Feb. 3, 2016
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 23
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-1 / 9-0 ACC) vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack (16-6 / 7-2 ACC)
DATE: Feb. 4, 2016
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 4-0
STREAK: ND – won 4
1ST MTG: ND 64-53 (11/20/96)
LAST MTG: ND 67-60 (3/1/15)
TV: ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Conor Clingen, p-b-p / Jimmy Moley, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
- North Carolina State makes its first-ever appearance at Purcell Pavilion on Thursday.
- The Fighting Irish will hold Law Enforcement Appreciation Night on Thursday and will honor representatives from several local law enforcement agencies during the game.
No. 3 Fighting Irish Prepare For North Carolina State Thursday
After its second consecutive grueling ACC road win, No. 3 Notre Dame comes home Thursday for another tough conference test as the Fighting Irish meet North Carolina State at 7 p.m. (ET) at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, while radio coverage will be available on South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and worldwide online via the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
The Fighting Irish (21-1, 9-0) extended their current winning streak to 14 games and remained unbeaten in ACC play this year with a 68-61 victory at Duke on Monday night. Notre Dame led by 13 points in the first half, then rallied from a late five-point deficit to take the win.
Graduate student guard Madison Cable scored a game-high 18 points, while freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale added 16 points and sophomore forward Brianna Turner had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Fighting Irish.
- Notre Dame is No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- North Carolina State is receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press poll and receiving votes in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Notre Dame is off to a 21-1 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 have registered their 22nd 20-win season in the past 23 years (1993-2016) and the 26th in head coach Muffet McGraw’s 29 seasons at Notre Dame.
- 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 14th in this week’s AP poll and 16th in this week’s 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 13.5 ppg.) and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (6.7 to 8.7 ppg.), as well as the reliable production off the bench from freshman guards Marina Mabrey (11.7 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 8.7 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 30.4 points per game, compared to 13.6 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 15 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Wednesday), including five top-10 rankings – three-point field-goal percentage (1st – .419), field-goal percentage (4th – .490), scoring margin (8th – +19.4 ppg.), assists (8th – 18.4 apg.) and scoring offense (10th – 80.4 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 12th in assist/turnover ratio (1.26), while standing third in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.955).
- Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 168 consecutive weeks (the past 98 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 110 of 121 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (121).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (66 of 72 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 135th 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 429-91 (.825) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 106-6 (.946) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 87 of their last 91 games against conference opponents (and 30 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 47-1 against conference foes (40-1 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 129-7 (.949) 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 720 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 808 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 Wednesday).
The Notre Dame-North Carolina State Series
Notre Dame and North Carolina State will meet for the fifth time in their series history when they step on to the Purcell Pavilion hardwood Thursday night. The Fighting Irish are 4-0 all-time against the Wolfpack and have won all three matchups (two regular season, one postseason) since joining the ACC in 2013-14.
The Last Time Notre Dame and North Carolina State Met
Jewell Loyd scored a game-high 16 points to help No. 4 Notre Dame beat North Carolina State 67-60 on March 1, 2015, at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina, clinching its second consecutive outright ACC regular season title.
Madison Cable added 12 points for the Fighting Irish, who had already clinched the No. 1 seed for the league tournament in Greensboro.
Notre Dame shot 54 percent but committed 21 turnovers, and the Fighting Irish didn’t take firm control of this one until midway through the second half.
Notre Dame assumed command with a 13-2 spurt – keyed by three straight three-pointers from Cable in a 79-second span – to blow the game open and take a 15-point lead with about 10 1/2 minutes left.
Len’Nique Brown-Hoskin had 16 points to lead the undermanned Wolfpack. N.C. State has been down to just seven scholarship players and nine total for the previous month due to injuries, but hustled and scrapped to hang around.
N.C. State shot 38 percent and, unlike its upset of Duke two games earlier, couldn’t knock down enough three-pointers to stay with the Fighting Irish, missing 16 of 20 from beyond the arc against Notre Dame.
Other Notre Dame-North Carolina State Series Tidbits
- Thursday will mark North Carolina State’s first-ever visit to Purcell Pavilion. The Wolfpack (the only ACC team that has yet to play in South Bend) will be the third first-time visitor for the Fighting Irish this season – both Bucknell (Nov. 15) and Oregon State (Dec. 28) also made their first appearances at Purcell Pavilion during the 2015-16 non-conference slate.
- Notre Dame is 30-2 (.938) all-time against North Carolina schools (including an active 19-game winning streak), with a 10-0 record at home inside Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish are 2-0 this season against teams from the Old North State, having defeated North Carolina (88-54) on Jan. 10 at Purcell Pavilion and downing Duke (68-61) on Monday in Durham, North Carolina.
- In its 39-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).
- North Carolina State senior associate athletics director for sports administration & student services Sherard Clinkscales served as pitching coach on the Notre Dame baseball team from 2006-09.
