Jan. 9, 2016

by Chris Masters

Notre Dame Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 16

#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-1 / 3-0 ACC) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (12-5 / 2-0 ACC)

DATE: Jan. 10, 2016
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 4-1
STREAK: ND – won 2
1ST MTG: ND 99-86 (12/4/99)
LAST MTG: ND 89-79 (1/15/15)
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Beth Mowins, p-b-p / Stephanie White, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p / Ruth Riley, color)
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb


  • Notre Dame will make the second of six appearances on ESPN or ESPN2 this season (plus another nine games on ESPN3).
  • The Fighting Irish will play the 1,199th game in the program’s 39-year history on Sunday.

No. 3 Fighting Irish Ready To Host North Carolina Sunday
After spending the better part of the last month on the road, No. 3 Notre Dame returns home for four of its next five games, beginning at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it plays host to North Carolina at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, 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 Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).

Notre Dame (14-1, 3-0 ACC) stretched its current winning streak to a season high-tying seven games on Thursday with a 74-46 victory at Virginia. The Fighting Irish turned in one of their best defensive efforts of the year, holding the Cavaliers to 29.6 percent shooting and just 31 points during the final three quarters.

Sophomore forward Brianna Turner paced Notre Dame with game highs of 19 points and nine rebounds, while freshman guards Marina Mabrey (15 points) and Arike Ogunbowale (13 points) added solid offensive punch for the Fighting Irish off the bench.


  • Notre Dame is No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • North Carolina is not ranked.

Quick Hitters

  • Notre Dame is off to a 14-1 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 – 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 15.1 ppg.) and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (6.7 to 9.5 ppg.), as well as the reliable production off the bench from freshman guards Marina Mabrey (12.8 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.3 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 31.5 points per game, compared to 13.8 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
  • Notre Dame ranks among the top 15 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Saturday), including four top-10 rankings – three-point field-goal percentage (1st – .457), field-goal percentage (4th – .495), assists (8th – 18.8 apg.) and scoring offense (8th – 83.1 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 12th in assist/turnover ratio (1.30) and 13th in scoring margin (+18.8 ppg.), while tying for sixth in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.933).
  • 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 78 of their last 82 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 41-1 against conference foes (34-1 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 122-7 (.946) 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 713 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 801 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 Saturday).

The Notre Dame-North Carolina Series
Notre Dame and North Carolina will be meeting for the sixth time when they square off Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish hold a 4-1 series lead over the Tar Heels, including wins in the last two matchups (both since Notre Dame joined the ACC in 2013-14).

The Last Time Notre Dame and North Carolina Met
Freshman forward Brianna Turner tied or set career highs with 29 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks to help No. 7 Notre Dame beat No. 12/10 North Carolina, 89-79 on Jan. 15, 2015, at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Notre Dame shot 63 percent after halftime and turned away a late push by the Tar Heels.

Sophomore Lindsay Allen added a (then) career-best 24 points and nine assists, helping Notre Dame overcome a quiet game from its leading scorer, junior guard Jewell Loyd. She came in averaging 21.5 points but battling illness, she finished with just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting.

Notre Dame rallied from 11 down in the first half then blew a 14-point lead in the second when the Tar Heels got within 78-77 on Stephanie Mavunga’s three-pointer with 4:29 left.

But Allen immediately scored to start a clinching 9-0 run, which included a critical three-pointer from Michaela Mabrey with 2:41 left.

Allisha Gray scored 20 points and Mavunga added 13 points and 11 rebounds for North Carolina, which shot 37 percent.

The Last Time Notre Dame and North Carolina Met At Purcell Pavilion
Notre Dame seniors Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa gave the younger North Carolina squad a lesson on how dangerous the Princeton offense can be.

The second-ranked Fighting Irish continually beat the No. 14/11 Tar Heels with back-door plays, shooting 61 percent in the first half and 51 percent for the game en route to a 100-75 win on Feb. 27, 2014, at Purcell Pavilion to finish the 2013-14 regular season unbeaten at home.

McBride finished with 28 points, just three shy of the career-high scoring total she set against No. 7 Duke days earlier (also at Purcell Pavilion), and Achonwa added 24 points and eight rebounds.

