Jan. 10, 2015
2014-15 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 17
#4/4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-2 / 2-1 ACC) vs. Boston College Eagles (8-7 / 0-2 ACC)
DATE: Jan. 11, 2015
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 14-5
1ST MTG: BC 59-55 (12/30/83)
LAST MTG: ND 82-61 (2/13/14)
TV: ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Mike Monaco, p-b-p / Megan Bastedo, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356; UND.com/buytickets
- Notre Dame is playing the front end of the first of two ACC home-and-home series, with the Fighting Irish also slated to meet Georgia Tech twice this season.
- Since 1995-96, Notre Dame is 64-14 (.821) in its first game after a double-digit loss, including a current 11-game winning streak.
No. 4 Fighting Irish Back Home Sunday To Face Boston College
For a young team like No. 4 Notre Dame, every situation provides an opportunity for growth and the Fighting Irish find themselves in another learning scenario, as Notre Dame looks to bounce back from a tough loss when it plays host to Atlantic Coast Conference rival Boston College at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
The Fighting Irish (14-2, 2-1) return home following a 78-63 loss at Miami on Thursday night. Notre Dame nearly rallied from a 22-point second-half deficit, trimming the margin to six points, but couldn’t quite complete the comeback, putting an end to its NCAA Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak.
Junior guard Jewell Loyd paced the furious Fighting Irish rally, scoring 18 of her team-high 27 points in the second half. Freshman forward Brianna Turner added 17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for her third career double-double (all in the past four games).
- Notre Dame is No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 4 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Boston College is not ranked.
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press poll, its 27th consecutive week and 71st of the past 75 weeks in the AP Top 5.
- Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 145 consecutive weeks (including the past 75 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, never ranking lower than seventh in that time (2011-12 to present).
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 4 in the latest Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll, after previously spending two weeks (Nov. 25 and Dec. 2) as the nation’s No. 1 team. It was the first time the Fighting Irish had been the top-ranked team in either major national poll since April 1, 2001, when they were No. 1in the coaches’ poll following a 68-66 win over Purdue that secured the program’s first NCAA national championship.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 25 in eight NCAA statistical categories (as of Saturday), including three top-10 rankings — field-goal percentage (5th – .490), scoring offense (6th – 84.2 ppg.) and scoring margin (8th – +23.8 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 11th in the country in both assists (18.0 apg.) and three-point percentage (.381), 18th in free-throw percentage (.758) and 23rd in both rebounding margin (+8.9 rpg.) and assist/turnover ratio (1.18), as well as 12th in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.875).
- Notre Dame aims to continue its remarkable success at Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 409-91 (.818) all-time record in 38 seasons at the facility, including a 86-6 (.935) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- The Fighting Irish tied the NCAA Division I record for the longest road winning streak (30 games) before the run ended Jan. 8 with a 78-63 loss at Miami.
- Senior guards Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway, and senior forward Markisha Wright have helped Notre Dame to a 121-9 (.931) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year’s senior class of Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride, who helped Notre Dame to 138 wins during their four seasons.
- Since arriving at Notre Dame in 2011-12, 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 45-7 record against ranked teams (18-7 against AP Top 10).
- Of the nine losses suffered by the current Fighting Irish senior class, four were decided by 13 points or less.
- With 677 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 765 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 949 as of Saturday).
Other Notre Dame Notables
- Notre Dame is among the nation’s winningest programs during the past six seasons (2009-10 to present), tied for second with 181 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). The Fighting Irish rank fourth in the nation (as of Saturday), averaging 8,800 fans per game at home this season, and have drawn at least 5,000 fans to 217 of their last 219 home games (with an active streak of 60 consecutive contests with 8,000 fans), logging 43 Purcell Pavilion sellouts, including 37 since the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
- 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-Boston College Series
Notre Dame and Boston College will play for the 20th time on Sunday afternoon with the Fighting Irish holding a 14-5 edge in the series with the Eagles, including wins in the past four (and seven of the past eight) meetings. Notre Dame also is 9-0 all-time against BC at Purcell Pavilion.
Boston College is the first of two home-and-home opponents (along with Georgia Tech) in ACC play for the Fighting Irish, who will travel to Chestnut Hill on Feb. 8.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Boston College Met
Kayla McBride scored 19 points, Jewell Loyd added 18 and No. 2 Notre Dame coasted to an 82-61 win over Boston College on Feb. 13, 2014, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Kat Cooper led Boston College with 13 points, and Katie Zenevitch had 12 with eight rebounds.
The Fighting Irish led 41-26 at halftime and used a 12-0 run early in the second half to move ahead by 28 points.
