|Game 17:||Notre Dame (8-8, 6-6) at Pitt (5-10, 3-9)|
|Where:||Petersen Center | Pitt, PA|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team is all about one phrase this weekend – revenge game. Boston College became the first ACC team to win three straight against the Irish in a series since joining the league. The last two have come down to the final seconds and that certainly sits on the mind of Karen & Kevin Keyes coach Niele Ivey.
The opportunity to right the wrong takes place this Sunday, on Jan. 17, at Noon EST. Fans can catch the action live on the ACC Network.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
So far this season, the Fighting Irish have shown resilience in bouncing back after a loss, avoiding back-to-back L’s. They are averaging 77.4 ppg in those instances, which is up from their 71.8 season average.
Mikki Vaughn is heating up at the right time for the Irish. The senior has recorded three straight games in double figures, which marks a career high. Furthermore, Vaughn has shot a combined 17-of-22 from the field to total 37 points in that span.
All-in-all, Vaughn has raised her shooting percentage from .389 to .600 over said three-game span. She’s also raised her scoring average from 4.3 to 7.7.
Vaughn continues to grow every game so far — her most efficient game was a season high 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting vs Wake Forest on Jan. 14. She also notched a career high 4 blocks for the second time this season.
Destinee Walker has been pretty stellar off the bench over the last five games, scoring in double figures in three of them, and even leading the Irish in scoring in two. During the five-game span, Walker has averaged 12.8 ppg on a combined 22-of-53 (.415) shooting.
Walker called game against Georgia Tech (1/3), hitting the game-winner from the baseline with 20 seconds left to lift the Irish to a 69-67 victory. Walker scored seven of her 15 points in the fourth quarter. In addition, she nearly achieved a double-double at Miami (12/31), earning 17 points & eight boards.
Then there’s Sam Brunelle who is averaging 8.1 ppg, while still finding her footing this season. She played a huge factor in the wins over Virginia Tech and Miami, scoring 17 and 13 points, respectively.
ACC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEE
First and foremost, Westbeld is the only player in the ACC to win two weekly league honors thus far. Westbeld was named ACC Rookie of the Week on Dec. 7, then again on Jan. 3.
Now on to the stats, Maddy’s 16.3 ppg not only leads the team, but also ranks 6th overall in the ACC.
Not to mention, her scoring average tops all ACC freshmen and ranks 8th among all freshmen in the country.
However, Maddy does has some work ahead of her if she wants to topple the ND freshman scoring record held by Beth (Morgan) Cunningham – 17.9 ppg in 1993-94.
To truly show what kind of season Westbeld is having, she’s 1-of-2 freshmen in the country averaging at least 16 points, 7 rebounds & 1.5 steals.
In addition, she ranks 6th in the country among freshmen in the Points+Rebounds+Assists/Game category with 26.2 – which also tops all ACC freshmen.
After her career high 25-point performance in the win over Wake Forest on Jan. 14, Maddy now owns 4 games of 20+ points, which ranks second in the ACC.
Furthermore, the freshman currently ranks in the top-15 in the ACC in five different statistical categories: 6th in scoring (16.3), 11th in rebounding (7.2), 13th in FG% (.468), 7th in Steals (1.7) and 10th in D-Reb (4.9).
TURN THE THREE AROUND
A season ago, the Irish ranked dead last in the ACC in three-point shooting percentage (.271). Fast forward to now and the Irish have recorded quite the renaissance from beyond the arc primarily thanks to the trio of Mabrey, Brunelle and Westbeld. In fact, the Irish are converting 38.0 percent from three, which ranks 2nd in the ACC and 22nd in the country. All three are shooting over 40 percent from deep.
Mabrey is knocking down 44.7 percent from three. In addition, she has been pretty lights out from deep since the start of ACC play, converting 12-of-22 from three, aka 54.5 percent. .
Brunelle is shooting 44.1 from deep. For comparison’s sake, she shot 31.5 percent as a freshman. Like Mabrey, Brunelle’s deep shooting is even better in ACC play, where she’s at 46.2 percent.
Then there’s Westbeld, who keeps you honest from three. She’s knocked down 41.9 percent with a 45.0 percent clip in conference play.
— ND —