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Game 14 Preview: Pittsburgh

Irish kick off the new decade at Pitt on Jan. 2.

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 | Pitt Notes

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – New year, new team? Irish fans will see what 2020 has in store for the Notre Dame women’s basketball team. The Fighting Irish (5-8, 0-1) will kick off the new decade at Pittsburgh (3-9, 0-1) on Jan. 2. Tip is slated for 7 p.m. ET, inside the Petersen Events Center, streaming live on ACCNX.

HISTORY WITH PITT

Notre Dame leads the all-time series against Pitt, 27-3. The Irish won the first 16 matchups, which begain in 1996. Pitt then took three-of-four from 2007-09. Next, the Irish have won 10 straight.

DECADE IN REVIEW

Seven Final Fours, six NCAA title game appearances and one national championship in 2018 — Notre Dame just capped 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

The Irish begin their seventh season in ACC play. Over the past six years, they have been nothing short of dominant.

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. Green Bay lost its streak of 20 to Wright State this season in the Horizon League.  Furthermore, the Irish have claimed five ACC Tournament crowns.

Before this conference season, Notre Dame had compiled a 91-5 league record since joining the ACC for the 2013-14 season.

The loss to Clemson on Dec. 29 not only marked Notre Dame’s first ACC loss at home, but also the first conference game loss at home since its BIG EAST days in 2012. The Irish had won 58 straight conference games at home in that span.

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 13.5 points per game. Peoples is averaging 14.5 while Brunelle is at 13.8. 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 13 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 – top honor belongs 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.

WELCOME BACK VAUGHN

When the Irish took the court against Clemson on Dec. 29, they welcomed back veteran post player Mikki Vaughn. The Philadelphia native sprained her right knee in the season opener at Fordham – she was closing in on a double-double eight points and nine boards before the injury. Vaughn boasts the most experience in an Irish uniform out of anyone on the team, now playing in 46 games. Vaughn and Prohaska were the only two returning players with significant minutes on last year’s team.

WHO’S HOT – PEOPLES

Over the last 4 games, Peoples is averaging a double-double with 15.5 ppg and 11.8 rpg. She’s converted 28-of-56 shots aka 50.0 percent. She is also averaging 3.0 apg in that span as well.

Peoples has posted three games with double-digit rebounds over the four-game span, including two double-doubles. The freshman garnered career highs in both rebounds (15) and points (22) vs. No. 16 DePaul on Dec. 11. 

Due to her recent shooting surge, Peoples has raised her shooting percentage to .500, which ranks 7th in the ACC.

— ND —