Peaking When It Counts
- When the regular season enters its stretch run in the month of February, Notre Dame historically seems to raise its level of play.
- Since 1995-96, the Fighting Irish are 122-28 (.813) in February games (including an active 27-game winning streak), as well as a 68-6 (.919) mark at home.
- In the 29-year Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present), the Fighting Irish are 170-43 (.798) in the month of February, including a 90-12 (.882) home record.
- In that time, Notre Dame has never posted a losing record in February, and only once did the Fighting Irish end the month at .500 (4-4 in 1988-89, McGraw’s second year in South Bend).
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 16 games with Turner in the lineup, Notre Dame has allowed just 55.0 points per game, while holding opponents to a .336 field-goal percentage and .289 three-point percentage, while posting a +4.8 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 10 of those 16 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 99 games of her Fighting Irish career, setting the program record for the longest streak of consecutive games started in Notre Dame history, surpassing Jacqueline Batteast, who started 97 in a row from Jan. 26, 2002-March 21, 2005.
- 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 94-5 (.949) 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 121-6 (.953) 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 808-263 (.754), including a 720-222 (.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 13 games this year, going 12-1 in those contests.
- Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 130-6 (.956) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 100 of their last 102 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 8.7 ppg.), three of whom are ranked among the top 30 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (as of Wednesday) – graduate student guard Madison Cable (17th – 13.5 ppg.), freshman guard Marina Mabrey (24th – 11.7 ppg.; fourth among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (26th – 11.5 ppg.; fifth among ACC rookies). This doesn’t include sophomore forward Brianna Turner (team-high 13.9 ppg.), who has not yet played in the minimum 75 percent of her team’s games necessary to qualify for the ACC statistical rankings.
Three For The Money
- Notre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 138 treys this season (6.3 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) 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 country in three-point percentage (as of Wednesday), connecting at a .419 clip from beyond the arc, while graduate student guard Madison Cable (.471) currently ranks as the nation’s No. 4 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 30 points per game and have outscored the opponent’s bench by more than a 2-to-1 margin (30.4 ppg. to 13.6 ppg.).
- The Notre Dame reserves have combined to score at least 30 points in 12 games this year, including five 40-point outings.
- The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored the opponent’s bench in 20 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).
- The Fighting Irish reserves also outscored the full Virginia Tech roster on Jan. 24, edging the Hokies, 42-41 (and outscoring the Notre Dame starters by four).
- In addition to the Valparaiso and Virginia Tech games, 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 (11.7 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 18 games this year (total of 28 double-figure outings).
- Since the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 129-7 (.949) 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).
- Including postseason tournament results (league and NCAA), Notre Dame has won 87 of its last 91 games against conference opponents, dating back to the start of the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Tournament.
- Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference prior to the 2013-14 season, the Fighting Irish are 47-1 against league opponents, going 40-1 in the regular season and 7-0 in the postseason (including a win over then-ACC member Maryland in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals).
- Notre Dame’s only loss to an ACC opponent since joining the conference came on Jan. 8, 2015 – a 78-63 defeat at Miami that ended a school-record streak of 38 consecutive wins in regular season conference games. Since then, Notre Dame has won its last 22 regular season games against ACC opponents.
- The Fighting Irish also have won 30 consecutive home games against conference opponents, a streak that began on Feb. 14, 2012, with a 66-47 win over Providence. The current run is one shy of the school record set from 1998-2002 during the program’s BIG EAST membership.
Poise Under Pressure
- Notre Dame has won its last 25 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime, including six 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 54 of its last 56 (and 61 of its last 68) 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.
Nearly In A Class By Themselves
- For the fifth consecutive season, a Notre Dame senior class is threatening to set the bar in terms of career wins by one group. The current class of tri-captain Michaela Mabrey, plus Madison Cable and Hannah Huffman, is fourth all-time with 129 wins (129-6, .949), trailing only the past three senior classes (2013-15).
- Last year, the Fighting Irish two-player senior class of Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright posted the best four-year record (143-10, .935) in program history and tied for the second-most wins by one senior class in NCAA Division I history (Connecticut’s 2011 class had 150 victories, while the 1982 Louisiana Tech seniors also had 143 wins).
- Holloway and Wright’s feat topped the Notre Dame’s Class of 2014 (Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride), which had previously the best four-year record (138-15, .902) in school history, topping the win total (130) compiled by the prior year’s seniors (Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner).
- The year before Diggins and Turner departed, Notre Dame’s Class of 2012 (Brittany Mallory, Fraderica Miller, Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters) rang up 117 wins to set the early benchmark in this current era of Fighting Irish women’s basketball success.
- Prior to the 2011-12 season, the highest four-year win total by a senior class was 109, set by the Class of 2001 that capped their careers with the program’s first NCAA national championship and included (among others) consensus national player of the year and 13-year WNBA veteran Ruth Riley, as well as current Fighting Irish associate coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey.
— 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).