Dec. 12, 2014
2014-15 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 11
#5/4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1 / 0-0 ACC) vs. Michigan Wolverines (6-2 / 0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: Dec. 13, 2014
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 10-7
1ST MTG: UM 93-66 (1/20/79)
LAST MTG: ND 86-64 (12/14/13)
TV: WatchND (live) (Rich Hidy, p-b-p / Jac Collinsworth, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356; UND.com/buytickets
- Notre Dame welcomes Michigan to town for the first time since 2007 and just the third time since the 2001 NCAA Championship.
- Fans are invited to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item to Saturday’s game to donate to the holiday food drive coordinated by the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County.
No. 5/4 Fighting Irish Back Home Saturday To Take On Michigan
Following a gritty and thrilling overtime road win against a ranked opponent, No. 5/4 Notre Dame barely has time to savor that success, as the Fighting Irish get right back on the hardwood at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday, playing host to Michigan at Purcell Pavilion. It will be the last game for the Fighting Irish before an eight-day break for final exams.
Notre Dame is coming off a heartstopping 94-93 overtime win at No. 25 DePaul Wednesday night. The Fighting Irish erased a six-point deficit late in regulation and then got two free throws from junior guard Jewell Loyd with 5.3 seconds left in overtime to earn the victory.
Loyd was dominant on Wednesday with a career-high and school record-tying 41 points and game-best 12 rebounds, while senior guard Madison Cable (20 points/11 rebounds) and sophomore forward Taya Reimer (15 points/11 rebounds) also had double-doubles.
- Notre Dame is No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 4 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Michigan is receiving votes in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press poll, its 23rd consecutive week and 67th of the past 71 weeks in the AP Top 5.
- Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 141 consecutive weeks (including the past 71 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 10 NCAA statistical categories (as of Friday), including seven top-10 rankings — scoring offense (3rd – 91.0 ppg.), scoring margin (4th – +33.1 ppg.), free-throw percentage (4th – .784), assists (4th – 20.3 apg.), field-goal percentage (6th – .491), rebounding margin (9th – +13.2 rpg.) and assist/turnover ratio (9th – 1.42). The Fighting Irish also rank 13th in the country in three-point percentage (.399), as well as 20th in turnover margin (+6.50) and 25th in steals (11.9 spg.), not including win-loss percentage, in which they are tied for 16th nationally (.900).
- Notre Dame aims to continue its remarkable success at Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 406-91 (.817) all-time record in 38 seasons at the facility, including an 83-6 (.933) 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 28 games, having surpassed Stanford (2011-12 to 2013-14) for the third-longest run in NCAA Division I history with Wednesday’s victory at No. 25 DePaul.
- Senior guards Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway, and senior forward Markisha Wright have helped Notre Dame to a 116-8 (.935) 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 44-7 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 672 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 760 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 943 as of Friday).
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 176 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, who are averaging 8,760 fans at home this season, have drawn at least 5,000 fans to 214 of their last 216 home games (with an active streak of 57 consecutive contests with 8,000 fans), logging 42 Purcell Pavilion sellouts, including 36 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-Michigan Series
Notre Dame and Michigan will meet for the 18th time on Saturday afternoon, with the Fighting Irish holding a 10-7 advantage in the series with the Wolverines. Notre Dame also has won four of the past five in the series and is 7-1 all-time against Michigan at Purcell Pavilion.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Michigan Met
Jewell Loyd scored 20 points, Natalie Achonwa had 18 points and nine rebounds as No. 4 Notre Dame cruised to an 86-64 victory over Michigan on Dec. 14, 2013, at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Loyd was 10 for 14 from the field (making her first seven shots of the night) and also had four rebounds and three assists in a team-high 34 minutes. Michaela Mabrey added 14 points off the bench, including a (then) career-high four of eight from three-point range.
Notre Dame put this one away early, carrying a 47-23 lead into the break behind a sizzling .688 field-goal percentage (22 of 32). The Fighting Irish shot 59 percent for the game and forced 19 turnovers, including 13 in the decisive first half.
Shannon Smith scored 23 points for Michigan, which had won six of seven coming into the contest. Cyesha Goree had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Siera Thompson finished with 10 points.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Michigan Met At Purcell Pavilion
Led by 19 points from Charel Allen and 15 from Tulyah Gaines, No. 22/23 Notre Dame used a pressing defense to gain control and earn a 77-46 victory over Michigan on Dec. 2, 2007, at Purcell Pavilion in front of 10,825 fans, the largest non-sellout crowd in school history.