Similar to the first time the teams met last season, Notre Dame opened a double-digit lead in the opening minutes of the game, 21-10, but BC got back into single digits a few times over the next 3 1/2 minutes before the Fighting Irish went on a game-breaking 14-0 run late in the half. Michaela Mabrey had a pair of three-pointers and McBride had four points in the run.
Notre Dame’s tight man-to-man defense gave BC fits on a number of occasions in the opening half, forcing the Eagles deep into the shot clock. The Fighting Irish overplayed the three-point shooters, leading to some late contested long-range shots.
The Fighting Irish, who entered leading the nation in field goal and three-point percentage, missed their initial three shots from the floor before nailing their next four en route to a 15-6 edge in the opening 5 1/2 minutes.
Notre Dame pushed its advantage to 20 points for the first time (49-29) on Loyd’s jumper from the right wing 3:14 into the second half, coming early a 12-0 spree. McBride capped the run with a conventional three-point play when she was fouled on a fastbreak and converted the free throw.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Boston College Met At Purcell Pavilion
No. 2 Notre Dame scored the first seven points of the game, stretched the lead to double figures in less than 10 minutes and by halftime its lead was bigger than Boston College’s most lopsided loss of the season. The Fighting Irish continued to pull away in the second half with its bench posting 55 points in a 95-53 victory on Jan. 9, 2014, at Purcell Pavilion.
Kayla McBride led Notre Dame with 20 points and eight rebounds, Michaela Mabrey had 18, Taya Reimer 15 and Jewell Loyd had 14 to pace the balanced scoring attack. Mabrey, who came in 0 of 12 shooting in the previous two games, shot six of nine as the Fighting Irish made 62 percent for the game.
Notre Dame dominated inside in the first half, outscoring BC, 30-8 in the paint, then made six of eight three-pointers in the second half.
Kristen Doherty led BC with 13 points, Katie Zenevitch had 11 points and seven rebounds and Lauren Engeln had 10.
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 12-3 edge against the Eagles in conference games, including an active five-game winning streak.
- This marks the fifth time Notre Dame and Boston College have played a home-and-home series in conference play and the second consecutive year in ACC competition (after Notre Dame won both meetings last year). 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 eight matchups, the Fighting Irish have held BC to 61 points or fewer seven 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 four 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 four games in the series by an average of 35.3 points per game.
- Notre Dame is 19-5 (.792) all-time against Massachusetts schools (14-5 vs. Boston College, 2-0 vs. UMass, 1-0 vs. UMass Lowell, Holy Cross and Harvard), including a 13-0 record at home (9-0 vs. BC, 1-0 vs. UMass, UMass Lowell, Holy Cross and Harvard). The Fighting Irish have won their last eight 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.
- Notre Dame will play five games against Massachusetts teams this season (four at Purcell Pavilion), including its ACC home-and-home series against Boston College. During non-conference play, Notre Dame defeated UMass Lowell (105-51 on Nov. 14), Holy Cross (104-29 on Nov. 23) and Harvard (97-43 on Nov. 24).
- 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.
Thursday’s 78-63 loss at Miami ended Notre Dame’s school-record 38 consecutive regular season conference games, dating back to the end of its BIG EAST Conference membership and through the first two seasons of its affiliation with the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Prior to Thursday, the Fighting Irish last dropped a conference regular season game on Feb. 12, 2012, falling 65-63 to then-BIG EAST foe West Virginia at Purcell Pavilion (on two free throws by WVU’s Brooke Hampton with 4.6 seconds left).
Notre Dame’s recent streak erased the prior school-record 33-game run from Feb. 25, 1989-Feb. 14, 1991 — that streak took place during the program’s dominant seven-year tenure as part of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now known as the Horizon League).
Despite Thursday’s loss, and when factoring in postseason tournament results (league and NCAA), the Fighting Irish have won 48 of their last 51 games against conference opponents. Notre Dame’s other two losses to a league foe in the past three seasons both came at the hands of Connecticut in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship title game (63-54 in Hartford, Connecticut) and the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals (83-65 in New Orleans, Louisiana).
With Thursday’s 78-63 loss at Miami, Notre Dame saw its NCAA Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak snapped. It was an amazing string of success in hostile territory, a streak that lasted exactly three years (Jan. 4, 2012-Jan. 4, 2015) and ended with the Fighting Irish tied with Connecticut for the NCAA Division I all-time mark in that category.
