Nov. 4, 2014
2014-15 ND Women’s Basketball: Exhibition 1
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (37-1 / 16-0 ACC in 2013-14) vs. Ferris State Bulldogs (10-14 / 10-12 GLIAC in 2013-14)
DATE: Nov. 5, 2014
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 1-0 (exhibitions)
LAST MTG: ND 96-45 (11/10/05)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356; UND.com/buytickets
- Since 1993-94, Notre Dame is 34-1 in exhibition games, including an active 29-game winning streak.
- For the sixth time in 10 seasons, the Fighting Irish will play a member of the Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in an exhibition game, having posted a 5-0 record against GLIAC foes to date.
No. 3 Fighting Irish Tip Off Preseason Wednesday Against Ferris State
Less than seven months after its third appearance in the NCAA championship game in four seasons, No. 3 Notre Dame returns to the hardwood for its only exhibition game of the 2014-15 season, playing host to NCAA Division II foe Ferris State at 7 p.m. (ET) Wednesday inside Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish welcome back two starters and 10 monogram recipients from last year’s squad that posted a 37-1 record (including a school-record 37-game winning streak) en route to sweeping the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles and securing the program’s sixth trip to the Final Four (fourth in a row).
Last month, Notre Dame was selected No. 1 in the preseason ACC Blue Ribbon Panel and coaches’ polls, collecting a combined 52 of 56 first-place votes from the two groups, while both outlets chose junior All-America guard Jewell Loyd as the Preseason ACC Player of the Year.
- Notre Dame is No. 3 in the preseason Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in the preseason WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Ferris State is not ranked.
- Including its No. 3 preseason ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 137 consecutive weeks (including the past 67 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 (56 of 60 weeks) spent in the AP Top 5.
- Notre Dame also is ranked No. 3 in the preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll. This marks the sixth consecutive season the Fighting Irish have appeared in the preseason coaches’ poll.
- For the fifth time in six years, Notre Dame opens the season ranked in the top 10 in both national polls, including prior top-five berths in the AP poll in 2009-10 (fourth) and 2011-12 (second).
- Notre Dame will play 10 of the other 24 teams in the preseason polls this year, including seven of the other top 14.
- Senior guards Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway, and senior forward Markisha Wright have helped Notre Dame to a 107-7 (.939) record in their three-year careers, the best record by any school during the past three seasons and far and away the most victories by a Fighting Irish class in its first three years, outdistancing last year’s senior class of Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride, who helped Notre Dame to 101 wins through the end of their junior seasons.
- In their first three seasons, Cable, Holloway and Wright have paced Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship games and three NCAA Women’s Final Fours (plus three conference regular-season titles and two league tournament crowns), as well as a 41-6 record against ranked teams (18-6 against AP Top 10).
- Of the seven losses suffered by the current Fighting Irish senior class, four were decided by 13 points or less.
- Notre Dame aims to continue its remarkable success at Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 401-90 (.817) all-time record in 37 seasons at the facility, including a 78-5 (.940) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- With 663 victories in her 28 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 751 career wins, McGraw ranks 10th in NCAA Division I coaching history. She is one of two active ACC coaches in the top 10 along with North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell (second with 935).
Other Notre Dame Notables
- Notre Dame is among the nation’s winningest programs during the past six seasons (2009-10 to present), tying for third with 167 victories.
- Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in average attendance annually since 2000-01 (including top-five rankings the past five years), most recently placing fourth in the nation last season with 8,694 fans per game. The Fighting Irish also have drawn at least 5,000 fans to 207 of their last 209 home games (including an active streak of 50 consecutive contests with 8,000 fans), logging 41 Purcell Pavilion sellouts, including 35 since the start of the 2009-10 campaign (five of their final six last season).
