The Fighting Irish have won their last five games in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
No. 3 Fighting Irish Head To Virginia Thursday
Challenges lurk around every corner in Atlantic Coast Conference play and No. 3 Notre Dame will be confronted with another stern test at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when it takes on Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia. The game is not scheduled for commercial television (Virginia’s web site will stream the game on a subscription basis), while radio coverage will be available on South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and worldwide online via the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
Notre Dame (13-1, 2-0 ACC) is coming off a gritty 65-55 win at Pittsburgh in its ACC road opener on Sunday. In a game that saw 14 ties and 19 lead changes, the Fighting Irish used an 11-0 fourth-quarter run to take command and secure head coach Muffet McGraw’s 800th career victory.
Sophomore forward Brianna Turner and graduate student guard Madison Cable again formed a solid 1-2 offensive punch for Notre Dame, with Turner scoring a game-high 20 points and Cable adding 16 points.
- Notre Dame is No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Virginia is not ranked.
- Notre Dame is off to a 13-1 start or better for the fifth consecutive season and the seventh time in the past eight years (dating back to the 2008-09 season).
- The Fighting Irish are 3-1 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 (15th this week).
- Despite losing two starters from the lineup that opened last April’s NCAA championship game in Tampa (and missing a third – sopphomore 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 16.0 ppg.) and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (6.7 to 9.6 ppg.), as well as the reliable production off the bench from freshman guards Marina Mabrey (12.6 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.2 ppg.).
- The Fighting Irish feature a very balanced attack with four players currently posting double-figure scoring averages (and two others at 9.6 ppg.). 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 31.5 points per game, compared to 14.3 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 25 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Tuesday), including four top-10 rankings – three-point field-goal percentage (1st – .459), field-goal percentage (6th – .495), assists (8th – 19.0 apg.) and scoring offense (9th – 83.7 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 11th in assist/turnover ratio (1.34) and 23rd in scoring margin (+18.1 ppg.), while tying for sixth in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.929).
- Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 164 consecutive weeks (the past 94 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.
- Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for 106 of 117 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (117).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (62 of 68 weeks) spent in the top five of the Associated Press poll.
- 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 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 425-91 (.824) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 102-6 (.944) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 77 of their last 81 games against conference opponents (and 27 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 40-1 against conference foes (33-1 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 121-7 (.945) 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 42-6 (.875) record against ranked teams (24-6 against top-10 opponents).
- With 712 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 800 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 972 as of Tuesday).
The Notre Dame-Virginia Series
Notre Dame and Virginia will play for the fifth time in their series history on Thursday night. The teams have split the first four matchups, including both prior games in Charlottesville. The Fighting Irish have won the past two games against the Cavaliers, both since joining the ACC prior to the 2013-14 season.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Virginia Met
Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner had 26 points and 13 rebounds as the No. 4 Fighting Irish beat Virginia, 75-54 on Feb. 5, 2015, at Purcell Pavilion.
Turner repeatedly took advantage of her size as the Fighting Irish led comfortably for much of the game. Turner scored twice on alley-oops, including using two hands to swat in a pass from Lindsay Allen for a basket and Notre Dame outscored the Cavaliers 50-18 in the paint.
The Cavaliers cut the lead to five points late in the first half after falling behind by 15, but trailed by 10 at halftime. They played Notre Dame even for most of the second half until a 12-0 run late put the game out of reach.
Jewell Loyd added 14 points for the Fighting Irish despite shooting just 4-of-15 from the field.
Allen added 12 points, six boards and four assists for the Fighting Irish, who outrebounded the Cavaliers 42-30, including 17-7 in the final 10 minutes. Faith Randolph led Virginia with 16 and Sarah Imovbioh finished with 16 rebounds and three points, all at the free-throw line. Imovbioh didn’t have an offensive rebound.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Virginia Met At John Paul Jones Arena
Natalie Achonwa scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and the Fighting Irish survived a late challenge to beat Virginia 79-72 on Jan. 12, 2014, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Cavaliers close to within 71-69 with 3:49 remaining before the Fighting Irish held on for their 38th consecutive regular-season victory, their 27th consecutive regular-season road game and 23rd consecutive regular-season league game.
Kayla McBride added 23 points and five assists for the Fighting Irish, including an acrobatic driving layup less than a minute after Virginia closed to within two. Jewell Loyd added 17 points for Notre Dame.
