Senior guard Kayla McBride nearly posted a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds) in Notre Dame's 69-38 win over Penn on Dec. 2, 2011, at Purcell Pavilion.

#5/6 Irish To Face Penn Saturday At Legendary Palestra

Nov. 22, 2013

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2013-14 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 4

#5/6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. Penn Quakers (0-1 / 0-0 Ivy League)

DATE: Nov. 23, 2013
TIME: 3:00 p.m. ET
AT: Philadelphia, Pa. – The Palestra (8,722)
SERIES: ND leads 2-0
1ST MTG: ND 62-47 (12/18/81)
LAST MTG: ND 69-38 (12/2/11)
TV: None
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) / WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TWITTER: @ndwbbsid
TICKETS: (215) 898-6151


  • Three of Notre Dame’s next four games will come against Pennsylvania schools (two on the road, one neutral site), with a fourth game against the Keystone State set for Jan. 16 when the Fighting Irish visit Pittsburgh.
  • For the first time in nearly 32 years (and just the second in program history), Notre Dame will play at Penn’s legendary arena, The Palestra (also known as “the Cathedral of College Basketball”).

No. 5/6 Fighting Irish To Face Penn Saturday At Legendary Palestra
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw always has been fiercely proud of her Philadelphia roots, so one can only imagine the pride she will be feeling as she brings No. 5/6 Notre Dame back to her hometown on Saturday for a 3 p.m. (ET) matchup against Penn at the Quakers’ historic arena, The Palestra, which opened in 1927.

The Fighting Irish (3-0) come into their road opener this weekend on the heels of a 96-46 win over Valparaiso last Saturday at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame led from start to finish, scoring the first nine points of the game en route to its 20th consecutive win against an in-state opponent.

Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd continued her torrid start with a game-high 22 points, while freshman guard Lindsay Allen added 15 points and rookie forward Taya Reimer chipped in 13 points, six assists and four blocks.


  • Notre Dame is No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 6 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • Penn is not ranked.

Quick Hitters

  • Notre Dame has won 26 consecutive regular season games and 14 consecutive home games, both dating back to Dec. 5, 2012 (a 73-61 loss to No. 3 Baylor).
  • The Fighting Irish have won a school-record 22 consecutive regular season road games (and 29 of their last 34 overall) since a 94-81 loss at top-ranked Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
  • Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd has scored 63 points in Notre Dame’s first three games this year. It’s the most points by a Fighting Irish player in the season’s first three contests since 1998-99, when Danielle Green did so against No. 6 UCLA (23 points), at Butler (23) and against No. 6/4 Duke (20).
  • Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Notre Dame is 28-5 (.848) against ranked opponents, including a 9-1 record at home.
  • Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 119 consecutive weeks (including the past 49 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 ranked Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (69 of 80 weeks) spent in the AP Top 10.
  • Senior forwards Natalie Achonwa and Ariel Braker, and senior guard Kayla McBride have helped Notre Dame to a 104-14 (.881) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year’s senior class of Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner, who helped Notre Dame to 130 wins in their careers.
  • Of the 14 losses suffered by the current Fighting Irish senior class, eight were decided by single digits (and three others by 10-13 points).
  • Notre Dame aims to continue its remarkable success at Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 387-90 (.811) all-time record in 37 seasons at the facility, including a 64-5 (.928) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
  • With 629 victories in her 27 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 717 career wins, McGraw needs 22 victories to move into the top 10 on the NCAA Division I career list. She currently stands 12th behind two former ACC coaches — Virginia’s Debbie Ryan (739) and the late North Carolina State coach Kay Yow (737).

The Notre Dame-Penn Series
Notre Dame and Penn will be meeting for the third time, and the second in three seasons. The Fighting Irish have won both prior matchups with the Quakers, earning a 62-47 victory on Dec. 18, 1981, at The Palestra in Philadephia, and more recently, claiming a 69-38 win on Dec. 2, 2011, at Purcell Pavilion.

The Last Time Notre Dame and Penn Met
Devereaux Peters scored 16 points and Natalie Novosel added 14 to lead third-ranked Notre Dame to a 69-38 win over Penn on Dec. 2, 2011, at Purcell Pavilion.

Kayla McBride chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame, which jumped out to a 14-3 lead and pressured the Quakers into 23 turnovers, including 15 on steals.