- The Fighting Irish have become a regular fixture in the WNBA Draft in recent years, as 12 Notre Dame players have been selected in the past 14 seasons. Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa were the most recent Fighting Irish players to be chosen, with McBride going to the San Antonio Stars in the first round (third overall selection) and Achonwa six picks later (No. 9 overall) to the Indiana Fever in the 2014 WNBA Draft. It marked the third consecutive year Notre Dame had a player selected No. 3 overall (Devereaux Peters went third to Minnesota in 2012 and Skylar Diggins was chosen in that same spot by Tulsa in 2013), making the Fighting Irish the second program with lottery choices in three consecutive seasons.
- Diggins was a 2014 All-WNBA First Team selection and the league’s Most Improved Player, in addition to earning the starting nod for the West at the 2014 WNBA All-Star Game. Meanwhile, McBride was chosen for the 2014 WNBA All-Rookie Team, the second Fighting Irish alumna in as many years to be selected for the squad (Diggins was picked for 2013 all-rookie honors).
- Peters earned her first WNBA Championship in 2013 with the Lynx (and fifth by a Notre Dame alumna), who defeated the Atlanta Dream (and former Fighting Irish All-American Ruth Riley) in the WNBA Finals. Riley previously had won a pair of crowns with the Detroit Shock (2003 Finals MVP, 2006), while Coquese Washington toiled for the 2000 Houston Comets and Jacqueline Batteast was Riley’s teammate on the 2006 title-winning squad in Detroit.
- For the eighth year in a row, the Fighting Irish posted a perfect 100 Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score, according to figures released by the NCAA in October. Notre Dame was one of only four schools in the previous seven years to record a perfect GSR score and play for a national championship in the same season (and the only program to do it more than once, pulling off that feat in 2011, 2012 and 2014).
The Notre Dame-Ferris State Series
Notre Dame and Ferris State will meet for the second time in exhibition play on Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish won the other preseason game between the two schools, 96-45 on Nov. 10, 2005, also at Purcell Pavilion.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Ferris State Met
Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy scored a game-high 24 points to pace four Notre Dame players in double figures as the 15th-ranked Fighting Irish wrapped up exhibition play with a convincing 96-45 victory over NCAA Division II member Ferris State on Nov. 10, 2005, before a crowd of 5,421 fans at Purcell Pavilion.
Duffy turned in a superb all-around performance, adding seven rebounds, five assists and a game-best five steals to her 24 points, which she amassed on eight of 11 shooting, including four of five from beyond the three-point line. Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader complemented Duffy well, finishing with 19 points (8-of-12 FG), four rebounds and four steals in only 22 minutes of action.
As a team, the Fighting Irish shot 50.8 percent from the floor (31 of 61), highlighted by a sharp .778 mark (seven of nine) from three-point range. Notre Dame also owned a 45-31 rebounding edge, although the Fighting Irish trailed in that category by one at the half. In addition, the Notre Dame defense created 30 Bulldog turnovers, with 24 of those coming on steals.
Ferris State did not appear intimidated by its surroundings, scoring seven of the game’s first nine points and hitting its first three shots in less than two minutes. However, that would be the largest lead of the night for the Bulldogs, as the Fighting Irish reeled off a 26-2 run during the next 8:42 and held Ferris State without a point for nearly eight minutes. Schrader had eight points during the run, which yielded a 28-9 lead for Notre Dame with 9:19 remaining in the first half. The teams then played virtually even for the rest of the period, with the Fighting Irish taking a 41-24 lead to the locker room.
Notre Dame left little doubt regarding the game’s outcome with a 15-2 run to open the second half, with ten of the 11 Fighting Irish players in uniform eventually finding the scoring column. As further evidence of the sturdy Notre Dame defense, the Fighting Irish did not allow Ferris State to string together more than three consecutive points in the second half, with the only three-point “run” coming on a trey by Kristin Reinhart at the 3:54 mark.
Other Notre Dame-Ferris State Series Tidbits
- Ferris State junior guard Katie Mavis grew up not far from the Notre Dame campus in St Joseph, Michigan, and graduated from St. Joseph High School in 2011. Mavis was a three-time South Bend Tribune all-area selection during her prep career, along with being a finalist for the 2010 Berrien County Athlete of the Year award (due in part to being a three-sport standout with added success in volleyball and softball).