Faith Randolph led Virginia with a (then) career-best 23 points and Sarah Imovbioh had 18 points and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers were coming off a victory at Virginia Tech in which they rallied from 17 points down to win, but couldn’t quite repeat the feat despite getting so close and firing up the crowd of 4,451 at John Paul Jones Arena.
Notre Dame led 43-36 at halftime and seemed poised to blow the game open when it opened the second half on an 8-2 run to go ahead 51-38. Achonwa had five points and Loyd hit a three-pointer in the burst, but after a timeout, Virginia got three consecutive baskets from Randolph to begin a stirring comeback.
The Fighting Irish rebuilt their lead to 61-51, but an 11-4 run by Virginia pulled them within three. Randolph had five points in the burst and fed Ataira Franklin for another basket to get the Cavaliers within 65-62.
Three times the Fighting Irish scored to stretch their lead to five, and each time Virginia responded, finally getting the margin down to 71-69 on Imovbioh’s free throw with 3:49 remaining. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, Imovbioh missed her first two free throws on the trip before Franklin rebounded the second, and when Imovbioh was fouled again, she made one.
With its lead smaller than it had been since late in the first half, Notre Dame got a tough driving basket from McBride, rebounded a Virginia miss and got two free throws by Achonwa, then followed a turnover by the Cavaliers with Achonwa’s inside basket, extending the lead to 77-69 with 1:14 left.
Other Notre Dame-Virginia Series Tidbits
- Notre Dame is 13-8 (.619) all-time against Virginia schools, having won their last seven games against the Commonwealth. The Fighting Irish also will play host to Virginia Tech on Jan. 24 at Purcell Pavilion.
- The Fighting Irish are 7-7 (.500) against Virginia schools away from home (road/neutral sites combined) and have won their last three road games against teams from the Commonwealth.
- Notre Dame also won a pair of neutral-site games at the 2013 NCAA Norfolk Regional, which was held at Old Dominion’s Ted Constant Convocation Center. The Fighting Irish downed Kansas (93-63) and Duke (87-76) to earn the third in their current string of five consecutive NCAA Women’s Final Four appearances.
- Fighting Irish associate coach Beth Cunningham is no stranger to Virginia, having spent 11 seasons (2001-12) on the women’s basketball staff at VCU, the final nine (2003-12) as the Rams’ head coach before returning to her alma mater prior to the 2012-13 season.
- Of the 160 players who have suited up for the Notre Dame women’s basketball program during its 39-year history, only one has been a Virginia native. Cynthia Battel, a guard from Fairfax, appeared in 12 games for the Fighting Irish during the program’s second varsity seaon (1978-79), averaging 1.8 points and 0.8 assists per game.
- Prior to assuming his current post, Virginia baseball coach Brian O’Connor spent nine seasons (1995-2003) as assistant/associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame, most notably serving as the pitching coach while helping the Fighting Irish reach the 2002 College World Series.
- Virginia assistant athletics director for media relations Jim Daves served as assistant and associate sports information director at Notre Dame from 1986-92, spending his first four years in South Bend as the Fighting Irish women’s basketball media relations contact (the last three of those alongside current Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw, who arrived in South Bend in 1987).
- McGraw’s arrival at Notre Dame was due in no small part to then-Fighting Irish athletics director Gene Corrigan, who hired McGraw as one of his final acts in South Bend before taking over as Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner months later and leading the ACC from 1987-97. Corrigan came to Notre Dame in 1981 following 10 years at Virginia.
- The Corrigan family has several other ties to Notre Dame, most notably the current Fighting Irish head men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan, who is entering his 28th season at Notre Dame in 2016. During his tenure, Kevin Corrigan (a 1982 Virginia graduate) has led the Fighting Irish to five NCAA Final Fours, including national title game appearances in 2010 and 2014, and 17 conference titles, most recently the 2015 ACC crown.
- Kevin’s brother, Boo Corrigan, is a 1990 Notre Dame graduate and spent five years (2003-08) as an associate athletics director at the University, working closely with the Fighting Irish athletics marketing and corporate relations. He currently is in his fifth year as athletics director at Army West Point, where his senior woman administrator is Stephanie Menio, Notre Dame’s director of women’s basketball operations from 2005-12.
