Nov. 17, 2015

by Chris Masters

Notre Dame Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 2

#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. Toledo Rockets (0-1 / 0-0 MAC West)

DATE: Nov. 18, 2015
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 3-2
STREAK: ND – won 2
1ST MTG: ND 77-70 (12/19/88)
LAST MTG: ND 68-52 (11/20/99)
TV: ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Conor Clingen, p-b-p / Ruth Riley, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356;


  • Although their campuses are less than 150 miles apart, this will mark just the sixth time Notre Dame and Toledo have played.
  • The Fighting Irish have won 21 consecutive games against current Mid-American Conference schools, a streak that dates back to 1995.
  • No. 3 Fighting Irish Tangle With Toledo Wednesday
    After going nearly wire-to-wire to claim a victory in its season opener, No. 3 Notre Dame continues play in the first week of the 2015-16 season as it welcomes Toledo to Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest. The game will be televised live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, with South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, /WatchND ( handling Wednesday’s radio coverage.

Notre Dame (1-0) began the season on a winning note with an 85-54 victory over Bucknell on Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish used a 21-5 run that crossed between the first two periods to take command, steadily pulling clear the rest of the day.

Sophomore forward Brianna Turner led all scorers with 21 points, while graduate student guard Madison Cable dropped in 20 points and freshman guard Marina Mabrey had a solid debut with 16 points off the bench.


  • Notre Dame is No. 3 in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • Toledo is not ranked.
  • Quick Hitters

  • Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 157 consecutive weeks (including the past 87 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. What’s more, every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (55 of 61 weeks) spent in the AP Top 5.
  • Notre Dame also is ranked No. 3 in the latest Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll. This marks the eighth consecutive season and 14 of the past 19 years the Fighting Irish have appeared in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll.
  • For the sixth time in seven years, Notre Dame opened the season ranked in the top 10 in both national polls, including prior top-five berths in the AP poll in 2009-10 (fourth), 2011-12 (second) and 2014-15 (third).
  • Notre Dame will play 10 of the other 24 teams appearing in one of the preseason polls this year, including seven of the other top 14.
  • Notre Dame has a remarkable tradition of success at home inside Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 420-91 (.822) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 97-6 (.942) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
  • Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 75 of their last 79 games against conference opponents (and 26 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 38-1 against conference foes (31-1 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 109-6 (.948) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenging 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.
  • 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 39-5 (.886) record against ranked teams (22-5 against top-10 opponents).
  • With 700 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 788 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 961 as of Monday).
  • The Notre Dame-Toledo Series
    Notre Dame and Toledo will be playing for the sixth time in series history when they square off Wednesday night. The Fighting Irish are 3-2 all-time against the Rockets, including a 2-0 record at Purcell Pavilion.

    The Last Time Notre Dame and Toledo Met
    Alicia Ratay scored 18 points and Danielle Green added 16 to lead No. 7/9 Notre Dame over host Toledo 68-52 on Nov. 20, 1999, at Savage Hall in the opener for both teams.

Notre Dame, despite having a height advantage inside, often relied on its outside shooters, hitting 9-of-21 3-pointers.

The Irish were forced to go outside because 6-foot-5 center Ruth Riley, a third-team All-American the year before, was in foul trouble most of the game.

Riley spent nearly the entire first half on the bench after picking up two fouls in the first two minutes. She got her fourth foul with 15:42 left in the second half and finished with no points.

The Irish, with four starters back from a team that finished 26-5 in 1998-99, were in control throughout.

Ratay, a freshman starting her first game, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Irish a 21-13 lead with 11:44 remaining in the first half. Julie Henderson’s layup with 5:25 in the first half gave Notre Dame a 31-21 lead.

Toledo never got within 10 points after that, as the Rockets struggled to find their offense early. Jennifer Markwood led Toledo with 14 points and Karin Husbeck added 11. They were the only Rockets in double figures.

UT was able to pull within 59-43 with 6:53 left in the game, but Toledo native Ericka Haney then scored on a pair of jumpers and Ratay hit two consecutive 3-pointers to push the Irish out to a 67-43 advantage with 5:30 to play.

Niele Ivey was 3-of-8 behind the 3-point line and finished with 13 points for the Irish while Haney added 11.

The Last Time Notre Dame and Toledo Met at Purcell Pavilion
After Toledo closed the first half with a 10-0 run, Notre Dame’s Sheila McMillen did exactly what she’s expected to do – she took over.

The Rockets closed within one in the opening minutes of the second half, but the senior then led No. 6/9 Notre Dame on an 18-3 run over the next five minutes, going 3-of-3 from the 3-point line, as the Irish beat Toledo 82-64 on Dec. 2, 1998, at Purcell Pavilion.

“In the first half, we were a little bit flat. At halftime we were talking about how we needed to come out in the second half and set the tempo, come out and get a run going early,” said McMillen, whose 23 points led the Irish to the first 6-0 start in school history. “It’s a great feeling for a shooter. Fortunately, I was able to hit the 3s in the second half to kind of give us a lift and get the momentum going.”