- Notre Dame and Ferris State were conference rivals in ice hockey for many years during two separate stints when the Fighting Irish and Bulldogs were members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) from 1981-83 and 1992-2013. Ferris State holds a 43-26-6 lead in the all-time hockey series against Notre Dame, although the Fighting Irish won the teams’ most recent matchup, 5-2 on Jan. 26, 2013, at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
- Notre Dame has had one player in its 38-year history hail from Ferris State’s hometown of Big Rapids, Michigan — 6-foot-5 center Majenica Rupe (1989-93). Known to some as “Magic,” Rupe came to Notre Dame from Big Rapids High School in the same Fighting Irish freshman class that included former Notre Dame point guard and associate head coach (and current Penn State head coach) Coquese Washington. Rupe was a four-year monogram recipient at Notre Dame, averaging 2.0 points and 2.2 rebounds per game with a .505 field goal percentage in 66 career games. She shares the distinction of being the tallest player in the program’s history, a trait also held by All-America center Ruth Riley (1997-01), as well as Melissa D’Amico (2004-08) and Erica Williamson (2006-10).
Notre Dame vs. the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Notre Dame has faced five different members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) during exhibition play since the 2005-06 season, going 5-0 in those contests.
The Fighting Irish started their GLIAC preseason clashes in 2005 with a 96-45 win over Ferris State. Notre Dame then faced a pair of schools from that conference in 2006, downing Lake Superior State (82-55) and Northwood (82-35).
In 2007, the Fighting Irish defeated Hillsdale, 96-64, and most recently in 2010, Notre Dame toppled Michigan Tech, 102-30.
Exhibition Excellence For The Irish
Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable in exhibition games during the past 21 seasons. Since the 1993-94 campaign, the Fighting Irish are 34-1 (.971) in these preseason tilts and own an active 29-game exhibition winning streak. During that time, Notre Dame has outscored its preseason opponents by an aggregate score of 3,107-1,947, which is good for an average score of 89-56.
The last squad to defeat the Fighting Irish in exhibition play was the Lithuanian National Team, which edged Notre Dame, 94-89 in 1996-97. However, the Fighting Irish were not fazed by that loss — they went on to reach their first NCAA Final Four that season.
New NCAA rules in recent years have allowed Division I teams to play exhibitions against Division II, III, NAIA or Canadian institutions. The Fighting Irish are 13-0 against these programs, having downed 12 NCAA Division II schools since 2001 (Christian Brothers in 2001-02, Indianapolis and Ferris State in 2005-06, Lake Superior State and Northwood-Mich. in 2006-07, Southern Indiana and Hillsdale in 2007-08, Gannon in 2008-09, Indianapolis again in 2009-10, Michigan Tech in 2010-11, Edinboro in 2012-13 and California-Pa. last year), along with defending Canadian national champion Windsor (Ontario) in 2011-12.
Beginning with the 2008-09 season, Notre Dame has played just one exhibition game, electing to take part in a closed scrimmage in place of a second preseason contest.
