Nov. 15, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 3 Notre Dame women’s basketball team tipped off the 2015-16 season with a 85-54 win over Bucknell on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 8,948 fans at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish earned their 21st consecutive season-opening win and in the process, head coach Muffet McGraw collected her 700th victory at Notre Dame, becoming just the second Fighting Irish coach in any sport in the 128-year history of Notre Dame athletics to record 700 wins under the Golden Dome.
”It was great to be here in front of our fans,” McGraw said. ”We’ve got such great support.
”It’s been an honor for me to coach here.”
The Irish (1-0) led 41-26 at halftime.
”It got away from us,” Bison coach Aaron Roussell said. ”But there’s only so much you can do against that kind of talent.”
Notre Dame outscored Bucknell 54-24 in the paint. While the Irish went just 4 of 9 from 3-point range, they were very successful on the interior.
”We really looked to go inside and (Turner) did a much better job in the second half,” McGraw said. ”(Mabrey) gave us a huge lift off the bench. She saw the opportunity and took advantage of it.”
”The way they defended us bothered us,” Roussell said.
Turner, a sophomore, credited McGraw for her continued growth.
”Every day at practice, I learn five new things about basketball,” Turner said. ”She’s such a great teacher.”
Mabrey, who scored 12 points in the second quarter, said her coach has been both demanding and understanding.
”She’s really tough on us,” Mabrey said. ”Yet she’s been patient with the freshmen.”
”The areas of concern are many.” McGraw said. ”It’s the consistency. You expect freshmen to be up and down but with the rest of the team, you expect it to be at a certain level. We’re not there yet.”
Notre Dame: The Irish have won 21 consecutive season openers and are 26-3 in such games during the McGraw era (since 1987-88).
Notre Dame hosts Toledo on Wednesday.