Jan. 23, 2016
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 20
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (18-1 / 6-0 ACC) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (14-4 / 2-3 ACC)
DATE: Jan. 24, 2016
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 7-1
STREAK: ND – won 3
1ST MTG: ND 75-64 (1/3/01)
LAST MTG: ND 74-50 (1/29/15)
TV: ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Mike Monaco, p-b-p / Nik Valdiserri, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
- Notre Dame is seeking its 400th all-time win in regular-season conference play (399-91, .814), covering the program’s membership in the North Star, Midwestern Collegiate, BIG EAST and Atlantic Coast conferences.
- Notre Dame tips off its “Fighting For Flint” project to raise donations for the citizens of Flint, Michigan, who are in the midst of a water shortage crisis.
No. 3 Fighting Irish Host Virginia Tech in Sunday Matinee
While a cold winter storm batters the East Coast, a hot ACC matchup looms at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Purcell Pavilion, as the conference’s top offense meets the ACC’s top defense when No. 3 Notre Dame plays host to Virginia Tech. The game will be televised live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, 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 (18-1, 6-0) ran its winning streak to 11 games with a 90-62 victory over No. RV/24 Syracuse on Thursday night at Purcell Pavilion.
Senior guard/captain Michaela Mabrey tied her career high with 20 points and matched the arena record with six three-pointers (as part of Notre Dame’s arena record-tying 11 triples) to lead the Fighting Irish offensive charge.
- 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 Tech is receiving votes in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Notre Dame is off to a 18-1 start or better for the fourth time in five years and sixth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14).
- The Fighting Irish are 5-1 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 20th in this week’s AP poll and 25th in the current 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 14.4 ppg.) and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (6.7 to 9.4 ppg.), as well as the reliable production off the bench from freshman guards Marina Mabrey (12.6 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.5 ppg.).
- The Fighting Irish feature a very balanced attack with four players currently posting double-figure scoring averages (and two others at 9.0 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 31.1 points per game, compared to 14.1 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 15 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Friday), including five top-10 rankings – three-point field-goal percentage (1st – .450), field-goal percentage (2nd – .499), scoring offense (7th – 82.4 ppg.), scoring margin (9th – +19.4 ppg.) and assists (10th – 18.8 apg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 13th in assist/turnover ratio (1.25), while standing third in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.947).
- Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 166 consecutive weeks (the past 96 weeks in the AP Top 10), extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll, and ranking fifth in the nation among active AP poll appearances.
- Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for 108 of 119 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (119).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (64 of 70 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, making its 133rd 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 428-91 (.825) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 105-6 (.946) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 81 of their last 85 games against conference opponents (and 29 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 44-1 against conference foes (37-1 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 126-7 (.947) 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 44-6 (.880) record against ranked teams (24-6 against top-10 opponents).
- With 717 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 805 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 973 as of Friday).
The Notre Dame-Virginia Tech Series
Notre Dame and Virginia Tech will play for the ninth time in their series history on Sunday afternoon. The Fighting Irish hold a 7-1 edge over the Hokies, including a 4-0 record at Purcell Pavilion, and Notre Dame has won the past three series games against Virginia Tech, the past two coming since the Fighting Irish joined the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Virginia Tech Met
Kathryn Westbeld scored a career-high 17 points in leading No. 4 Notre Dame to a 74-50 victory over Virginia Tech on Jan. 29, 2015, at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The freshman forward was averaging 8.6 points per game before scoring 11 in the first half as Notre Dame jumped out to a 43-17 lead.
Westbeld was 8-of-14 from the floor and Notre Dame shot 50 percent (28-of-56). She went 5-of-6 from the floor in the first half, as the Fighting Irish led by as many as 28 points.
She got help from Jewell Loyd, who was leading the ACC in scoring at 21.6 points per game. She added 16 points for the Fighting Irish, including 14 in the first half. Loyd went 5-of-9 from the field, making both three-point attempts.
Notre Dame trailed by a basket early in the game but used a 21-3 run to grab the lead and never trailed again. Loyd scored 10 points during the spurt.
The Fighting Irish statistically dominated the first 20 minutes en route to a 26-point halftime lead. They shot 57.1 percent (16-of-28) in the first half, including 55.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc (5-of-9). They also outrebounded the Hokies 22-10.
Hannah Young led Virginia Tech, which outscored Notre Dame 33-31 in the second half, with 13 points. Rachel Camp, the Hokies’ leading scorer at 15 points per game coming in, had just six and fouled out with 8:21 remaining.
Virginia Tech shot only 35.8 percent from the floor (19-of-53) in losing for the seventh time in eight games.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Virginia Tech Met at Purcell Pavilion
Six players scored for second-ranked Notre Dame during a 15-1 run to end the first half against Virginia Tech that broke the game open and turned the game into a 74-48 rout on Jan. 30, 2014, at Purcell Pavilion.
Kayla McBride led the Fighting Irish with 18 points, sparking the run with a jumper. The hosts then opened the second half with an 8-2 spurt to quickly extend the lead to 24 points and eventually led by 30.
One of the highlights for Notre Dame was an alley-oop layup by Jewell Loyd, who made a steal, passed to Lindsay Allen and Allen passed it back for one of her season-high eight assists. It was the third straight basket for Loyd, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds and three steals.
The Fighting Irish outscored the Hokies 32-12 in the paint and had a 41-34 advantage in rebounds. Notre Dame led 37-19 at halftime, as Virginia Tech was held to 27.4 percent shooting.
Other Notre Dame-Virginia Tech Series Tidbits
- Notre Dame is 14-8 (.636) all-time against Virginia schools, having won their last eight games against the Commonwealth. The Fighting Irish earned a 74-46 win over Virginia on Jan. 7 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- The Fighting Irish are 6-1 (.857) all-time at home against Virginia schools, and have won their last six following an 82-65 loss to Old Dominion on Jan. 10, 1989.