Prior to Thursday’s setback, the Fighting Irish last tasted defeat on the road on March 6, 2012, falling at No. 4 Connecticut, 63-54 in the BIG EAST Conference Championship final at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
In addition, Thursday’s loss was the first for the Fighting Irish in a regular season road game since Nov. 20, 2011, a 94-81 defeat at No. 1 Baylor in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
Notre Dame also had its streak of a school-record 25 consecutive conference road wins snapped at Miami, with the last Fighting Irish road loss in league play coming as part of the BIG EAST Conference on Feb. 28, 2011 (a last-second 70-69 loss at No. 12/11 DePaul).
The highlight of Notre Dame’s remarkable recent road run came on Jan. 5, 2013, when Notre Dame edged No. 1 Connecticut, 73-72, in Storrs, Connecticut, earning its fourth all-time win over a top-ranked opponent and first-ever victory on the road.
Even with Thursday’s loss at Miami, Notre Dame still has won 39 of its last 40 (and 46 of its last 52) regular season road games.
More Streak Stats
Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 86-5 (.945) record. In that three-year span, four of the five Fighting Irish losses have come against top-three teams — 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 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) and No. 3 Connecticut (76-58 on Dec. 6, 2014, in the Jimmy V Classic at Purcell Pavilion).
The other loss came Jan. 8 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. The Fighting Irish last fell to an unranked team on Feb. 12, 2012, suffering a last-second 65-63 home loss to West Virginia (research for this note provided by STATS via the AP).
Poise Under Pressure
Notre Dame hasn’t had to deal with many close games in recent seasons, but when faced with such a challenge, the Fighting Irish have risen to the occasion.
Notre Dame has won its last 15 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime, including all three close games 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 Hartford, Connecticut.
Visiting Century City
Notre Dame has scored at least 100 points three times this season (and posted 97 points in another), already challenging last year’s school-record mark of five triple-digit outings, erasing the 2012-13 standard of three such contests.
The Fighting Irish have piled up 11 100-point games since the start of the 2011-12 season (and nine 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.
This season marked the first time the Fighting Irish opened with three 100-point games in their first six contests. In fact, prior to 2012-13, Notre Dame had never had more than two triple-digit outings in an entire season, something it has now done for a third consecutive campaign.
Turner Earns Fourth ACC Freshman of the Week Honor
Only once in the past 13 seasons had a University of Notre Dame women’s basketball player earned conference freshman-of-the-week honors in consecutive weeks. It’s taken freshman forward Brianna Turner less than two months to pull off that feat twice.
For the fourth time this season, Turner was chosen as the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Week, earning that honor Monday based on a vote of the conference’s Blue Ribbon Panel that is comprised of the ACC’s 15 head coaches, local and national media members and the women’s basketball media relations directors for each school.
Turner, who also received the ACC’s top weekly freshman honor back on Nov. 17 and 24, has garnered exactly half of the conference’s eight Freshman of the Week awards this season, with no other player earning that distinction more than once to date in the 2014-15 campaign.
Turner becomes the fifth Notre Dame player in program history to earn four conference freshman-of-the-week accolades in one season, and the first to cop the honor in back-to-back weeks on two separate occasions during the same year. Current junior guard Jewell Loyd was the most recent Fighting Irish player to earn four conference freshman-of-the-week honors, doing so in 2012-13 when Notre Dame competed in the BIG EAST Conference.
Notre Dame’s only other four-time recipients of the weekly conference freshman award all occurred during the program’s BIG EAST era — Skylar Diggins (four in 2009-10), Jacqueline Batteast (six in 2001-02) and Alicia Ratay (six in 1999-2000).
Turner is coming off a successful opening weekend in ACC play, averaging 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game with a .667 field-goal percentage as Notre Dame began its conference schedule with wins over Florida State (74-68 at Purcell Pavilion on Jan. 2) and No. 21/22 Syracuse (85-74 at the Carrier Dome on Jan. 4).
Turner scored 12 of her 14 points against Florida State in the second half before chalking up her second career double-double at No. 21/22 Syracuse with 20 points (on nine of 13 shooting), a game-high 13 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.
Junior guard Jewell Loyd leads the ACC and ranks 14th in the nation in scoring (as of Saturday), thanks in part to one of the most explosive individual scoring seasons in Notre Dame women’s basketball history.
- Loyd has scored 355 points in her first 65 games this season (22.2 points per game), matching the quickest run to a “triple century” in program annals (like Loyd, Katryna Gaither scored her 300th point in her 14th game during the 1996-97 season, a 74-67 loss at Ohio State).
- Loyd is the first Fighting Irish women’s basketball player to register eight 20-point games in her first 10 outings of a season, surpassing Gaither (who had seven 20-point games in first 10 contests of 1996-97). Loyd now has 11 20-point games this season.