Kara Bonenberger had nine points and seven rebounds to lead Penn. Leading scorer Alyssa Baron, who came in averaging better than 20 points, was held to seven.

Peters scored eight points and Novosel had the other six during Notre Dame’s opening 14-3 run, while the Quakers made only one of their first ten shots. The Fighting Irish broke off a 14-0 run later in the first half for a 32-7 lead with 6:32 to go before halftime.

Notre Dame then opened the second half on a 16-8 run to put the game out of reach.

The Last Time Notre Dame and Penn Met At The Palestra
Mary Beth Schueth posted a double-double with game highs of 17 points and 14 rebounds as Notre Dame pulled away in the second half for a 62-47 win at Penn on Dec. 18, 1981, in the opening round of the Penn Holiday Invitational at The Palestra in Philadelphia.

The Fighting Irish also got a boost from the bench, as Carrie Bates (14 points) and Janice Crowe (11 points) scored in double figures, Bates finishing 7-of-9 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds.

Auretha Fleming was the lone Penn player to score in double figures, finishing with 14 points.

Notre Dame held a slim 28-25 lead at halftime, despite .522 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. The Fighting Irish then clamped down on defense after the break, holding the Quakers to just 22 points on 11-of-29 (.379) shooting to secure the win.

Other Notre Dame-Penn Series Tidbits

  • As a point of reference, the last time Notre Dame and Penn played at The Palestra, it was three days before Muhammad Ali’s last fight (a unanimous decision loss to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas), more than three months before ground was broken on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and two weeks before CNN’s Headline News (now known as HLN) went on the air.
  • Notre Dame’s head coach for its last visit to Penn was second-year skipper Mary DiStanislao, who went on to serve as senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Penn from October 1999-March 2012. DiStanislao posted a 115-79 (.593) in seven seasons at the Fighting Irish helm from 1980-81 through 1986-87, leading Notre Dame to a pair of North Star Conference titles (1983-84 and 1984-85) and earning NSC Coach of the Year honors both seasons. The Fighting Irish also earned their first-ever postseason berth under DiStanislao’s guidance in 1985, finishing third at the now-defunct National Women’s Invitation Tournament (NWIT) in Amarillo, Texas. DiStanislao stepped down as Notre Dame’s head coach in 1987 to pursue graduate studies, paving the way for the arrival of an up-and-coming coach from Lehigh University named Muffet McGraw.
  • The team captain for the Fighting Irish entering their 1981 matchup at Penn was senior forward Missy Conboy, who did not play against the Quakers after being shaken up in the previous game six days earlier against Northern Illinois. Today, Conboy is Notre Dame’s senior deputy athletics director and senior woman administrator, having been a member of the University’s athletic administration since August 1987.
  • Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is a native of West Chester, Pa., and graduated from Saint Joseph’s in 1977. She also was a head girls’ basketball coach at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor, Pa., from 1977-79, and an assistant coach at SJU from 1980-82, before earning her first collegiate head coach position at Lehigh in 1982. Also a former staff member at the renowned Cathy Rush Basketball Camps (named for the legendary former head coach at 1970s powerhouse Immaculata), McGraw was inducted into the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame in 1990, one of four halls of fame that McGraw has become a member of during her storied career. However, her latest enshrinement may have been perhaps the most notable — a June 2011 induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • During her five-year tenure as head coach at Lehigh from 1982-87, McGraw led the Engineers (now Mountain Hawks) to a 3-2 record against Penn. As the starting point guard for nationally-ranked Saint Joseph’s from 1973-77, McGraw (then known as Muffet O’Brien) guided the Hawks to a 4-0 record against Penn.

Notre Dame vs. The Ivy League
Notre Dame will be playing an Ivy League school for just the fourth time in its 37-year history, with this being the third road game in that time.

Penn was the first Ivy League foe for the Fighting Irish back on Dec. 18, 1981 (a 62-47 Notre Dame win at The Palestra). The Quakers also are the most recent Ivy League team for the Fighting Irish, with their visit to Purcell Pavilion early in the 2011-12 season (a 69-38 Fighting Irish victory).