- 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.
- Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff is a close friend of Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, and previously coached against Brey’s Fighting Irish men’s program while at the helm at Boston University (a 74-67 Notre Dame win on Dec. 13, 2008, at Purcell Pavilion).
- Former Fighting Irish guard Dr. Anne Weese (’04) currently works as a staff counselor at the Cook Counseling Center on the Virginia Tech campus. Weese (first name is pronounced Annie) played two seasons at Notre Dame (2002-04) as a rare junior college transfer to the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program, coming from Seward County (Kansas) Community College. Weese played in 19 games during her two years at Notre Dame, averaging 0.5 points and 0.4 rebounds per game while helping the Fighting Irish advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 both seasons.
Notre Dame is Fighting For Flint
- The Notre Dame women’s basketball program has tipped off a grassroots effort entitled “Fighting For Flint” to help the citizens of Flint, Michigan, and Genessee County, who currently are enduring a water shortage crisis due to contamination in the water supply.
- Prior to Sunday’s game, Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame senior associate athletics director Jill Bodensteiner will present Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff with a monetary donation for the Flint Water Project, an effort spearheaded by a volunteer group of Virginia Tech engineering faculty and students, who are teaming up to help find a solution to the Flint water crisis.
- Notre Dame fans also are invited to participate in “Fighting For Flint,” either by making their own monetary donations at Sunday’s game against Virginia Tech (collection buckets will be available at Gates 8, 9 and 10) or by bringing donations of money or bottled water to the Notre Dame women’s basketball office (Gate 1 of Purcell Pavilion) next week. All fan donations (financial and water) will be directed to Catholic Charities of Shiawasee and Genessee Counties, which will help distribute these donations to the citizens of Flint and the surrounding area.
Turner of Fortune
- Sophomore forward Brianna Turner has had a significant effect on Notre Dame’s fortunes throughout her young career, and entered this year as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Thus, when she was sidelined for six games earlier this season with a shoulder injury, the Fighting Irish saw a noticeable change in their productivity, mainly at the defensive end of the court without their 6-foot-3 rim protector.
- Through 13 games with Turner in the lineup, Notre Dame has allowed just 56.6 points per game, while holding opponents to a .350 field-goal percentage and .295 three-point percentage, while posting a +4.4 rebounding margin. In fact, just one opponent has scored more than 70 points against the Fighting Irish with Turner in uniform this season (Georgia Tech in an 85-76 Notre Dame win on Dec. 30), and eight of those 13 foes did not top 60 points.
- Conversely, when Turner was out from Nov. 27-Dec. 12, the Fighting Irish allowed 76.8 points per game, while opponents shot .458 from the field, .339 from the three-point line and Notre Dame’s rebounding margin was trimmed to +4.5 rpg.
Allen Is The Iron Woman
- Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw has often noted that she seeks the kind of point guard to whom she can roll the ball out as a freshman and then take it back when that player graduates four years later. As it turns out, junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen is following that notion to the letter.
- Allen has started all 96 games of her Fighting Irish career, matching the second-longest streak of consecutive games started in Notre Dame history. Only Jacqueline Batteast (97 from 2002-05) and Katryna Gaither (95 from 1994-97) have equal or longer strings of consecutive starts than Allen.
- When Allen took the reins for Notre Dame’s 2013-14 season opener against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9, 2013 (a 99-50 win at Purcell Pavilion), she became the first true freshman to start at point guard for Notre Dame in a season opener since Nov. 26, 1994, when Mollie Peirick led the Fighting Irish offense in a 65-60 overtime loss at 25th-ranked Seton Hall.
- Allen’s current run of consecutive starts is longer than a pair of recent All-America guards who were poised to challenge the school record in Skylar Diggins (86 from 2011-13) and Jewell Loyd (86 from 2013-15). Diggins twice gave up her starting spot for graduating seniors to start on Senior Day, while Loyd started nearly every game of her three seasons at Notre Dame before forgoing her final year of eligibility in 2015-16 to enter the WNBA Draft.
- With Allen at the helm, the Fighting Irish have amassed a stellar 91-5 (.948) record – and when you factor in her final prep season at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., Allen’s teams are a combined 118-6 (.952) in the past four years when she’s been in the starting lineup.
McGraw Earns 800th Career Win
- With her team’s 65-55 win on Jan. 3 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 805-263 (.754), including a 717-222 (.764) 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 12 games this year, going 11-1 in those contests.
- Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 129-6 (.956) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 99 of their last 101 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 better than 9.0 ppg.), three of whom are ranked among the top 30 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (as of Friday) – graduate student guard Madison Cable (11th – 14.4 ppg.), freshman guard Marina Mabrey (23rd – 12.6 ppg.; third among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (28th – 11.5 ppg.; fifth among ACC rookies).
Three For The Money
- Notre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 126 treys this season (6.6 per game), including 111 in its last 15 games (7.4 per game).
- 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 Friday), connecting at a .450 clip from beyond the arc, while graduate student guard Madison Cable (.500) currently ranks as the nation’s No. 2 individual three-point shooter.
The Second Platoon
- Another reason for Notre Dame’s success this season has been the performance of its reserves, who are averaging more than 31 points per game and have outscored the opponent’s bench by more than a 2-to-1 margin (31.1 ppg. to 14.1 ppg.).
- The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored its opposite number in 18 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 (11.5 ppg.) head up the strong Fighting Irish bench contingent, which has seen at least one reserve score in double figures in 16 games this year (total of 25 double-figure outings).
- Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 126-7 (.947) 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 52 of its last 54 (and 59 of its last 66) 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).