Here’s a look at how Notre Dame has fared since 1993-94 in exhibition games (college opponents in italics):
2013-14 W, 118-49 vs. California (Pa.) University
2012-13 W, 88-28 vs. Edinboro University
2011-12 W, 83-34 vs. University of Windsor (Ontario)
2010-11 W, 102-30 vs. Michigan Tech University
2009-10 W, 97-53 vs. University of Indianapolis
2008-09 W, 96-30 vs. Gannon University
2007-08 W, 90-38 vs. University of Southern Indiana/W, 96-64 vs. Hillsdale College
2006-07 W, 82-55 vs. Lake Superior State University/W, 82-35 vs. Northwood (Mich.) University
2005-06 W, 84-59 vs. University of Indianapolis/W, 96-45 vs. Ferris State University
2004-05 W, 84-52 vs. Premier Sports/W, 80-61 vs. Hoosier Lady Stars
2003-04 W, 85-65 vs. Northwest Sports/W, 78-45 vs. Team Concept
2002-03 W, 87-50 vs. Houston Jaguars/W, 70-60 vs. OGBM Legends
2001-02 W, 76-62 vs. OGBM Legends/W, 87-39 vs. Christian Brothers University
2000-01 W, 98-53 vs. Tapiolan Honka (Finland)/W, 91-56 vs. Ohio All-Stars
1999-00 W, 76-51 vs. EOS Malbas (Slovakia)/W, 94-85 vs. Premier All-Stars
1998-99 W, 88-37 vs. Estonian National Team/W, 111-82 vs. Visby Ladies (Sweden)
1997-98 W, 66-34 vs. Slavyanka (Russia)/W, 103-92 (3OT) vs. Brisbane Blazers (Australia)
1996-97 W, 74-54 vs. Dutch National Team/L, 89-94 vs. Lithuanian National Team
1995-96 W, 90-83OT vs. Hoosier All-Stars/W, 93-85 vs. UE Sopron (Hungary)
1994-95 W, 80-63 vs. Athletes in Action/W, 84-65 vs. Australian Institute for Sport (AIS)
1993-94 W, 109-59 vs. BK Strakonice (Czechoslovakia)
Other Exhibition Game Tidbits
- Notre Dame has won its last eight exhibition games (dating back to 2007-08) against NCAA Division II/Canadian schools by an average of 55.3 points per game, while scoring 96.3 ppg., in those contests.
- Notre Dame has held five of its last seven exhibition opponents to fewer than 40 points, with Indianapolis (97-53 in 2009) and California (Pa.) (118-49 last year) the only exhibition foes to top the 40-point mark.
- In their last six preseason games, the Fighting Irish have forced an average of 34.8 turnovers per game (209 total – 46 vs. Gannon in 2008-09; 36 vs. Indianapolis in 2009-10; 33 vs. Michigan Tech in 2010-11; 36 vs. Windsor in 2011-12; 33 vs. Edinboro in 2012-13; 25 vs. California-Pa. last year).
- For the sixth consecutive year, Notre Dame potentially could set a new school record for exhibition game attendance. The current standard for the largest crowd to attend a Fighting Irish women’s basketball exhibition game is 8,226, set on Nov. 1, 2012, in an 88-28 win over Edinboro.
Warming Up Quickly
In addition to Notre Dame’s team success in exhibition games, several Fighting Irish players also have performed well during preseason play. Here’s a brief thumbnail on how the returning Notre Dame players have done in exhibition games during their careers:
- Lindsay Allen – 13 pts., 9 asst., vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Madison Cable – 5.5 ppg., 4.0 rpg.; 6 pts., 4 rebs., vs. California-Pa. in 2013 (DNP vs. Windsor in 2011).
- Whitney Holloway – 6.0 ppg., 2.5 apg.; 11 pts. vs. Edinboro in 2012 (DNP vs. Windsor in 2011).
- Hannah Huffman – 2.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg.; 4 pts., 6 rebs., vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Jewell Loyd – 23.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg.; 27 pts. vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Michaela Mabrey – 11.0 ppg., 3.5 rpg., 3.0 apg.; 15 pts., 6 asst., 5 rebs., vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Kristina Nelson – 6 pts., 3 rebs., vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Taya Reimer – 27 pts. (11-11 FG), 6 rebs., vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Diamond Thompson – 3 pts., 5 rebs., vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
- Markisha Wright – 12.3 ppg., 7.7 rpg.; 16 pts., 10 rebs. vs. California-Pa. in 2013.
2013-14 Exhibition Recap: California (Pa.)
With three seniors out with injuries, No. 7 Notre Dame put its young talent on display in a convincing 118-49 exhibition win over Division II California (Pa.) on Oct. 30, 2013, in front of 7,743 fans at Purcell Pavilion.