Between those two matchups with Penn, Notre Dame faced one other Ivy League team on Dec. 5, 1993, rallying from a six-point halftime deficit to earn a 58-54 win at Brown in the championship game of the Brown PowerBar Invitational in Providence, R.I.

Notre Dame vs. The Big Five
Notre Dame is 29-18 (.617) all-time when playing teams that are members of the Big Five, an informal association of college programs in the Philadelphia metro area that was created in 1955. The majority (29) of the 47 Fighting Irish games against the Big Five have come against Villanova, who also was a member of the BIG EAST Conference along with Notre Dame from 1995-2013.

The Fighting Irish are 11-12 (.478) all-time on the road at Big Five schools, again with the majority of those games coming at Villanova (where Notre Dame most recently posted a 59-52 victory on Feb. 5, 2013, giving head coach and West Chester, Pa., native Muffet McGraw her 700th career win).

Glass Cleaners
Notre Dame collected at least 50 rebounds in each of its first two games, nabbing 54 rebounds against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9, followed by 52 caroms against No. 19/18 Michigan State two nights later.

This marked the first time the Fighting Irish have had consecutive 50-rebound games since Dec. 12 & 22, 2001, when they did so in home wins over Western Michigan (56 rebounds) and Marquette (54 rebounds).

Notre Dame nearly made it three for three on the boards, finishing with 49 caroms in its most recent outing on Nov. 16 against Valparaiso. The last time the Fighting Irish had three consecutive 50-rebound contests was Jan. 15-29, 1992, in wins over Louisville (56) and at Butler (50), followed by a home loss to Detroit (54).

Firing Out Of The Blocks
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd has stormed out of the gates this season, piling up 63 points in Notre Dame’s first three games, wins over UNC Wilmington (19 points), No. 19/18 Michigan State (22 points) and Valparaiso (22 points).

Loyd’s point production is the highest for a Fighting Irish player in the opening three contests of a season since 1998-99, when Danielle Green had 66 combined points in wins against No. 6 UCLA at home (23 points), at Butler (23) and No. 6/4 Duke at home (20).

Youthful Leader
Freshman Lindsay Allen got the call from head coach Muffet McGraw to start at point guard in Notre Dame’s season opener against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9 at Purcell Pavilion. Allen finished with 11 points in her debut game, including the team’s first five points of the season.

It was the first time a Fighting Irish rookie point guard started the season opener since Nov. 26, 1994, when Mollie Peirick cracked the lineup and played 38 minutes (two points, five rebounds, three assists) in a 65-60 overtime loss at No. 25 Seton Hall.

November To Remember
Notre Dame’s success during the past 19 seasons was aided by its ability to get off to a good start. To wit — the Fighting Irish are 79-14 (.849) in November games since 1995-96 (when they joined the BIG EAST Conference).

Notre Dame also has won 16 of its last 17 games in the month of November, with the lone exception being a 94-81 loss at top-ranked Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT championship game.

Road Warriors
Notre Dame has won a school-record 22 consecutive regular season road games and 29 of its last 34 overall, including all 13 contests last year. The Fighting Irish last tasted defeat on the road in the regular season on Nov. 20, 2011, a 94-81 setback at No. 1 Baylor in the Preseason WNIT championship game.

The highlight of this current run came on Jan. 5, 2013, when Notre Dame edged No. 1 Connecticut, 73-72, in Storrs, Conn., earning its fourth all-time win over a top-ranked opponent and first-ever victory on the road.

Prior to the past two years, the school record for consecutive regular season road wins was held by Notre Dame’s 2000-01 national championship team that won its first 10 road outings before a 54-53 loss at No. 11/14 Rutgers on Feb. 17, 2001.

The Fighting Irish also have won a school-record 16 consecutive conference regular season 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).

The previous school record for consecutive regular season conference road wins was seven, set numerous times, most recently crossing between the 2001-02 and 2002-03 campaigns.

The previous Notre Dame record for consecutive regular season road victories in any conference was 15, which the Fighting Irish set from Feb. 25, 1989-Feb. 14, 1991 during their time in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (Horizon League).

Next Game: DePaul
Notre Dame returns home Tuesday to take on a familiar foe as former BIG EAST Conference rival (and 25th-ranked) DePaul pays a visit to Purcell Pavilion for a 7 p.m. (ET) non-conference matchup. The game will be streamed live on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.

— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director