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Game 25 Preview: Boston College

Irish look to enact some revenge at Boston College on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. ET on ACCNX

Game 26:Notre Dame at #9 Louisville
When:Sunday, Feb. 16 | 3:00 p.m. ET
Where:Louisville, Ky. (KFC Yum! Center)
Watch:ACC Network | Pam Ward & Kelly Gramlich
Listen:PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 / 103.1
Live Scoring:Sidearm
Social:@NDWBB | Always Fighting, Always Irish
Tickets:Buy Online

Notre Dame Notes | Boston College Notes

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The University of Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (10-14, 5-7) will look to keep its momentum rolling this week when the Irish travel to Boston College (13-10, 6-6) on Thursday, Feb. 13. Tip inside the Conte Forum is set for 7 p.m. ET, streaming live on ACCNX. If successful, the Fighting Irish will make it four wins a row and avenge a loss to the Eagles earlier in the season.

HISTORY WITH BOSTON COLLEGE

Notre Dame boasted a 14-game win streak against Boston College until the Eagles stormed out of South Bend with a 75-65 victory back on Jan. 9. It was a difference of one quarter, as it was a one-possession game at the half until BC outscored the Irish 26-14 in the third. Destinee Walker led all players with 21 points.

A big difference maker came on the boards, where Boston College out-rebounded Notre Dame, 45-34, which included 20 offensive rebounds that were turned into 24 second chance points.

The Irish lead the all-time series, 24-6, with a 10-4 mark at the Conte Forum.

ACC FRESHMEN OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES

Notre Dame can certainly make its point in having an ACC Rookie of the Year candidate. Gilbert leads all ACC freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.9 ppg, while Brunelle sits right behind at 13.6 ppg. In fact, the Irish would have boasted the top three scoring spots for freshmen when you add in Peoples’ 12.6 ppg. The next highest is Clemson’s Amari Robinson at 11.4 ppg.

Nationally, among freshmen at power-five schools, Brunelle’s scoring average ranks 8th while Gilbert ranks 5th. Furthermore, Brunelle leads all ACC freshmen in the Points + Assists + Rebounds/Game category at 21.2.

Next, there are only two freshmen pairs in all of Division-I women’s hoops to both average 13.5 ppg or higher – Brunelle/Gilbert and Fresno State’s Haley & Hanna Cavinder.

All-in-all, Brianna Turner, who remains the program’s lone ACC Rookie of the Year, averaged 13.8 ppg when she won it back in 2015.

DESTINEE – 20 POINT GAMES

What a week it was for Destinee Walker. The Orlando native logged back-to-back games with 24 points, shooting a combined 16-for-26 (.615) from the field. It marked the third time in her career and second time this season Walker achieved back-to-back games with 20+ points. She has never acquired three in a row.

Walker tallied 24 points in just 26 minutes of play vs. Pitt, nearly missing the entire third quarter due to foul trouble. She converted 4-of-7 from three-point range and dished out a season best four assists. After sitting with two points at the half at Wake Forest, Walker willed the Irish to victory by scoring 12 points in the third and 10 points in the fourth.

WINS WITH WALKER

Coach McGraw has stressed the need for consistency from all five starters in order to succeed. When looking at stats in wins versus stats in losses, one can see we go when Walker goes.

Walker averages seven more points per game in wins compared to losses – 18.5 versus 11.4. In wins, Walker is shooting 47.3 percent from the field, including 36.2 percent from three. In fact, Walker has tallied double-digit points in all 10 wins.

GILBERT ACC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

For the first time in her career, Gilbert picked up an ACC accolade, earning Rookie of the Week honors on Feb. 10. Gilbert averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in wins over Wake Forest and Pitt – all up from her season averages. 

Gilbert was an efficient 45.5 percent from the floor at Wake Forest, totaling 12 points for the game. The 5-10 guard also delivered a key jumper in the paint which broke the 69-69 tie to propel the Irish forward for the 75-71 win. Next, Gilbert poured in 17 points in the 74-52 win over Pitt, marking her team-best 21st game in double figures. In fact, Gilbert posted a strong first half – already in double digits with 11 points.

A LOOK AT THE WINNING STREAK

For the first time this season, the Irish have won three in a row. Destinee Walker has led the Irish in scoring during the streak, averaging 21.0 ppg on an impressive 54.1 percent shooting. She’s also converting 35.7 percent from three and has knocked down 18-of-21 from the line.

BAER’S DEN

A new face has appeared at the end of the Notre Dame bench, sporting a No. 1 jersey. She is none other than Irish volleyball product Kristin Baer. The graduate student still boasted a year of eligibility after her final volleyball season and joined the women’s basketball squad before the Georgia Tech game. Baer played middle blocker and led the Irish with a career high 119 blocks last fall.

Baer got into the Pitt game on Feb. 9 with 1:35 remaining and scored her first career basket.

HEATING UP FROM THREE

Sam Brunelle struggled early on, going 13-of-68 (.191) from beyond the arc over the first 14 games. However, she’s flipped the script as of late.

Brunelle has converted multiple treys nine times over the last 10 games. In fact, since Jan. 5, she has converted 24-of-69 (.348) from three. Also since Jan. 5, Brunelle is averaging 2.4 made three’s/game, which ranks 6th in the ACC in that timespan.

LIFE WITHOUT PEOPLES

Brunelle has certainly stepped up since the news that fellow freshman Anaya Peoples was lost for the season following the NC State game. Since, Brunelle is leading the Irish in scoring at 15.1 ppg in that span, earning double-digit points in 6-of-7 games. She is shooting 38.5 percent from the floor and 34.0 percent from three.

MIGHTY MIK IN ACC PLAY

Since returning, Vaughn has recorded six double-digit scoring games, recording at least 16 points in five of those games – including two double-doubles.

For example, when Vaughn tallied 18 points at Duke (1/16), recording her second double-double with a career-high tying 11 boards. Also when Vaughn poured in a career high 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting at Georgia Tech (2/2).

Lastly, Vaughn dished out a career best five assists vs No. 5 Louisville, marking her first 5+5+5 Stat Stuffer game, earning eight points and five boards as well.

— ND —