Despite senior captains Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride not dressing for the exhibition, the Fighting Irish had limited issues with the Vulcans after the game’s opening minutes as they poured on the points in the first half on their way to a 70-20 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Fighting Irish stretched their lead to 77 before settling in for the 69-point victory.
Notre Dame had offensive production from everyone in uniform as all 10 players that dressed out got on the scoreboard. The Fighting Irish also shot an impressive 61.8 percent from the field (42 of 68), including 72.2 percent in the first half (26 of 36).
Notre Dame also hit the glass hard to win the rebounding battle, 56-25, and shot 39 free throws (making 29) to just nine for the Vulcans.
Reimer got off to a perfect start on offense, as the Fishers, Ind., native went 11-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in just 20 minutes of action.
Meanwhile, Allen had 13 points and dished out nine assists with just one turnover in 28 minutes.
Reigning National Freshman of the Year Jewell Loyd picked up where she left off during her rookie season, as the sophomore guard matched Reimer’s 27 points in just 19 minutes.
Junior forward Markisha Wright posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards and sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey went six of seven from the free-throw line on her way to 15 points, in addition to collecting six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Emma Mahady (11 points) was the only player to score in double figures for California (Pa.), which was receiving votes in the preseason NCAA Division II polls.
Beyond The Box Score: California (Pa.)
- The Fighting Irish set a new school record for exhibition play by scoring 118 points against California (Pa.), breaking the previous mark set in a 111-82 win over Swedish club team Visby Ladies in 1998.
- Notre Dame scored in triple digits for the fifth time in a preseason game and first since 2010, when it defeated Michigan Tech, 102-30.
- Notre Dame’s 70 first-half points represented its highest scoring in one half of an exhibition game, topping the prior mark of 60 in the second half of that 1998 win over Visby Ladies.
- The 69-point margin of victory was the second-largest in an exhibition game for Notre Dame since 1993-94, and largest since the 102-30 win over Michigan Tech in 2010.
- Notre Dame .618 field goal percentage was its best ever in exhibition play, topping the previous best of .592 against Czechoslovakian club squad BK Strakonice in 1993.
- In that same game against the Czech side, the Fighting Irish shot .629 from the floor in the second half, their best single-half shooting mark in the preseason before their .722 output in the first half against California (Pa.).
- The 27 points scored by Loyd and Reimer were the most for a Notre Dame player in an exhibition game since the 1998 win over Visby Ladies, when Sheila McMillen had 27 points, all from the three-point line (nine of 15). The school record for points in a preseason contest is 33 by current associate coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham in 1995 during a 93-85 win over UE Sopron (a Hungarian professional team whose current roster includes former Notre Dame All-America guard and 2014 graduate Kayla McBride).
- The Fighting Irish had two 20-point scorers in the same exhibition game for the first time since 2003, when Courtney LaVere (21) and Jacqueline Batteast (20) pulled off the feat in an 85-65 win over Northwest Sports.
- Reimer’s 11 of 11 shooting performance was the best ever posted by a Fighting Irish player in exhibition action, topping Teresa Borton’s 8 of 8 outing in an 87-50 win over the Houston Jaguars in 2002.
- Had it been a regular-season game, Reimer’s field goal percentage would have set a Purcell Pavilion record and would have been one made field goal shy of the overall school record set by Karen Robinson (12 of 12 at Saint Louis on Jan. 14, 1989).
- Loyd’s three of three mark from the three-point line was the best by a Fighting Irish player from beyond the arc in the preseason since 2003, when Katy Flecky duplicated that feat in a 78-45 win over Team Concept.
- Loyd’s three triples were the most for a Notre Dame player in an exhibition game since 2005, when Megan Duffy connected on four of five from distance in a 96-45 victory over Ferris State.
- Allen’s nine assists were the most for a Notre Dame player in preseason action since that 2003 win over Northwest Sports when Megan Duffy registered 13 assists.
- Wright’s double-double was the first for a Fighting Irish player in an exhibition game since 2007, when Melissa D’Amico collected 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 90-38 win over Southern Indiana.