McMillen’s accuracy from the outside also opened things up in the middle for 6-foot-5 center Ruth Riley, who scored 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Irish dominated Toledo (3-3) inside. The Irish held a 54-38 rebounding edge, and Riley registered five blocks as Notre Dame held Toledo’s leading scorer, Kim Knuth to 17 points, 11 below her average.

“It’s obvious that we just got pounded on the boards,” said Toledo coach Mark Ehlen, who called Riley a “vacuum cleaner” on the boards. “It’s something we were preaching at halftime. I was preaching all during the second half. Yet time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again, they got second, third, fourth and fifth shots.”

Sherisha Hills and Danielle Green had 12 points apiece for Notre Dame, while Niele Ivey had 10 as the Irish registered their 15th straight win at home. Green also had 13 rebounds.

“Ruth and Danielle did a nice job in there,” said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. “They rebounded extremely well. Ruth seemed to get every rebound, and the ones she didn’t get, Danielle got.”

Notre Dame opened up its first double-digit lead of the game on Hills’ 3-pointer with 7:25 left in the first half and led by as many as 14 four minutes later. But Toledo closed the half with a 10-0 run as the Irish turned the ball over on their final five possessions. The Irish had 13 first-half turnovers but only two in the second half.

“They packed the zone in on Ruth, and we turned the ball over way too much,” McGraw said. “But credit the defense for making those errors.

“We came out the second half with more intensity and shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter.”

Other Notre Dame-Toledo Series Tidbits

  • Notre Dame and Toledo have not played since the 1999-2000 season, when current associate coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey was the starting point guard for the Fighting Irish.
  • Although they haven’t met recently, much of Notre Dame’s current roster and staff are familiar with Toledo’s home facility, Savage Arena (formerly Savage Hall). In 2014, the Fighting Irish began their run to the NCAA national championship game by winning first- and second-round contests at UT’s arena, defeating Robert Morris (93-42) and Arizona State (84-67).
  • Notre Dame is 76-16 (.826) all-time against Ohio schools, with a 38-7 (.844) record against the Buckeye State at home. The Fighting Irish also have won their last 19 games against Ohio teams, but have not faced a team from that state since Nov. 9, 2012, when they defeated Ohio State, 57-51 in the Carrier Classic outdoors aboard the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
  • Notre Dame has drawn 11 players from the state of Ohio in the program’s 39-year history, including current sophomore forward and Kettering native Kathryn Westbeld. Only Indiana (21), Michigan (16) and Illinois (15) have produced more Fighting Irish women’s basketball players than the Buckeye State.
  • One of the top Ohio players to suit up for Notre Dame through the years was a Toledo native, Ericka Haney, who played for the Fighting Irish from 1998-2002 and was a starter on Notre Dame’s 2001 national championship team. Haney, who attended Toledo Central Catholic High School, averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in her career at Notre Dame (highlighted by 15 points and 10 rebounds in the 2001 national semifinal win over Connecticut) before graduating in May 2002 with her bachelor’s degree in film, television and theater. Haney subsequently was selected in the third round of the 2002 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock before embarking on a coaching career – she currently serves as a coach and recruiting coordinator with the Miami Suns AAU program in Miami, Florida.
  • Second-year Notre Dame video coordinator Garret Garcia is a double graduate of Toledo (2012 – bachelor’s degree in communications; 2014 – master’s degree in liberal arts) and came to the Fighting Irish after two years (2012-14) as graduate assistant video coordinator for both the UT men’s and women’s basketball programs. Garcia also was a student assistant with the Toledo men’s basketball program as an undergraduate from 2008-12.
  • Notre Dame vs. The Mid-American Conference
    Notre Dame is 38-14 (.731) all-time against the current Mid-American Conference alignment, with a 23-4 (.852) record at home. The Fighting Irish also sport a 23-5 (.821) record against MAC schools in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present) with a 14-1 (.933) mark at Purcell Pavilion.

What’s more, Notre Dame has won its last 21 games against current MAC schools since an 87-64 loss to Northern Illinois on March 10, 1995, in the semifinals of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now Horizon League) Tournament.

The Fighting Irish last faced a MAC opponent two seasons ago, when they defeated Central Michigan, 106-72, on Dec. 22, 2013, at Purcell Pavilion. Current senior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey came off the bench to score 17 points and dish out six assists, tying for game-high assist honors with another current Notre Dame guard/tri-captain, junior Lindsay Allen (who also scored 11 points).

Irish Participating In GreeNDot Program
Fans may notice special t-shirts being worn by students at Wednesday’s game. It’s part of the tipoff of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s involvement with the University’s GreeNDot program, a campus-wide violence prevention strategy.

Earlier this month, the Fighting Irish hockey and men’s basketball teams held their debut events in support of the GreeNDot initiative. For more information or to learn how you can participate, go online to and scroll down to the GreeNDot graphic.

— 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).