Just like the win over Duke, when Notre Dame opened with a 20-2 run, the Fighting Irish took control from the start. Notre Dame forced four turnovers in two minutes to quickly take a 10-2 lead. Achonwa later scored nine points during an 11-0 run that gave Notre Dame a 31-15 lead. The Fighting Irish extended the lead to 22 when Michaela Mabrey hit a three-pointer late and led 55-38 at intermission.

The Tar Heels rallied in the second half with a 10-4 run, highlighted by a three-point play from Xylina McDaniel (who had a team-high 18 points), to cut the lead to 61-51.

However, McBride hit a jumper to spark a 6-0 spurt as the Fighting Irish regained control and eventually led by as many as 28 points down the stretch.

Other Notre Dame-North Carolina Series Tidbits

  • Notre Dame is 27-2 (.931) all-time against North Carolina schools (including an active 17-game winning streak), with a 9-0 record at home inside Purcell Pavilion.
  • 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).
  • Five players from last year’s McDonald’s High School All-America Game are represented on Sunday’s rosters. Notre Dame freshman guards Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale and Ali Patberg all played for the East Team that earned an 89-87 win over the West Team (which includes UNC rookie guards Destinee Walker and Stephanie Watts) at the United Center in Chicago.
  • Notre Dame senior guard/captain Michaela Mabrey and North Carolina senior forward Xylina McDaniel both played in the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Game in Chicago, with Mabrey’s East Team earning a 79-78 win over McDaniel’s West Team.
  • North Carolina women’s basketball athletic trainer Nicole Alexander spent five years (2008-13) as assistant athletic trainer at Notre Dame, working with the Fighting Irish softball and fencing programs.
  • North Carolina director of athletics Bubba Cunningham is a “Double Domer”, having earned his bachelor’s degree from the University in 1984 and his master’s degree in 1988, while also playing on the Fighting Irish golf team from 1982-83. Cunningham later served in Notre Dame’s athletics administration from 1988-2002, notably working with the University’s athletics facilities and helping oversee the mid-1990s expansion of Notre Dame Stadium, as well as the construction of the award-winning Warren Golf Course that opened in 2000 on the north side of campus.
  • North Carolina executive associate athletics director Larry Gallo was the head baseball coach at Notre Dame from 1980-87, and also served as the chair of the University’s Department of Physical Education from 1984-87.
  • UNC men’s tennis head coach Brian Kalbas is a 1989 graduate of Notre Dame, where he was a four-year monogram recipient on the Fighting Irish men’s tennis team. He then served as an assistant coach with the program from 1989-92, helping Notre Dame advance to the NCAA national championship match in 1992.
  • UNC associate director of compliance Tom Timmermans is a 2004 graduate of Notre Dame and was a four-year monogram recipient with the Fighting Irish men’s basketball team from 2000-04, helping Notre Dame reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2003.
  • North Carolina directors of athletic ticketing Kelsey Edwards and Laura Woodward joined the UNC staff in 2013-14 after previously serving as assistant directors in the athletics ticket office at Notre Dame.

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 nine games with Turner in the lineup, Notre Dame has allowed just 56.0 points per game, while holding opponents to a .354 field-goal percentage and .313 three-point percentage and posting a +6.0 rebounding margin. In fact, just one opponent has scored more than 64 points against the Fighting Irish with Turner in uniform this season (Georgia Tech in an 85-76 Notre Dame win on Dec. 30), and six of those nine 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.

McGraw Reaches 800-Win Milestone

  • 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 801-263 (.753), including a 713-222 (.763) 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 better than 9.0 ppg.), three of whom are ranked among the top 30 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (as of Saturday) – graduate student guard Madison Cable (6th – 15.1 ppg.), freshman guard Marina Mabrey (21st – 12.8 ppg.; third among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (30th – 11.3 ppg.; seventh among ACC rookies).

Three For The Money

  • Notre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 101 treys this season (6.7 per game), including 86 in its last 11 games.
  • 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 Saturday), connecting at a .457 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 13.8 ppg.).
  • The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored its opposite number in 14 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 (12.8 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.3 ppg.) head up the strong Fighting Irish bench contingent, which has seen at least one reserve score in double figures in 12 games this year (total of 19 double-figure outings).

— 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).