The Notre Dame defense generated much of the offense, as the Fighting Irish scored 22 points off 22 UM turnovers.
Notre Dame also held Michigan to 27 percent shooting and only two Wolverines made baskets until midway through the second half.
The Fighting Irish had 10 players with 10 or more minutes of playing time and no starter played more than 28 minutes. Michigan used only eight players and four starters played 31 minutes or more. The lone starter who didn’t was Krista Phillips, the Wolverines’ leading scorer at 10.5 points a game, who played just 16 minutes because of foul trouble.
The Fighting Irish took control in the first half with a 21-5 run and put the game away in the second half with a 22-5 run.
Janelle Cooper led Michigan with 11 points. Lindsay Schrader added 11 points and Devereaux Peters added 10 points, and the Fighting Irish outscored Michigan inside, 40-12.
Other Notre Dame-Michigan Series Tidbits
- The aggregate point total in the 17-game series is close, with Notre Dame having piled up 1,156 points (68.0 ppg.) and Michigan amassing 1,105 points (65.0 ppg.).
- Nearly half (7) of the 17 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less, with two going to overtime (both won by Michigan).
- After the Wolverines won the first meeting with Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion (66-60 in overtime on Dec. 8, 1979), the Fighting Irish have won the past seven series games in South Bend, including all four since current head coach Muffet McGraw took over prior to the 1987-88 season.
- Notre Dame and Michigan also faced off at Purcell Pavilion in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Championship, with the Fighting Irish posting an 88-54 victory en route to the program’s first national championship. Current Notre Dame assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey started at point guard for the Fighting Irish that day, ending with eight points and a game-high eight assists.
- One of the key matchups to watch for in Saturday’s game will be Notre Dame’s defense against Michigan’s offense. When the Fighting Irish have held the Wolverines to 65 points or less, they are 9-1 in the series, the lone loss being a 63-59 overtime setback on Dec. 10, 2008, in Ann Arbor.
- Notre Dame junior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey and Michigan freshman guard Katelynn Flaherty were teammates at Manasquan High School in Manasquan, New Jersey, during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, helping MHS to a 32-2 record during the latter season, along with the New Jersey Tournament of Champions and Group III titles and a No. 17 national ranking in the final USA Today Super 25 poll. Mabrey’s younger sister, Marina (who will be a freshman at Notre Dame next year), also played alongside both her older sibling and Flaherty on that 2011-12 Manasquan team. All three players further added to their basketball resumes while playing AAU basketball together for the New Jersey Demons program.
- In her first year as an assistant coach at Michigan, Megan Duffy was an All-America (and Academic All-America) point guard at Notre Dame from 2002-06, helping the Fighting Irish to NCAA Sweet 16 berths in 2003 and 2004 while becoming one of only four Notre Dame players ever to amass 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals in her career (along with Karen Robinson, current Fighting Irish assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey and Skylar Diggins). What’s more, Ivey (2001) and Duffy (2006) both earned the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (given to the nation’s top senior standing 5-foot-8 and under) during their careers, with Notre Dame being one of only six schools ever to produce multiple recipients of the award since its inception in 1983-84.
- Saturday’s game will take on the feel of a BIG EAST Conference reunion, as Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico squares off against Notre Dame for the second time since coming to Ann Arbor from St. John’s three seasons ago. The Wolverines’ coaching staff also includes several people with BIG EAST ties, notably assistant coach Joy McCorvey (played for Barnes Arico at St. John’s) and director of basketball operations Amy Mulligan (former women’s basketball sports information director at St. John’s).
- Notre Dame associate head coach Carol Owens began her coaching career at Michigan, spending two seasons on the Wolverines’ staff in 1993-94 and 1994-95 before joining Muffet McGraw’s staff at Notre Dame, where she has coached for 15 seasons (1995-2005; 2010-present) while helping the Fighting Irish to a 399-91 (.814) record, along with six NCAA Women’s Final Fours, four trips to the NCAA title game and the 2001 national championship.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten Conference
Notre Dame is 68-69 (.496) all-time against the current Big Ten Conference alignment, with a 34-24 (.586) record at home. The Fighting Irish also are 60-48 (.556) current Big Ten teams in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
Of note, Notre Dame has won 23 of its last 29 games vs. Big Ten schools–not counting matchups with Maryland, Nebraska or Rutgers before they joined the Big Ten in recent seasons–including a current string of 12 in a row since Minnesota ended the 2008-09 Fighting Irish season with a 79-71 win in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion.
