Jan. 7, 2015
2014-15 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 16
#4/4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-1 / 2-0 ACC) vs. Miami Hurricanes (11-3 / 1-0 ACC)
DATE: Jan. 8, 2015
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Coral Gables, Fla. – BankUnited Center (7,900)
SERIES: ND leads 15-3
1ST MTG: ND 59-53 (1/5/86)
LAST MTG: ND 79-52 (1/23/14)
TV: ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Mike Levine, p-b-p / Ruth Riley, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: hurricanesports.com
- Notre Dame makes its first visit to Miami since the 2003-04 season, although the Fighting Irish will be playing in the state of Florida for the sixth time in seven years.
- Notre Dame is 19-2 all-time away from home against Florida schools.
No. 4 Fighting Irish Continue ACC Road Swing Thursday At Miami
With northern Indiana feeling the arctic chill of winter, No. 4 Notre Dame heads for the warmer climate of south Florida as the Fighting Irish continue a two-game Atlantic Coast Conference road swing at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday against Miami at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3/WatchESPN, with former Notre Dame All-America center Ruth Riley providing color commentary on the broadcast.
The Fighting Irish (14-1, 2-0) capped off the opening weekend of conference play with an 85-74 win at No. 21/22 Syracuse on Sunday afternoon. Notre Dame used a 14-4 run early in the second half to take command and the Orange never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Junior guard Jewell Loyd led four Fighting Irish players in double figures with a game-high 25 points, while freshman forward Brianna Turner registered her second career double-double with 20 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.
- Notre Dame is No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 4 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Miami 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 nine NCAA statistical categories (as of Tuesday), including five top-10 rankings — field-goal percentage (3rd – .499), three-point percentage (4th – .399), scoring offense (5th – 85.7 ppg.), scoring margin (6th – +26.5 ppg.) and assists (8th – 18.5 apg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 14th in the country in free-throw percentage (.760), 22nd in both assist/turnover ratio (1.20) and blocked shots (5.5 bpg.), and 23rd in rebounding margin (+9.3 rpg.), as well as fifth in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.933).
- 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 own the nation’s longest active road winning streak at 30 games, having also tied Connecticut for the longest run in NCAA Division I history with their Jan. 4 victory at No. 21/22 Syracuse.
- Senior guards Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway, and senior forward Markisha Wright have helped Notre Dame to a 121-8 (.938) 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 eight 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 Tuesday).
Other Notre Dame Notables
- Notre Dame is among the nation’s winningest programs during the past six seasons (2009-10 to present), ranking 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 Tuesday), 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-Miami Series
Notre Dame and Miami will be playing for the 19th time in series history, with the Fighting Irish holding a 15-3 edge over the Hurricanes, as well as a 7-1 mark in Coral Gables. Notre Dame also has won the last three meetings (and nine of the past 10) between the schools.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Miami Met
Second-ranked Notre Dame is making a habit of overcoming slow starts.
Three days after coming back from 12 points down to beat Tennessee going away, the Fighting Irish started one for 13 from the field against Miami and fell behind by six before coming back to beat the Hurricanes 79-52 on Jan. 23, 2014, at Purcell Pavilion.
The veterans actually were the ones struggling the most early as Natalie Achonwa was one for five from the floor with three turnovers in the first five minutes and Kayla McBride missed her first seven shots. But Achonwa finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, Lindsay Allen added a season-high 16 points and McBride had 15. Achonwa also struggled at the free throw line, going five for 11 in the first half and finishing nine of 15.
After the slow start, Notre Dame made 10 of its final 19 shots of the first half to open a 35-26 lead the break, then began the second half with a 10-0 run to take control.
Jassany Williams and Adrienne Motley led Miami with 10 points apiece as the Hurricanes shot a season-low 30.6 percent.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Miami Met In Coral Gables
Courtney LaVere scored 15 points, and Notre Dame rode a strong run at the start of the second half to a 59-50 victory over No. 17/18 Miami on Jan. 28, 2004, at the BankUnited Center (then known simply as the Convocation Center).
The Fighting Irish went on an 11-2 run after the break to take a 37-30 lead, and Miami managed just three baskets while turning the ball over seven times in the first 12:47.
Tamara James scored 16 points to lead Miami, which lost for the first time in three weeks. The Hurricanes shot just 37 percent.
Megan Duffy hit two free throws to push the lead to 45-37 with 6:23 left. Katy Flecky’s short jumper with 2:07 remaining ended a 9-4 run for Miami and gave the Fighting Irish a 51-46 lead.
