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Game 13 Preview: Clemson

Irish host Tigers in ACC opener, Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, inside Purcell Pavilion

ACC Tournament:#10 seed Notre Dame
Where:Greensboro, N.C.
Tournament Central:Click Here
First Round:vs. #15 Pitt | 3:30 p.m. | Wednesday, March 4
Watch:RSN Clearance Sheet | Fox Sports Go | Watch ESPN
Second Round:vs. #7 Georgia Tech | 6 p.m. | Thursday, March 5
Watch:RSN Clearance Sheet | Fox Sports Go | Watch ESPN
Quarterfinals:vs. #2 NC State | 6 p.m. | Friday, March 6
Watch:RSN Clearance Sheet | Fox Sports Go | Watch ESPN
Semifinals:TBD | 2:30 p.m. | Saturday, March 7
Watch:ESPNU
Finals:TBD | Noon | Sunday, March 8
Watch:ESPN2
Live Scoring:StatBroadcast
Listen:PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 / 103.1
Social:@NDWBB | Always Fighting, Always Irish

Notre Dame Notes | Clemson Notes | How to Watch

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The ‘second season’ is upon the Notre Dame women’s basketball team (5-7, 0-0). The Fighting Irish will embark into their seventh season in Atlantic Coast Conference play, hosting the Clemson Tigers (4-8, 0-1) on Sunday, Dec. 29. Tip is slated for 4 p.m. ET inside Purcell Pavilion. The game will broadcast across Raycom Sports Networks and online via ACCNX. Bob Nagle and Karen Keyes will once again be on the road broadcast via Pulse FM.

HISTORY WITH CLEMSON

The series history with Clemson is still a young one, as the two first met when Notre Dame joined the ACC for the 2013-14 season. Since, the Irish have never lost against the Tigers, going 6-0. In addition, Notre Dame has won by an average of 28.7 points.

DECADE IN REVIEW

Seven Final Fours, six NCAA title game appearances and one national championship in 2018 — Notre Dame is about to cap not only its best decade in program history, but also one of the best in all of Division I.

Over the past 10 years, Notre Dame has captured 316 wins, which ranks third behind UConn and Baylor. Furthermore, they have posted the third highest scoring average over the past decade as well.

UConn — 337 wins — 83.7 ppg
Baylor — 321 wins — 82.0 ppg
Notre Dame — 316 wins — 81.4 ppg
Stanford — 284 wins
Maryland — 270 wins

A HISTORIC START IN THE ACC

On Dec. 29 versus Clemson, the Irish will begin their seventh season in the ACC. Over the past six years, they have been nothing short of dominant.

Notre Dame has compiled a 91-5 record in league play since joining the ACC for the 2013-14 season. Furthermore, the Irish have won 58 straight conference wins at home, which dates back to their BIG EAST days in 2012.

The Irish have won six straight ACC regular season championships and eight straight when going back to the final two years in the BIG EAST. The six consecutive regular season titles tie the all-time mark set by Virginia from 1991-96. In addition, the eight in a row marks the second highest active streak in the country, only behind nine from Baylor.

Lastly, the Irish have claimed five ACC Tournament crowns.

IMPROVING THE TOURNEY RESUME

Notre Dame may be 5-7, but the Irish have faced the seventh hardest ranked schedule in the country. With ACC play upon them, the Irish have plenty of opportunity to build an NCAA Tournament resume and build upon their No. 73 ranked RPI.

The Irish have faced six teams already in the top-25/receiving votes, defeating No. 21 Michigan and No. 21 South Florida.

Right now, there are three ACC teams in the top-10 in No. 7 Louisville, No. 8 Florida State and No. 9 NC State.

FRESHMEN DUO SENSATION

Notre Dame women’s basketball has never seen the offensive output from two freshmen like this before – both Anaya Peoples and Sam Brunelle are averaging over 14 points per game with 14.5 ppg each. There have only been only two other freshmen pairs in program history to finish the season with double-digit scoring averages:

— Arike Ogunbowale (11.4) and Marina Mabrey (10.7) in the 2015-16 season.
— Mary Beth Schueth (13.0) and Carrie Bates (12.4) were the first in the 1981-82 season.

Currently, Notre Dame and UTSA are the only two Division I programs with two true freshmen averaging over 14 points. UTSA is represented by Mikayla Woods and Adryana Quezada – each averaging 14.1 ppg. 