Michigan is the last of three Big Ten opponents on Notre Dame’s regular-season schedule, following a 71-63 victory at No. 15/17 Michigan State on Nov. 19, and a 92-72 win over No. 15/10 (and conference newcomer) Maryland on Dec. 3 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the first Fighting Irish off-site home game in the program’s 38-year history.
North Of The Border
Saturday’s game is the second of two this year for Notre Dame against a team from the state of Michigan, after the Fighting Irish earned a 71-63 win at No. 15/17 Michigan State on Nov. 19.
Notre Dame is 58-20 (.744) all-time against Michigan schools, with a 38-8 (.826) mark against the Great Lakes State in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
The Fighting Irish also have won 15 of their last 16 games against Michigan schools (dating back to the 2005-06 season), with their only loss in that span being a 63-59 overtime setback at Michigan on Dec. 10, 2008.
Loyd Named ACC Player Of The Week
Following stellar efforts against two top-10 opponents last week, Notre Dame junior guard Jewell Loyd was chosen as the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week, earning that honor Monday based on a vote of the conference’s Blue Ribbon Panel, which 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.
It’s the second time in Loyd’s career she has been selected as the ACC Player of the Week, having also garnered the award on Feb. 24, 2014. She is the first Notre Dame player to earn that honor this year, while rookie forward Brianna Turner collected the first two ACC Freshman of the Week citations on Nov. 17 and 24.
A prime national player of the year candidate, Loyd averaged 29.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last week as Notre Dame posted a wire-to-wire 92-72 victory over No. 15/10 Maryland on Dec. 3 at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Fort Wayne, Indiana, before falling to third-ranked Connecticut, 76-58 three days later in the Jimmy V Classic at Purcell Pavilion.
Loyd started her week by filling the box score with game highs of 27 points, eight rebounds and a career high-tying six assists against Maryland. She then fueled an early Fighting Irish surge against UConn, scoring 15 points in the opening 10 minutes as Notre Dame took a 10-point lead before the Huskies rallied for the win. Loyd wound up tying her career highs with 31 points and four steals against UConn.
Junior guard Jewell Loyd leads the ACC and ranks seventh in the nation in scoring, thanks in part to one of the most explosive individual scoring runs in Notre Dame women’s basketball history.
- Loyd has scored 241 points in her first 10 games this season (24.1 points per game), matching the quickest run to a “double century” in program annals (like Loyd, Katryna Gaither scored her 200th point in her ninth game during the 1996-97 season, a win at Providence).
- 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 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 has scored 145 points (29.0 ppg.) in her last five games, the most points by a Notre Dame women’s basketball player in a five-game stretch in school history. Included in Loyd’s current run were three ranked opponents, against whom she averaged 33.0 points per game–for the season, Loyd averages 31.8 ppg. against Top 25 teams.
- Loyd is 18th in school history with 1,378 career points in 83 career games, putting her within reach of the 1,500-point milestone, a mark she could hit in her next eight 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 Comforts Of Home
The Dec. 6 loss to third-ranked Connecticut put an end to Notre Dame’s 34-game home winning streak, at the time the nation’s longest active success string at home and the second-longest run in school history behind only a 51-game spree from Dec. 12, 1998- Feb. 19, 2002.
This latest streak ended almost exactly two years to the day after it began (Dec. 8, 2012–a 109-70 win over Utah State–three days after a 73-61 loss to another third-ranked opponent, Baylor, at Purcell Pavilion).
Nevertheless, Notre Dame continues to have one of the nation’s toughest home court environments, having posted an 83-6 (.933) record at Purcell Pavilion since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season, and a 406-91 (.817) record at the facility that was originally known as the Athletic and Convocation Center when it was built in 1968 (and later rededicated as the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center in 1987).
Notre Dame still maintains a bit more modest 18-game home winning streak in conference play, a run that dates back to the program’s membership in the BIG EAST Conference. On Feb. 14, 2012, the Fighting Irish defeated Providence, 66-47 at Purcell Pavilion–two days after a 65-63 loss to West Virginia (which, like Notre Dame, has since changed conference affiliations, now competing in the Big 12).
Notre Dame has won a school-record 28 consecutive road games (37 in a row in the regular season, and 44 of its last 49 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 28-game road winning streak is the longest active run in the nation, more than tripling the next-closest pursuer (eight by Indiana State, as of Friday), as well as the third-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 24 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 is 81-4 (.953) and has won 36 consecutive conference games (regular season only). 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 Friday, Notre Dame owns the nation’s second-longest winning streak against unranked opponents (in the Associated Press poll), having earned 57 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.