Notre Dame, which made 18 of 22 free throws, went nine for 10 from the line in the final 1:18 to seal the victory.
After falling behind early, Notre Dame went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 20 on Breona Gray’s layup with 7:31 left in the first half. Miami responded with back-to-back three-pointers by Yalonda McCormick and Melissa Knight and led 28-26 lead at halftime.
Other Notre Dame-Miami Series Tidbits
- Of the 18 games in the series, six have been decided by single-digit margins, including two of the last five. Notre Dame has come out on top in four of those six close affairs.
- Miami has scored more than 70 points against Notre Dame four times in their 18-game series (just once in the past 10 meetings). Conversely, the Fighting Irish have topped the 70-point mark 12 times in their history with the Hurricanes, all in the past 16 series matchups.
- Notre Dame has had eight Florida natives suit up in the program’s 38-year history, with its most recent Sunshine State product being 2010 graduate Alena Christiansen (Fort Lauderdale/Cardinal Gibbons HS).
- Junior guard Michaela Mabrey played for Miami head coach Katie Meier on the 2012 USA Basketball Under-18 National Team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Mabrey appeared in all five games (starting four times) for Team USA at the tournament, averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game with a .500 three-point percentage and .489 overall field goal percentage. She also scored in double figures four times (including 14 points against Brazil in the gold medal game), and led all players in the eight-team tournament in assists, assist/turnover ratio (2.67) and three-pointers per game (3.2).
- Notre Dame assistant athletic trainer Anne Marquez also served on Meier’s staff with the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team.
- Meier also coached Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner on the 2013 USA Basketball U19 National Team that won the FIBA U19 World Championships in Lithuania. As the second-youngest player on the American roster, Turner played in all nine games for Team USA at the tournament, averaging 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with a .500 field goal percentage.
Sunshine State Success
Notre Dame is 32-5 (.865) all-time against Florida schools, including a 19-2 (.905) record away from home (road/neutral combined) against Sunshine State teams. The Fighting Irish also have won their last 12 games against Florida schools, including a win over Florida State (74-68) on Jan. 2.
Notre Dame has won its last seven games away from home (road/neutral combined) against teams from the state of Florida, with USF the most recent Sunshine State school to defeat the Fighting Irish (an 87-78 overtime win in Tampa in 2007).
Notre Dame currently has won a 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.
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 current streak has 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).
When factoring in postseason tournament results (league and NCAA), the Fighting Irish have won 48 of their last 50 games against conference opponents. Notre Dame’s only 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).
Notre Dame has won a school-record 30 consecutive road games (39 in a row in the regular season, and 46 of its last 51 overall). 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.
The last time the Fighting Irish lost a regular season road game was Nov. 20, 2011, a 94-81 setback at No. 1 Baylor in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
Notre Dame’s current 30-game road winning streak is the longest active run in the nation, more than four times longer than the next-closest pursuers (eight by Louisville and Princeton, as of Tuesday), as well as tying the longest road winning streak in NCAA Division I history.
The highlight of this current 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.
The Fighting Irish also have won a school-record 25 consecutive conference road games, with their last loss coming as part of the BIG EAST Conference on Feb. 28, 2011 (a last-second 70-69 loss at No. 12/11 DePaul).
More Streak Stats
Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 86-4 (.956) record. In that three-year span, the only 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).
As of Tuesday, Notre Dame owns the nation’s second-longest winning streak against unranked opponents (in the Associated Press poll), having earned 61 consecutive victories since a last-second 65-63 home loss to West Virginia on Feb. 12, 2012 (research for this note provided by STATS via the AP).
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 Sunday), extending the Fighting Irish ACC regular season winning streak to 18 games.
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, helping Notre Dame tie a NCAA Division I record with its 30th consecutive road win.
Turner, whose seven blocks at Syracuse were the most by a Fighting Irish player since March 20, 2012 (Devereaux Peters vs. California in NCAA Championship second-round game), has blocked at least five shots in each of her last four games, averaging 5.5 blocks per game in that span. In addition, Turner’s 22 total blocks in the past four games are the most for a Notre Dame player in a four-game stretch since Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 1998, when Ruth Riley also had 22 blocks in four games (vs. No. 6/4 Duke, No. 25/23 Illinois, San Francisco and Toledo).
Turner currently leads the ACC and ranks second nationally with a .667 field-goal percentage. She also ranks third in the ACC (20th nationally) in blocked shots (2.8 bpg.), 12th in the conference in scoring (14.5 ppg.) and 14th in rebounding (6.8 rpg.).