31 POINTS FOR A FRESHMAN

On Dec. 11 versus No. 16 DePaul, Sam Brunelle exploded with a career high 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting. Brunelle is now 1-of-5 players in the ACC to record a 30+ point performance and is tied for the individual high in the league with 31.

Her 31 points are tied for the seventh most in the country by a true freshman this year, with the top honor belonging to St. John’s Leilani Correa, who scored 33 against Army.

When looking just at Notre Dame’s freshmen history, Brunelle has tied both Skylar Diggins and Katryna Gaither for a freshman individual game scoring high.

Skylar Diggins poured in 31 points (13-21 FG) in an NCAA second round win over Vermont. It marked the most points ever by a Notre Dame rookie in an NCAA tourney game.

In addition, Katryna Gaither had 31 points against Indiana on Nov. 24, 1995.

Jewell Loyd gives great reference in terms of Brunelle’s performance against a ranked squad — Loyd recorded 24 points against No. 3 Baylor, which marked the most points by a Notre Dame rookie against a ranked team since Jan. 26, 2002, when Jacqueline Batteast tallied 26 vs. No. 16 Virginia Tech. Prior to that, Alicia Ratay recorded 26 at No. 8 Rutgers on Feb. 19, 2000.

GUELPH TUNE-UP

The Irish soared past the Guelph Gryphons on Dec. 21 to a 92-61 exhibition victory. Katlyn Gilbert, Anaya Peoples and Destinee Walker all finished with 20+ points, while Katie Cole recorded a career high 10 points.

“We are making baby steps in signs of improvement. I’ve seen it individually but as a team, we still have a ways to go,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “We have a great opportunity entering conference play 0-0. We have to come out and bring our best game. Our backs are against the wall. We have one of the toughest schedules in the country and we’ve been in every game minus one.”

REINFORCEMENT ON THE WAY

When the Irish take the court against Clemson on Dec. 29, they could very well receive a major reinforcement from junior center Mikayla Vaughn. The Philadelphia native sprained her right knee in the season opener at Fordham, when she was closing in on a double-double with eight points and nine boards. Vaughn boasts the most experience in an Irish uniform out of anyone on the team.

SNIEZEK RISING

Over the first five games, Sniezek did not shoot much, going just 1-of-11 from the field, averaging 2.0 ppg. However, Sniezek’s role has increased as of late. Over the last three games, the grad transfer has averaged 8.7 points and 8.7 assists. With 10 points vs. Minnesota and a career high 14 points at No. 4 UConn, Sniezek earned back-to-back games with double-digit points for the third time in her career.

As the team’s floor general, Sniezek is averaging 5.8 assists/game which ranks 17th in the nation and 2nd in the ACC. Meanwhile, her 1.3 A/TO ratio ranks 13th in the league.

Sniezek dished out a season best 12 assists against No. 16 DePaul on Dec. 11, one shy of her career high at Stanford. Sniezek is 1-of-7 ACC players to produce a 10+ assist game and tied for the league high with 12.

WHO’S HOT – PEOPLES

Over the last 3 games, Peoples is averaging a double-double with 16.0 ppg and 13.3 rpg. She’s converted 23-of-44 shots aka 52.3 percent. She is also averaging 4.0 apg in that span as well.

Thus, Peoples has posted three consecutive games with double-digit rebounds + back-to-back games with double-doubles.  The freshman garnered career highs in both rebounds (15) and points (22) vs. No. 16 DePaul on Dec. 11. 

Lastly, due to her recent shooting surge, Peoples has raised her shooting percentage to .507, which ranks 8th in the ACC.

PEOPLES’ RANK AMONG TRUE FRESHMEN

Peoples and Texas Tech’s Alexis Tucker are the only true freshmen in the country to average over 14 ppg and 8 rpg. Peoples’ 14.5 ppg ranks 20th in the nation among true freshmen, while her 8.3 rpg ranks 15th. Peoples is knocking down 53.8 percent from two, which ranks 11th among true freshmen.

IRONWOMEN

All five Notre Dame starters all rank within the top-15 in the ACC in minutes played:
2nd – Marta Sniezek – 36.5
4th – Destinee Walker – 35.3
9th – Katlyn Gilbert – 33.9
12th – Sam Brunelle – 33.1
15th – Anaya Peoples – 32.5

Furthermore, Sniezek has been a true ironwoman, recording back-to-back games (vs. Minnesota and UConn) in which she played all 40 minutes.