The Model Of Consistency
Junior guard Jewell Loyd has scored in double figures in 53 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 53-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 71 of her 83 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.
Game #10 Recap: DePaul
Jewell Loyd scored a career-high and school record-tying 41 points–including seven in overtime–to lead No. 5/4 Notre Dame to a 94-93 victory at No. 25 DePaul on Wednesday night.
With Notre Dame down 93-92 and 5.3 seconds left in overtime, Loyd was fouled on a drive and hit two free throws to help the Fighting Irish (9-1) win their sixth straight in the series.
Notre Dame erased a six-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime.
Brittany Hrynko missed eight free throws–all in the final 30 seconds of regulation or overtime–for DePaul (6-3). She was five of 16 from the line and the Blue Demons were 12 of 29 overall.
Hrynko scored 32 points for the Blue Demons. Megan Podkowa had 20, and Chanise Jenkins 12 and a game-high 10 assists.
Loyd also had a game-high 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Madison Cable had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Taya Reimer added 15 points and 11 rebounds. It was the first time Notre Dame had three players with double-doubles since Dec. 8, 2012.
Notre Dame built a 40-35 halftime lead behind 17 points from Loyd and 10 more from Cable.
But two minutes into the second half DePaul sprinted to a 49-44 lead with a 14-4 run that included Hrynko’s two three-pointers and another form Podkowa.
Loyd’s layup with 16:20 left launched a 10-0 Notre Dame run as the Fighting Irish opened a 54-49 lead. DePaul went back up at 64-63 on Jessica January’s layup on the way to a 71-63 lead, its largest of the night with 7:31 to go.
Notre Dame rallied to force a 82-82 tie on Loyd’s two free throws with 13.5 seconds left in regulation and DePaul missed a chance to go ahead with Hrynko missed two free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining.
Beyond The Box Score: DePaul
- The Fighting Irish are 3-1 against ranked opponents this season, and 44-7 in the past four seasons.
- Notre Dame played its first overtime game since March 4, 2013, when the Fighting Irish defeated UConn, 96-87 in triple overtime at Purcell Pavilion.
- Notre Dame has won its last five overtime games since an 86-83 double-overtime loss to 15th-ranked UCLA on Nov. 18, 2010.
- Notre Dame had three players record double-doubles in the same game for the first time since Dec. 8, 2012, against Utah State at Purcell Pavilion.
- Notre Dame had three players grab double-figure rebounds for the first time since Dec. 21, 1995, at Michigan State.
- Loyd tied the school record for points in a game (Ruth Riley – 41 at Providence on Jan. 30, 1999) and became the first Notre Dame player with back-to-back 30-point games.
- Loyd is the first Fighting Irish player with three consecutive 25-point games since Charel Allen did so from Feb. 11-17, 2007, against DePaul, at Villanova and at Providence.
- Cable made her fourth career start (first since Feb. 17, 2013, at Marquette) and recorded her first career double-double and second career 20-point game.
- Reimer logged her first double-double of the season and fourth of her career.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press preseason poll, its 71st consecutive week in the top 10 of the media balloting (67 of those in the top five), dating back to the middle of the 2010-11 season and marking 141 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 (64 consecutive weeks for the current senior class), spending the vast majority (60) 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 280 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, following two weeks 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 143 of the past 144 weeks (and 107 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 275 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 280 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 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 320-19 (.944) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 248 of their last 261 such contests (.950).
What’s more, in the past six seasons (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 157-2 (.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 298-15 (.952) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game, including a 6-0 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 222-6 (.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 99-2 (.980) when topping the 80-point mark, including an active 66-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 257 of their last 287 games (.895), 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 83-6 (.933) — including wins in 59 of its last 62 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 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 123 of their last 133 out-of-conference home contests (.925), 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 406-91 (.817) 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 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 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 sellout for every home game.
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 home game.
In the eight-year history of the promotion, Notre Dame has hit the 88-point mark 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: Saint Joseph’s (Pa.)
Notre Dame takes the next eight days off for final exams before stepping back on the Purcell Pavilion hardwood at 1 p.m. (ET) against Saint Joseph’s (Pa.). The game against head coach Muffet McGraw’s alma mater–the first between the schools since 1990–will be streamed live on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director