- The crowd of 7,743 was the second-largest crowd ever to see a Notre Dame women’s basketball exhibition game, not far off the record-setting mark of 8,226 fans at the 2012 win over Edinboro.
Loyd Named AP Preseason All-American
For the second time in three years, Notre Dame had a player unanimously voted to the preseason Associated Press All-America Team when junior guard Jewell Loyd was chosen for the 2014-15 squad, according to balloting released by the AP on Tuesday.
Skylar Diggins was the first Fighting Irish player to earn unanimous recognition for preseason AP All-America honors, doing so in 2012. Jacqueline Batteast is the only other Notre Dame player to be selected for the preseason AP squad (although not unanimously), earning her spot in 2004.
Unlike Diggins and Batteast, Loyd is the first Fighting Irish non-senior to receive preseason AP All-America status.
Also the Preseason Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, Loyd averaged career highs of 18.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last year, collecting AP second-team All-America honors, as well as a place on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), United States Basketball Writers Association USBWA), espnW and Full Court Press All-America teams. Loyd also is the No. 2-returning scorer in the ACC this season behind only Wake Forest’s Dearica Hamby (22.0 ppg.).
Notre Dame Tops 2014-15 ACC Preseason Polls
Notre Dame was the clear favorite in the 2014-15 Atlantic Coast Conference preseason women’s basketball polls, according to separate balloting from the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel and its 15 head coaches. The conference announced its preseason polls and all-conference honorees Oct. 22 in conjunction with ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Fighting Irish received 38 of 41 first-place votes and 835 total points from the Blue Ribbon Panel, which is comprised mainly of local and national media members. Duke was the Panel’s No. 2 choice, earning one first-place vote and 733 total points.
Rounding out the top five in the Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Poll were conference newcomer Louisville (724 points, two first-place votes), North Carolina (707 points) and Florida State (545 points).
In the ACC coaches’ preseason poll, Notre Dame earned 14 of the 15 first-place votes and 223 total points. Duke was chosen second (one first-place vote, 196 points), while Louisville (194 points), North Carolina (193 points) and Florida State (152 points) completed the upper third of the balloting.
Three Notre Dame Players Earn Preseason All-ACC Mention
Along with the team balloting, three Notre Dame players received individual accolades as part of the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason voting that was released Oct. 22 at the conference’s Media Day in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Junior guard Jewell Loyd was chosen as the Preseason ACC Player of the Year and earned a spot on the Preseason All-ACC Team from both the Blue Ribbon Panel, in addition to being unanimously chosen as a preseason Associated Press All-American (see prior note).
Sophomore guard Lindsay Allen joined Loyd on this year’s Preseason All-ACC Team, earning recognition from both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the conference coaches. Allen received third-team Freshman All-America honors from Full Court Press last year after starting all 38 games for the Fighting Irish as a rookie point guard, averaging 6.2 points and 3.9 assists per game. She also led the ACC with a 2.24 assist/turnover ratio and her 150 total assists set a Notre Dame freshman record, eclipsing Mary Gavin’s previous mark of 116 assists in 1984-85.
Freshman forward Brianna Turner completed the trio of Notre Dame honorees, earning a spot on the ACC Newcomer Watch Lists from both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the league’s coaches.
Turner was the 2014 Gatorade National High School Female Athlete of the Year, 2014 USA Today National High School Player of the Year, 2014 Texas Miss Basketball and a three-time All-America selection during her prep career. A graduate of Manvel High School in Manvel, Texas, Turner averaged 21.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 3.1 steals and 3.0 assists per game in her four prep seasons, culminating with Most Valuable Player honors in the 2014 Texas Class 5A state title game, when she had 17 points and 17 rebounds to help Manvel end Duncanville High School’s 105-game winning streak. Turner went on to add MVP laurels at the 2014 McDonald’s High School All-America Game, thanks to another double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) and the game-winning basket in the West Team’s 80-78 win over the East Team at the United Center in Chicago.
