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Game 27 Preview: Virginia Tech

Irish begin three-game homestand on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. ET.

Game 13:Notre Dame (7-5, 5-3) at Virginia Tech (7-5, 2-5)
Where:Blacksburg, Va. | Cassell Coliseum
Watch:RSN | For South Bend area, check Marquee Network
Listen:99.9 WQLQ-FM
Live Scoring:Sidearm

Notre Dame Notes | Virginia Tech Notes

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (10-16, 5-9) will end its slate inside Purcell Pavilion with a three-game homestand starting Thursday, Feb. 20, when Virginia Tech (19-6, 9-5) rolls to town. The Irish will battle the Hokies at a later tip time, 8 p.m. ET, airing live on RSN affiliates. For a full clearance sheet, click here.


Notre Dame and Virginia Tech will battle on the hardwood for the 13th time, with the Fighting Irish leading 11-1 in the series. The series began back on Jan. 3, 2001. Furthermore, the Irish have never lost at home to the Hokies, boasting a 6-0 advantage. The Irish also possess a seven-game win streak.


Last season, we received the first edition of the Mabrey Bowl via an on-court battle between Notre Dame senior Marina and Virginia Tech freshman Dara. Marina’s Irish came out on top, 80-51 in Blacksburg, with Marina outscoring Dara, 15-5.

However, Mabrey Bowl 2.0 puts a different spin on the sister rivalry. This time out, it will be Dara on the court vs. Assistant Coach Michaela on the sideline.


Katlyn Gilbert leads all ACC freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.5 ppg, while Sam Brunelle sits right behind at 13.0 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 Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley at 11.6.

When looking at double-digit scoring games, Gilbert leads the way there as well with 22. Clemson’s Amari Robinson follows next with 16, while Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley sits with 14.

Nationally, among freshmen at power-five schools, Brunelle’s scoring average ranks 8th while Gilbert ranks 7th. In addition, Brunelle leads all ACC freshmen in the Points + Assists + Rebounds/Game category at 20.5.

Next, there only two freshmen pairs in all of Division-I to both average 13.0 ppg or higher –> ND’s Brunelle and Gilbert & 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.


For the first time of her career, Walker achieved three straight games with 20+ points from Feb. 6-13. Walker totaled 69 points in said span, averaging 23.0 ppg on 48.9 percent shooting. She was also 8-of-17 from three (.471) and 15-of-17 (.882) from the line.

Walker is still on the best stretch of her season,  posting five straight with double-digit points.  

She leads the Irish in 20+ scoring performances with 8, which also sets a new career best – previous was four set her sophomore year at UNC (2016-17). Her 8 games are tied for 4th in the ACC.


As alluded above, what a month it’s been for Walker. In fact, only Virginia’s Jocelyn Willoughby (22.3 ppg) and Duke’s Haley Gorecki (19.4 ppg) are having a better February than Walker (19.2 ppg) amongst ACC players.


Mikki Vaughn has recorded four separate occasions in which she has reached double-digit points by halftime. What’s interesting to note is the fact that all four instances have been on the road.

– 13 at Pitt on Jan. 2
– 10 at Syracuse on Jan. 5
– 14 at Duke on Jan. 23
– 10 at Georgia Tech on Feb. 2

When diving deeper, six of Vaughn’s seven double-digit scoring performances have been on the road in league play. She continued that trend with a 16-point outing at No. 9 Louisville on Feb. 16.


The Irish lead ACC schools in league play in three-point field goal percentage defense, limiting opposition to .262 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.


Notre Dame’s Pink Zone initiative has made a tremendous impact on our local community over the last ten years by providing funds for education, screenings, support and research for breast cancer.

Once again this year, fans bid on player warmup shirts and the coaches polos, with the winners placing their loved one’s name on the back. Both the shooting shirts and polos will be worn for Sunday’s game.

At halftime, we will welcome all cancer survivors to join us on the court for a special recognition. This year we will have a speed painter presentation.

— ND —