Dec. 27, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – In her role as a team captain, Lindsay Allen knows to put herself before others, something reflected in her pass-first mentality at point guard. Despite scoring over 1,000 career points, it is often how she moves the ball which has helped the No. 2 Notre Dame women’s basketball team to a 118-7 record in her 125 career starts, hitting that milestone tonight in a 79-58 win at Chattanooga.
Facing the four-time defending Southern Conference champion on the road, Allen’s halftime line saw eight assists, nine rebounds (already matching her career high) and just two points. Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw foresaw Allen’s first career double-double but also knew that she would have to interject herself into the offense for the selfless Allen to also get the sixth triple-double in Irish lore.
“We didn’t tell her about the triple-double part,” McGraw said afterwards. “We just ran stuff where she would get shots and fortunately she made them. I really don’t want to keep her in the game that long but it’s a pretty special day when you get a triple-double so I was happy.”
“It means a lot,” Allen said of McGraw’s play calling helping to set up her triple-double. “Coach McGraw is a legendary coach and it’s very cool to see that she has that confidence in me and she wants to see me have that moment for myself my senior year. All credit goes to her.”
Allen finally did hit double digits in scoring on a jumper with 2:40 to play, exiting the game with 11 points, 12 assists (matching her career high) and a career-high 11 rebounds.
Not to be overshadowed, Brianna Turner also turned in a big night for the Irish, scoring 24 points and adding six blocked shots – one off of her career high – including the milestone 200th block of her career. Kathryn Westbeld came close to a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds. The Irish shot 56.1% on the night (32-of-57) and won with their strong inside presence, outscoring the Mocs 54-22 in the paint.
Coach McGraw Says
On opening the game on a 10-0 run to take immediate control of the contest: “I was really pleased with the start that we had. Coming off of a break, we just had one practice yesterday and I was a little worried about how we were going to come out. Offensively, I thought we really looked good which I thought would be the other way. I thought we’d play better defensively and be a little rusty on offense.”
Turner Makes History Too
Brianna Turner swatted away six Chattanooga shots tonight, including the milestone 200th of her career, rejecting preseason SoCon Player of the Year Jasmine Joyner’s shot with 8:19 left in the third quarter for her fourth block of the game. Turner is the third Notre Dame player with 200 career blocks, joining Ruth Riley (370) and Devereaux Peters (227). Turner is 11th among all active players nationally with her 202 career blocks and third among juniors. Curiously, one of the 10 players ahead of her is Joyner, a senior, who is second with 362.
Turner’s climb up the Notre Dame career scoring leaders list continued tonight as she surpassed Danielle Green’s sum of 1,106 during the first quarter, moving into 29th place. The junior All-American had a quick catch and jumper in the paint of an entry lob by Kathryn Westbeld for her milestone 1,107 and 1,108th points. The bucket was a part of a solid start to the contest for Turner who scored 12 points in the opening quarter.
Turner now has 1,126 career points to her credit with the next rung on the ladder being Becca Bruszewski’s 1,148 points which stand 28th.
Additional Allen Accolades
In addition to recording just the sixth triple-double in Notre Dame history, Lindsay Allen had a new other notes to highlight tonight.
With her 12 assists at Chattanooga, Allen now has 656 for the Irish, moving her past Mollie Peirick’s 651 and into fourth place in Notre Dame history. The next step for Allen would be to claim third place away from her current position coach, Niele Ivey. Ivey assisted on 727 Irish baskets, ranking third all-time. Allen ranks fifth in ACC history with her 656 career assists with the next player to catch being fourth place Nikki Teasley (North Carolina) with 728.
The start was the milestone 125th in a row for Allen, extending what is already by far a school record. Starting in game number 125 tonight moved her past Lindsay Schrader and Ruth Riley’s shared 124 starts for third place on the Notre Dame record chart behind only Skylar Diggins (144) and Alicia Ratay (129).
Merry Christmas Continues
Tonight’s win marks 14 consecutive years in which the Irish won their first game following Christmas break. Notre Dame has not been defeated in its first post-Christmas contest since a 2002 loss to No. 5 Tennessee at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Paired With Purdue
The Irish have now won 15 consecutive games on the road. The streak is tied for the 12th-longest in NCAA history with a run by Purdue from 1989-91. Notre Dame holds a share of the national record by winning 30 consecutive road games from 2012-15. UConn can also boast a 30-game road winning steak and is currently riding a 29-game victorious road run heading into a contest Thursday night at No. 4 Maryland.
The Principal Came to Our Office Instead
After the game, the Irish got to meet actor Dennis Haskins, best known for his role as Mr. Belding in the timeless teenage sitcom “Saved By the Bell.” Haskins is a native of Chattanooga who attended Notre Dame High School in the city before graduating from Chattanooga. The team’s players, coaches and support staff were all eager to get a photo outside the locker room.
Additionally, the team received a postgame locker room visit from Trena Keys who came up from her home in Atlanta. Keys was the 1985 and 1986 North Star Conference Player of the Year and scored 1,589 points in her Notre Dame career. The Marion, Indiana native is an inductee into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Notre Dame will fly east to Raleigh, North Carolina to open the ACC portion of the schedule on Thursday night at NC State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.