In August, Turner earned her fifth gold medal with USA Basketball, serving as co-captain for the USA Under-18 National Team and averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with a .600 field goal percentage for the American squad that took the crown at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in the 2014-15 Associated Press preseason poll, its 67th consecutive week in the top 10 of the media balloting (63 of those in the top five), dating back to the middle of the 2010-11 season and marking 137 consecutive weeks in the AP poll.
The Fighting Irish reached a milestone on Nov. 26, 2012, with their 100th consecutive AP poll appearance. It extended the program record that started with the AP preseason poll in 2007-08 (the old record was 59 consecutive weeks from 1998-2001), and it made the Fighting Irish are one of six teams in the nation with an active streak of 100 consecutive AP poll appearances.
What’s more, every current Notre Dame player has competed for a top-10 Fighting Irish squad throughout her career (60 consecutive weeks for the current senior class), spending the vast majority (56) of those appearances in the AP Top 5 (and never lower than seventh).
This year’s No. 3 ranking represents the 15th time in 16 years (starting with the 1999-2000 campaign) that Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason AP poll, something only five schools in the nation have done — Connecticut, Duke and Tennessee have shown up in all 16 during that span, while Stanford joins the Fighting Irish with 15 preseason AP poll berths.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP poll for 276 weeks during the program’s 38-year history, with every one of those appearances coming in the Muffet McGraw era (since 1987-88). McGraw is eighth among all active NCAA Division I head coaches for weeks in the AP poll, and 16th all-time in that category.
In addition, the Fighting Irish were ranked No. 3 in the preseason WBCA/USA Today coaches’ poll.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the coaches’ poll for 139 of the past 140 weeks (and 103 in a row), falling just outside the Top 25 in the final poll of the 2008-09 season. Nevertheless, the Fighting Irish have appeared in the coaches’ poll for a total of 271 weeks during their history (all coming during McGraw’s tenure).
This marks the seventh consecutive season Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the WBCA/USA Today poll, as well as 13 of the past 17 campaigns (1998-99 to present).
More Polling Data
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is one of 32 people in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history who have both played for and coached a team that has appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Besides her 276 AP poll appearances while coaching at Notre Dame, McGraw was the starting point guard at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.) as a senior in 1977, helping the Hawks to No. 3 in the nation.
Of the 32 people on this list, 17 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart), with McGraw and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey are the only active skippers to play for and coach a team in the AP poll, and coach that team to a national title (McGraw in 2001, Mulkey in 2005 and 2012).
Half And Half
During the past 15 seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Fighting Irish are 312-19 (.943) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 240 of their last 253 such contests (.949).
What’s more, in the past six seasons (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 149-2 (.987) when leading at the half, with the only losses coming on April 5, 2011, in the NCAA national championship game at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (Notre Dame led Texas A&M, 35-33 at intermission before falling 76-70), and Feb. 12, 2012, against West Virginia (Fighting Irish led 33-30 at the break before the visiting Mountaineers rallied to win in the closing seconds, 65-63).
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense…
During the past 20 seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season, the Fighting Irish have an amazing 292-15 (.951) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game, including a 14-0 record last season.
…But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. During the past 20 seasons (since 1995-96), the Fighting Irish are 214-6 (.973) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are three overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995 and UCLA (86-83 in double OT) in 2010, as well as a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998, an 81-80 loss to DePaul in 2008, and a 94-81 setback at Baylor in 2011.
In the past six years (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 91-2 (.978) when topping the 80-point mark, including a 29-0 record last season.
Now That’s A Home Court Advantage
One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame’s success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Fighting Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 251 of their last 280 games (.896) at the 9,149-seat Purcell Pavilion, including winning streaks of 51, 28, 25 and 20 games in that span (most recently the program’s current 28-game run).
Since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season, Notre Dame is 78-5 (.940) — including wins in 54 of its last 56 home games — and three of the five Fighting Irish losses in their refurbished facility have come by three points or fewer (two in overtime).