McGraw Reaches 800-Win Milestone
- With Sunday’s 65-55 win at Pittsburgh, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw became the 10th NCAA Division I coach to register 800 career victories. McGraw has a 34-year record of 800-263 (.753), including a 712-222 (.762) record in 29 seasons with the Fighting Irish.
- McGraw is just the fifth NCAA Division I coach in either men’s or women’s basketball history to amass 800 wins, seven NCAA Final Four berths and five NCAA championship game appearances in his/her career. The other four – all of whom are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – are Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and two men’s coaches – Duke’s current skipper Mike Krzyzewski and the late North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
- McGraw became the sixth-fastest Division I coach to reach the 800-win milestone, doing so in 1,063 career games to hit the mark quicker than several other notable coaches including Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (1,064 games), recently-retired Georgia head coach Andy Landers (1,068 games) and North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell (1,074 games), and nearly in lockstep with former Texas head coach Jody Conradt (1,062 games).
- Four of the five Division I coaches who reached 800 wins faster than McGraw are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – Auriemma (928 games), Summitt (958 games), Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer (997 games) and Conradt. The lone exception is Montana’s Robin Selvig (1,055 games).
- McGraw is among 14 women’s basketball nominees on the ballot for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016, which was announced Dec. 21. The four women’s basketball finalists for this year’s class will be revealed Feb. 12 during NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, with the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 unveiled April 4 during the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. McGraw previously was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Spreading The Wealth
- Notre Dame has had at least four players score in double figures in nine games this year, going 8-1 in those contests.
- Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 126-6 (.955) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 96 of their last 98 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 9.6 ppg.), three of whom are ranked among the top 30 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (as of Tuesday) – graduate student guard Madison Cable (4th – 16.0 ppg.), freshman guard Marina Mabrey (23rd – 12.6 ppg.; fourth among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (30th – 11.2 ppg.; seventh among ACC rookies).
Three For The Money
- Notre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 94 treys this season (6.7 per game), including 79 in its last 10 games alone.
- At their current pace, the Fighting Irish would easily 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).
- 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).
- Notre Dame’s .650 three-point percentage (13-of-20) in that Dec. 5 game 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 lead the nation in three-point percentage (as of Tuesday), connecting at a .459 clip from beyond the arc.
The Second Platoon
- Another reason for Notre Dame’s success this season has been the performance of its reserves, who are averaging nearly 32 points per game and have outscored the opponent’s bench by more than a 2-to-1 margin (31.5 ppg. to 14.3 ppg.).
- The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored its opposite number in 13 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).
- In addition to the Valparaiso game, 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 – Marina Mabrey (12.6 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.2 ppg.) head up the strong Fighting Irish bench contingent, which has seen at least one reserve score in double figures in 11 games this year (total of 17 double-figure outings).
- Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 121-7 (.945) 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).
Poise Under Pressure
- Notre Dame has won its last 24 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime, including five times this 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 the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
- Notre Dame has been sharp when pushed to overtime, winning six in a row and eight of its last 11 when going to an extra session.
Visiting Century City
- Notre Dame’s 110-51 victory at Valparaiso on Nov. 23 was its 13th 100-point game since the start of the 2011-12 season (and 10 other games of 95-99 points), a remarkable offensive explosion considering Notre Dame had 13 triple-digit games in the first 34 years of the program’s existence – and just four in the 12 seasons prior to its current run.
- Notre Dame has enjoyed remarkable success on the road in recent seasons, having won 50 of its last 52 (and 57 of its last 64) regular season road games.
- The only blemishes for the Fighting Irish in this current run (which dates back to the early portion of the 2011-12 campaign) are a 78-63 loss at Miami on Jan. 8, 2015, and a 91-81 defeat at top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 5, 2015, in the Jimmy V Classic.
- The loss in Miami snapped Notre Dame’s NCAA Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak. It was an amazing string of results in hostile territory, a streak that lasted exactly three years (Jan. 4, 2012-Jan. 4, 2015) and left Notre Dame tied with Connecticut for the NCAA Division I all-time mark in that category.
- One of the more notable highlights of Notre Dame’s sensational recent road run came on Jan. 5, 2013, when Notre Dame edged No. 1 Connecticut, 73-72, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut, earning its fourth all-time win over a top-ranked opponent and first-ever victory on the road.
— 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).