- Loyd is the first Notre Dame women’s basketball player to register back-to-back 30-point games and for good measure, she did it against a pair of ranked opponents in No. 3 UConn (31 points) and No. 25 DePaul (school record-tying 41 points). Current Fighting Irish associate coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham had two 30-point games in three days on Dec. 1 and 3, 1995, in close losses to No. 12/13 Penn State (32) and No. RV/22 Texas A&M (34) at the Kona Women’s Basketball Classic in Kona, Hawaii, although there was a game between those two (Cunningham scored 23 points in a win over Washington).
- Loyd is tied for 14th in school history with 1,492 career points in 89 career games, putting her within reach of the 1,500-point milestone, a mark she could hit in her next game if she stays on her current career scoring pace of 16.8 points per game. Loyd would be the 13th player in program history to reach that statistical milepost and is on pace to be the second-quickest to do so (Cunningham scored her 1,500th point at Notre Dame in her 80th career game on Feb. 21, 1996, at home against Miami).
The Model Of Consistency
Junior guard Jewell Loyd has scored in double figures in 59 consecutive games, dating back to March 11, 2013, when she had eight points in Notre Dame’s 83-59 BIG EAST Championship semifinal win over No. 16/15 Louisville at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
Loyd’s 59-game double-digit scoring streak is the second-longest in school history, surpassing Natalie Novosel’s 27-game run from March 8, 2011-Jan. 21, 2012. In fact, Loyd has scored in double figures in 77 of her 89 career games (and 10 of those 12 single-digit games saw her within one basket of double figures).
Katryna Gaither has staked a seemingly ironclad claim to the school record with a remarkable 76-game double-figure scoring streak from 1994-97.
Turner Throwing A Block Party
Freshman forward Brianna Turner has recorded 24 blocked shots in her last five games (4.8 bpg.), all since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for the better part of the four previous games.
Since her return on Dec. 21 against Saint Joseph’s (Pa.), the Pearland, Texas, native has logged at least five blocks in four games, including a career-high seven rejections at No. 21/22 Syracuse on Jan. 4.
Turner’s 22 blocks from Dec. 21-Jan. 4 were the most by a Notre Dame player in a four-game span since Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 1998, when Ruth Riley had 22 blocks against No. 6/4 Duke, No. 25/23 Illinois, San Francisco and Toledo.
For the season, Turner ranks third in the ACC and 20th in the nation at 2.7 blocks per game.
Achonwa, Fighting Irish Lend A Hand To Help Ailing Staffer
Although it’s been nearly a year since Natalie Achonwa last put on the Notre Dame uniform, the 2014 graduate continues to selflessly give back to her alma mater.
Achonwa is in her first year as an operations specialist on the Fighting Irish coaching staff, having assumed that post last June. A first-round selection by the Indiana Fever in the 2014 WNBA Draft, Achonwa currently lives in South Bend and commutes regularly to Indianapolis while continuing rehabilitation of her left knee following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament last spring (the injury occurred in Notre Dame’s NCAA Elite Eight win over Baylor on March 31, 2014, at Purcell Pavilion).
In her current role, Achonwa oversees the program’s travel plans, social media outlets and other day-to-day office operations, helping to fill the void left by fellow operations specialist Katie Schwab, who has been hospitalized the past seven months following complications related to her Type I diabetes.
The Notre Dame women’s basketball program and several of Schwab’s supporters within and outside the University have banded together to hold several fundraisers to help defray some of Schwab’s medical expenses. The most notable of these fundraisers came in August, when the group (known informally as “Team Katie”) generated approximately $21,000 through a live and silent auction at the legendary Linebacker Lounge (across from the Notre Dame campus), as well as through online donations.
Notre Dame also held its first Diabetes Awareness Day on Nov. 23 prior to the Fighting Irish win over Holy Cross at Purcell Pavilion, and the team has been active with the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDRF), including participation in its annual JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on Sept. 14, 2014, in nearby Mishawaka, Indiana.
Schwab’s family continues to provide regular updates on her condition through the CaringBridge web site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/katieschwab.
Game #16 Recap: Miami
Adrienne Motley scored a career-high 32 points, Jassany Williams blocked a school-record nine shots and Miami snapped No. 4 Notre Dame’s NCAA Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak by running out to a big lead and then pulling away again late to upset the Fighting Irish 78-63 on Thursday night at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida.
The Hurricanes (12-3, 2-0 ACC) led 40-20 at the half, saw the lead whittled to six and then closed the game on a 23-14 spurt. Motley made 13 of 19 shots, Suriya McGuire added 11 points and Williams added six points and eight rebounds to her nine-block night. Plus, Miami’s bench outscored Notre Dame’s 21-7.