Notre Dame also has a 204-30 (.872) record in regular season conference play at the former Joyce Center, sporting a program-record 31-game league winning streak at home before it ended with a 48-45 loss to BIG EAST foe Villanova in the ’02 home finale.
The Fighting Irish have been especially strong when it comes to non-league home games, winning 117 of their last 126 out-of-conference contests (.929) at Purcell Pavilion, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the nine losses in that span came at the hands of Big Ten opponents (four by 12 points or less) — Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54), Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT), Indiana in 2006 (54-51) and Minnesota in 2009 (79-71) — with the other defeats coming to Tennessee in 2005 (62-51) and 2008 (87-63), UCLA in 2010 (86-83 in 2OT) and Baylor in 2012 (73-61). The Purdue loss snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak that began after the UW setback.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the former Joyce Center, posting a 401-90 (.817) record at the venerable facility, including a school-record 17 wins in both 2011-12 and 2013-14.
Fighting Irish Are Hottest Ticket In Town
The past five seasons have seen an unprecedented surge in fan support for Notre Dame women’s basketball, as the Fighting Irish set new program records for the highest year-end NCAA attendance ranking (fourth in 2009-10 and 2013-14), highest average attendance (8,979 fans per game in 2012-13) and most sellouts in a single season (11 in 2012-13). And, as the old saying goes — “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
For the sixth consecutive year, Notre Dame fans all but exhausted the program’s season ticket packages (approximately 7,500) and have snapped up single-game ducats at a rate that helped the Fighting Irish already sell out the Dec. 6 game with Connecticut, while several other home games are rapidly approaching sellout status.
In fact, while some additional tickets may be available on the day or week of the game for individual contests this season (depending on returned inventory by visiting teams and other constituencies), it’s entirely possible that, for the fourth consecutive season, Notre Dame will flirt with a sell out for every one of its home games.
One Of Nation’s Toughest Cities To Play In
According to a study released by the University of Utah Athletic Media Relations Office, Notre Dame and Purcell Pavilion are among the toughest places in the nation to play. In fact, Notre Dame is one of just 11 programs in the nation to own a winning percentage of .800 or better in its home city.
Irish Fans Crave Another Big Mac Attack
Now in its eighth season, Notre Dame’s wildly-successful “Big Mac” promotion once again looks to send fans home with full bellies, offering a coupon for a free Big Mac from South Bend-area McDonald’s restaurants if the Fighting Irish score at least 88 points in an regular season or exhibition home game.
In the eight-year history of the promotion, Notre Dame has hit the 88-point mark 52 times, including a school-record 10 times last year.
Senior guard Madison Cable leads all current Fighting Irish players with five “Big Mac baskets” in her career.
And for those tracking such things (or perhaps falling under the heading of “the media relations director has way too much time on his hands”), 25 different players have converted the “burger ball”, including seven current members of the Fighting Irish roster.
What’s more, of the 52 Big Mac games, 24 have been reached on two-point baskets, 16 on free throws, and 12 on three-pointers.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Senior guard Whitney Holloway, senior forward Markisha Wright and junior guard Michaela Mabrey are serving as Notre Dame’s team captains for the 2014-15 season. All three players received the captain’s honor for the first time in their respective careers following a preseason vote by their teammates.
This will be seventh time in 11 seasons the Fighting Irish have had a trio of captains, as well as the second year in a row (Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride filled the captaincy trio last season).
Next Game: UMass Lowell
Notre Dame opens its 38th season of intercollegiate competition at 6 p.m. (ET) Nov. 14 when it plays host to UMass Lowell at Purcell Pavilion. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and River Hawks (the fourth first-time opponent in the past six Notre Dame season openers), with the game to be streamed live and free of charge on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
A member of the America East Conference, UMass Lowell is in its second season at the NCAA Division I level, and will be playing its first game under new head coach (and former Navy assistant) Jenerrie Harris. The River Hawks return nine players and four starters, including preseason all-conference guard Shannon Samuels, from last year’s club that went 5-23 overall and 4-12 in America East play.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director