Junior guard Jewell Loyd leads the ACC and ranks 14th in the nation in scoring (as of Tuesday), thanks in part to one of the most explosive individual scoring seasons in Notre Dame women’s basketball history.
- Loyd has scored 328 points in her first 15 games this season (21.9 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 10 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 14th in school history with 1,465 career points in 88 career games, putting her within reach of the 1,500-point milestone, a mark she could hit in her next three games if she stays on her current career scoring pace of 16.6 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 58 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 58-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 76 of her 88 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 22 blocked shots in her last four games, all since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for the better part of four games.
Since her return on Dec. 21 against Saint Joseph’s (Pa.), the Pearland, Texas, native has logged at least five blocks in each game, including a career-high seven rejections at No. 21/22 Syracuse on Jan. 4.
Turner’s 22 blocks are the most by a Notre Dame player in a four-game span since Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 1998, when Ruth Riley also 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 2.8 blocks per game.
Game #15 Recap: Syracuse
Notre Dame is tough on the road, and no team knows that better than Syracuse.
Jewell Loyd had 25 points and four steals, Brianna Turner added 20 points and 13 rebounds, and the fourth-ranked Irish beat No. 21/22 Syracuse 85-74 on Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.
Notre Dame (14-1, 2-0 ACC) won its 30th straight road game to tie the record set by Connecticut.
Diamond Henderson and Brianna Butler led Syracuse with 19 points apiece.
The Fighting Irish, whose lone loss came against No. 2 Connecticut a month ago, went on a 14-4 run early in the second half to go up 12 points.
After Butler’s three-pointer pulled Syracuse within 46-44, Orange forward Briana Day picked up her fourth foul. With the 6-foot-4 Day on the bench, the Irish got a three-point play from Taya Reimer and seven points from Loyd to take a double-digit lead.
Consecutive three-point plays by Henderson had the Orange within 73-67 with 5:12 to go. Loyd countered with a layup, and the Fighting Irish quickly extended the lead back to double figures.
Day had five blocks and four rebounds in the first half to keep the Orange close. Notre Dame took a 42-41 edge into halftime behind its three-point shooting. The Fighting Irish were six of 14, including four three-pointers from Michaela Mabrey, while Syracuse was just two of nine.
Beyond The Box Score: Syracuse
- Notre Dame improves to 4-1 against ranked opponents this season, including a 3-0 record on the road.
- Notre Dame moves to 28-2 all-time against Syracuse (second-most wins against one opponent in school history behind 32 wins against Marquette).
- The Fighting Irish have won the last 15 games in the series, as well as 27 of the last 28 matchups with the Orange.
- The Fighting Irish are 13-1 all-time on the road against Syracuse, including a 5-0 record since the Orange began playing their home games at the Carrier Dome in 2005-06.
- This marked the fifth time in the last eight series games Notre Dame has defeated Syracuse by 13 points or fewer.
- The Fighting Irish scored at least 70 points for the 25th time in 30 career games against Syracuse, while the Orange reached that mark for only the fifth time in series history, and first since Jan. 30, 2010 (a 74-73 Notre Dame win at the Carrier Dome).
- The Fighting Irish are 57-5 (.919) all-time against teams from the state of New York, including a 27-5 (.844) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined).
- Notre Dame has won 15 of its last 16 games against New York schools.
- Since 2008-09, the Fighting Irish are 50-10 (.833) when playing on one day’s rest or less, including a 5-0 record this season.
- Notre Dame shot at least 50 percent from the field for the fifth consecutive game and the 11th time this season.
- Loyd posted her team-high 10th 20-point game this season and 25th of her career.
- Loyd moved into 14th place on the Fighting Irish all-time scoring list with 1,465 points, edging past Sandy Botham (1,460 from 1984-88).
- Loyd scored in double figures for the 58th consecutive game, continuing the second-longest streak in school history.
- Turner posted her third consecutive “5-5-5” game and her second double-double in three games (she had 14 points/16 rebounds at UCLA on Dec. 28).
- Turner logged her third career 20-point game and first since scoring 20 points against Quinnipiac on Nov. 25 at Purcell Pavilion.
- Turner’s seven blocks were the most by a Notre Dame player in a single game since March 20, 2012, when Devereaux Peters recorded seven blocks against California in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion.
- Notre Dame’s nine blocks tied its season high set in that season-opening win over UMass Lowell.
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 Tuesday, 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: Boston College
Notre Dame returns home this weekend, playing host to ACC foe Boston College at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. The game, the first of a home-and-home series with the Eagles this year, will air live on ESPN3.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director