Jan. 13, 2016
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 17
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-1 / 4-0 ACC) vs. Boston College Eagles (12-3 / 0-2 ACC)
DATE: Jan. 14, 2016
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Chestnut Hill, Mass. – Conte Forum (8,606)
SERIES: ND leads 16-5
STREAK: ND – won 6
1ST MTG: BC 59-55 (12/30/83)
LAST MTG: ND 89-56 (2/8/15)
TV: bceagles.com (PPV-live)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: bceagles.com
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
- Notre Dame opens the second of its ACC repeat opponent series this season, with the Fighting Irish slated to host Boston College in the regular season finale on Feb. 27 at Purcell Pavilion.
- Notre Dame will play the 1,200th game in the program’s 39-year history on Thursday.
No. 3 Fighting Irish Shipping Up To Boston College Thursday
With its 2015-16 ACC schedule now past the quarter pole, No. 3 Notre Dame faces a familiar foe at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when the Fighting Irish travel to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, to take on Boston College at Conte Forum. The game will not be televised commercially (although it can be seen on a subscription basis through the BC web site), 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 (15-1, 4-0 ACC) picked up their season-high eighth consecutive win Sunday, downing North Carolina, 88-54 at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame shot 50.7 percent from the floor and led by at least 20 points for the majority of the second half en route to the victory.
- Notre Dame is No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Boston College is not ranked.
- Notre Dame is off to a 15-1 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 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 (17th 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 14.9 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 (12.9 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.6 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 32.2 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 Tuesday), including five top-10 rankings – three-point field-goal percentage (1st – .445), field-goal percentage (4th – .495), scoring offense (7th – 83.4 ppg.), assists (8th – 18.8 apg.) and scoring margin (9th – +19.7 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 12th in assist/turnover ratio (1.29), while tying for sixth in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.938).
- Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 165 consecutive weeks (the past 95 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 107 of 118 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (118).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (63 of 69 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 300th all-time appearance in that survey. 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 426-91 (.824) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 103-6 (.945) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 79 of their last 83 games against conference opponents (and 28 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 42-1 against conference foes (35-1 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 123-7 (.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 714 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 802 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 Tuesday).
The Notre Dame-Boston College Series
Notre Dame and Boston College will square off for the 22nd time on Thursday night in a series that includes both schools’ conference memberships in the BIG EAST (1995-2005) and now the ACC (2013-present). The Fighting Irish are 16-5 all-time against the Eagles (6-4 in Chestnut Hill) and have won their last six games against BC.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Boston College Met
Michaela Mabrey tied her career high with six three-pointers and finished with a career-best 20 points as No. 4 Notre Dame beat host Boston College, 89-56 on Feb. 8, 2015, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Mabrey was 6-of-9 from three-point range, including 5-of-6 in the first half.
Emilee Daley scored a career-best 18 points and Katie Quandt had 10 for Boston College. The Eagles were without second-leading scorer Nicole Boudreau, who was suspended for the game for violating team rules. The guard was averaging 12.2 points per game.
Notre Dame used a 20-0 run over a five-minute stretch midway through the first half to turn a six-point game into a 36-10 lead. Mabrey hit a pair of threes during the spurt, and Loyd scored seven points.
Notre Dame was 7-of-11 from three-point range in the first half and led 51-24 at halftime. The Fighting Irish then played their reserves for much of the second half, pushing the lead as high as 39 points.
Other Notre Dame-Boston College Series Tidbits
- As fellow members of the ACC (and formerly the BIG EAST Conference), Notre Dame and Boston College have met regularly in league play during the past two decades, with the Fighting Irish owning a 14-3 edge against the Eagles in conference games, including an active seven-game winning streak.
- The 2015-16 season marks the sixth time Notre Dame and Boston College have played a home-and-home series in conference play and the third consecutive year in ACC competition (after Notre Dame won both meetings in the first two seasons). The Fighting Irish also played BC twice during BIG EAST action in the 1996-97, 1998-99 and 2004-05 seasons, sweeping two of those three home-and-home series, while the teams split in 1998-99, each successfully defending their home court that season.
- In their last 10 matchups, the Fighting Irish have held BC to 61 points or fewer nine times and winning each time. The only exception was the Eagles’ 78-61 win in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Championship.
- Conversely, Notre Dame has scored at least 82 points in its last six games against Boston College after reaching that mark once in its first 15 series games against the Eagles.
- The Fighting Irish have won the past six games in the series by an average of 36.7 points per game.
- Notre Dame is 21-5 (.808) all-time against Massachusetts schools (16-5 vs. Boston College, 2-0 vs. UMass, 1-0 vs. UMass Lowell, Holy Cross and Harvard). The Fighting Irish have won their last 10 games against the Commonwealth since a 78-61 loss to Boston College on March 19, 2006, in the first round of the NCAA Championship in West Lafayette, Indiana.
- Three of the top girls’ basketball players to come from the Jersey Shore in recent seasons will suit up Thursday night at Conte Forum. Notre Dame’s sister guard tandem of senior Michaela Mabrey and freshman Marina Mabrey are from Belmar, N.J., and graduated from Manasquan High School, while Boston College junior guard Kelly Hughes is from Point Pleasant, N.J. (20 minutes south of Belmar), and matriculated from Point Pleasant Boro High School.
- Fighting Irish athletic trainer Anne Marquez is a native of Framingham, Massachusetts.
- Maureen Leahy, the sister of former Fighting Irish forward (and 2001 national championship team member) Meaghan Leahy, played at BC from 2000-01 through 2003-04.
Irish Reach Another Landmark
- Thursday’s contest at Boston College will be the 1,200th game in the 39-year history of the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball program.
- Since the Fighting Irish debuted as a varsity program at the AIAW Division III level on Dec. 3, 1977 (posting a 48-41 home win over Valparaiso), and continuing through the program’s elevation to Division I status in 1980-81 and membership into the NCAA a season later, Notre Dame has compiled an all-time record of 878-321 (.732).
- As of Tuesday, 106 NCAA women’s basketball programs across all divisions had played 1,200 games in their respective histories, including 88 schools that have spent at least one season at the NCAA Division I level.
- That list grows by four this week, as Illinois (Wednesday at Rutgers), Georgia Southern (Thursday vs. Louisiana-Lafayette) and Saint Peter’s (Friday at Canisius) join Notre Dame in playing their 1,200th all-time games.
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 10 games with Turner in the lineup, Notre Dame has allowed just 55.8 points per game, while holding opponents to a .348 field-goal percentage and .307 three-point percentage, while posting a +6.9 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 seven of those 10 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 93 games of her Fighting Irish career, compiling the third-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 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 88-5 (.946) 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 115-6 (.950) 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 802-263 (.753), including a 714-222 (.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 10 games this year, going 9-1 in those contests.
- Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 127-6 (.955) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 97 of their last 99 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 Tuesday) – graduate student guard Madison Cable (7th – 14.9 ppg.), freshman guard Marina Mabrey (21st – 12.9 ppg.; third among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (28th – 11.6 ppg.; sixth among ACC rookies).
Three For The Money
- Notre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 106 treys this season (6.6 per game), including 91 in its last 12 games (7.6 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 Tuesday), connecting at a .445 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 more than 32 points per game and have outscored the opponent’s bench by more than a 2-to-1 margin (32.2 ppg. to 13.6 ppg.).
- The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored its opposite number in 15 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 (12.9 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.6 ppg.) head up the strong Fighting Irish bench contingent, which has seen at least one reserve score in double figures in 13 games this year (total of 21 double-figure outings).
- Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 123-7 (.946) 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 51 of its last 53 (and 58 of its last 65) 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).