Nov. 5, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — It was only a test drive for her team, but University of Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw had to be pleased with the first spin around the block for the 2014-15 Fighting Irish.
Looking at times like a sports car on the Autobahn, No. 3 Notre Dame zipped up and down the floorboards at Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday night, jumping out to a 28-0 lead and rolling to a 92-32 exhibition win over NCAA Division II foe Ferris State before an enthusiastic crowd of 8,174 fans, the second-largest preseason audience in program history.
It was the 30th consecutive exhibition victory for the Fighting Irish, who also improved to 35-1 in preseason games dating back to the 1993-94 season.
Junior All-America guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) looked every bit the part on Wednesday, scoring a game-high 20 points on nine of 10 shooting (her only miss coming from beyond the three-point line) and adding eight rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
Notre Dame also unveiled its blossoming post game, as freshman forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) logged a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore forward Taya Reimer (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) collected 10 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and three assists.
The Fighting Irish added a dash of perimeter spice, courtesy of freshman guard Mychal Johnson (Huntington, W.Va./Huntington St. Joseph), who scored 15 points off the bench on five of eight shooting (three of five from the three-point line). Junior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) picked up where she left off last season, as the Notre Dame sharpshooter tallied 12 points thanks to four three-point field goals on eight attempts.
Playing not far from her hometown of St. Joseph, Michigan, Katie Mavis scored a team-high 10 points and was the lone double-figure scorer for Ferris State.
“I thought that was a great beginning for us,” McGraw said. “It was a great chance for the freshmen to get in front of big crowd for the first time. It was a chance for them to see what it was like to put the uniform on, and I thought all three of them performed well. Brianna (Turner) performed well on the boards and did a great job running the break. Taya (Reimer) played a great game and showed a lot of experience and maturity. She looked really comfortable in the game and was our leading rebounder. She could have scored as much as she wanted to. We were really unselfish with the ball. Mychal Johnson coming off the bench had a fantastic first time out. Jewell Loyd was pretty much unstoppable, which we hope her to be this year. I was really pleased with everything.”
For the night, the Fighting Irish shot 48.6 percent from the field, including a sharp 61.1 percent in the first half. Notre Dame also showed promise on the defensive end with a 51-30 rebounding edge while forcing 32 Ferris State turnovers (18 coming on Fighting Irish steals).
Notre Dame rode its defense during its game-opening 28-0 run, as Ferris State missed its first 12 shots and turned the ball over nine times, incuding two shot clock violations. By the time Bulldog reserve forward Christina Branch finally got the visitors on the board with a swinging hook in the lane at the 10:12 mark of the first half, the only mystery left in Wednesday’s game would be whether the crowd would walk out with coupons for a McDonald’s Big Mac–a question answered by senior forward/tri-captain Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/Des Moines East), whose free throw with 4:53 left pushed Notre Dame over the magic 88-point mark needed to feed the masses.
“The bottom line is they (Notre Dame) compete against the best, so they train for the best,” said Ferris State head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate. “It is hard to simulate that in practice for us. We do have some really good practice players, though, which I think paid off in the second half. We started to see some good things out of our girls once they worked through the jitters. They were taking some shots in the first half and slowly hesitating on their shots, but once we got that out of the way, we really started playing more aggressively, especially defensively and rebounding-wise.”
The Fighting Irish tip off their 2014-15 season at 6 p.m. (ET) Nov. 14, when they welcome UMass Lowell to Purcell Pavilion (free live webcast on WatchND, live radio on South Bend’s Pulse FM 96.9/92.1).
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Notre Dame women’s basketball campaign are on sale through the Murnane Family Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows at Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Fans also can purchase tickets online through the official Fighting Irish athletics ticketing web page (UND.com/buytickets).
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director