Beyond The Box Score: Miami
- The Fighting Irish lost by double digits to an unranked opponent for the first time since March 8, 2009, when they fell 58-47 to Villanova in the BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinals at Hartford, Connecticut.
- This marked Notre Dame’s largest loss to an unranked opponent since Nov. 16, 2006 (75-49 at Penn State).
- The Fighting Irish fall to 32-6 (.842) all-time against Florida schools, including a 19-3 (.864) record away from home, with this loss snapping Notre Dame’s 12-game winning streak against teams from Florida (last defeat was an 87-78 overtime setback at South Florida on Jan. 13, 2007).
- Notre Dame falls to 15-4 all-time against Miami, with the Hurricanes earning their first series win over the Fighting Irish since Jan. 11, 2003 (80-70 at Purcell Pavilion), and their first series victory in Coral Gables since Feb. 3, 1998 (77-76 at UM’s previous home, the Knight Sports Complex).
- Loyd posted her 11th 20-point game of the season, and her sixth 25-point outing (second in a row).
- Turner notched her third career double-double (all in the past four games).
- Sophomore guard Lindsay Allen registered at least six assists for the third game in a row and sixth time this season.
- Freshman forward Kathryn Westbeld tied her career high with four assists.
- Williams tied a Notre Dame opponent record with nine blocks.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press preseason poll, its 75th consecutive week in the top 10 of the media balloting (71 of those in the top five), dating back to the middle of the 2010-11 season and marking 145 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 (68 consecutive weeks for the current senior class), spending the vast majority (64) of those appearances in the AP Top 5 (and never lower than seventh).
Notre Dame was No. 3 in the preseason AP poll, representing 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 284 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.
The Fighting Irish also are No. 4 in the WBCA/USA Today coaches’ poll, after spending two weeks earlier this season as the nation’s No. 1 team (Nov. 25 and Dec. 2). It was the first time Notre Dame stood atop the rankings since April 1, 2001, following the program’s first NCAA national championship. The Fighting Irish were the first ACC team to be ranked No. 1 in either major national poll since March 12, 2007, when Duke was in that position prior to the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the coaches’ poll for 147 of the past 148 weeks (and 111 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 279 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 33 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 284 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 33 people on this list, 18 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart), with McGraw and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey 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 324-19 (.945) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 252 of their last 265 such contests (.951).
What’s more, in the past six seasons (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 161-2 (.988) 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 300-15 (.952) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game, including a 8-0 record this 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 224-6 (.974) 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 101-2 (.981) when topping the 80-point mark, including an active 68-game winning streak since a 94-81 loss at No. 1 Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT title game.
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 260 of their last 290 games (.897), all but one game/win at the 9,149-seat Purcell Pavilion, including winning streaks of 51, 34, 25 and 20 games in that span.
Since Purcell Pavilion was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season, Notre Dame is 86-6 (.935) — including wins in 62 of its last 65 games — and three of the six Fighting Irish losses in their refurbished facility have come by three points or fewer (two in overtime).
Notre Dame also has a 205-30 (.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 125 of their last 135 out-of-conference home contests (.926), dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the 10 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), Baylor in 2012 (73-61) and Connecticut in 2014 (76-58). 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 but one of its games at the former Joyce Center, posting a 409-91 (.818) record at the venerable facility, including a school-record 17 wins in both 2011-12 and 2013-14.
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.
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 post two sellouts (Dec. 6 vs. Connecticut; Jan. 2 vs. Florida State), while several other home games are rapidly approaching sellout status.
As of Saturday, Notre Dame ranks fourth in the nation in attendance, averaging 8,800 fans per game. That equates to 96.2 percent of Purcell Pavilion’s capacity, the second-highest such percentage of any team in the country (DePaul is at 97.8 percent).
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 is the 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).
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 game at Purcell Pavilion.
In the eight-year history of the promotion, Notre Dame has hit the 88-point mark at home 58 times, most recently in the Nov. 25 win over Quinnipiac.
Senior forward Markisha Wright leads all current Fighting Irish players with seven “Big Mac Baskets” apiece during 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”), 27 different players have converted the “burger ball”, including nine current members of the Fighting Irish roster.
What’s more, of the 58 Big Mac games, 27 have been reached on two-point baskets, 18 on free throws, and 13 on three-pointers.
Next Game: North Carolina
Notre Dame heads back on the road at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when it makes its first-ever visit to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to take on No. 8/6 North Carolina at Carmichael Arena. The game will air live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks (including Comcast Digital Channel 101 in northern Indiana and most Fox Sports regional outlets), ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director