|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|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sunday kicks off another journey into ACC play for the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team. Up first, the Fighting Irish (2-2, 0-0) look to tackle an upstart Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-1, 1-0) squad. That contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST, inside Purcell Pavilion, streaming live on ACCNX.
1 AWAY FROM 100
Before last season, Notre Dame had been nothing short of dominant since entering the ACC for the 2013-14 season. A 91-5 record in league play and 58 straight conference wins at home, which dated back to 2012 in the Big East. The Irish had won six straight ACC regular-season titles (eight straight when counting the final two years in the Big East) and had won five ACC Tournament crowns.
Even with last year’s 8-10 mark in conference play, the Irish can still achieve an ACC record on Sunday. Sitting at 99-15 in league play, with a win, the Irish can become the fastest team to 100 ACC wins.
Both Maddy Westbeld and Anaya Peoples have started their seasons with four consecutive games in double figures.
Westbeld is chasing a record set by Brunelle last season, when she became the first Irish freshman to start her career with seven double-digit scoring performances – previous record was four. For Peoples, if she were to get five straight on Sunday, it would be a new career best for the sophomore.
WESTBELD MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Westbeld’s 17.5 ppg leads the team and ranks 10th in the ACC. In fact, her scoring average tops all ACC freshman and ranks 8th among all Division I freshmen.
She’s 1-of-5 Division I freshmen averaging at least 17 points and 6.5 rebounds and the only one from the ACC.
Furthermore, she’s 1-of-3 freshmen in the country to average at least 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Amongst all classes, she’s 1-of-11 players in the nation.
WESTBELD NAMED ACC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Maddy was named the ACC Rookie of the Week on Dec. 7 after averaging 20.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals against No. 24 Michigan and IUPUI. She scored 12 of her 22 points in the 4th quarter against IUPUI, spearheading the Irish to victory.
In the win vs the Jags, Maddy led the Irish in points, rebounds and assists – the last time an Irish player achieved that – Jackie Young vs Syracuse on March 9, 2019.
PEOPLES IN RARE GUARD COMPANY
Anaya Peoples is 1-of-7 guards at a Power-Five school with multiple double-doubles. She’s the only guard in the ACC to do so. Regardless of position, she’s 1-of-5 ACC players with 2 double-doubles.
The most double-doubles by a guard in a season was 12 from Jackie Young in the 2018-19 season. The hottest double-double start to a season belongs to Natalie Achonwa who recorded 4 in her first 5 and later 5 in her first 7 during her junior 2012-13 campaign.
Peoples has been Miss Consistent over the first 4 games: 6-12, 6-12, 6-11, 6-13. She’s 1-of-4 Irish shooting 50 percent or better from the field, as her FG% ranks 12th in the ACC.
Peoples also recorded a “stat-sheet stuffer” vs. Miami OH (11/29), tallying 5 assists and a career high 5 steals to go with her 14 point, 11-rebound, double-double.
Her 2.3 steals/game leads the team and ranks 6th in the ACC.
Averaging the third-most points on the squad at 13.8 ppg, Walker is looking to step up again for the Irish. A 2020 ACC Honorable Mention, Walker leads the team with a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks 5th in the ACC and 48th in the nation.
She’s been nearly perfect from the free-throw line, converting 20-of-22, as her 90.9 percent accuracy from the stripe ranks 9th in the ACC. Meanwhile, her 20 made free throws rank 19th in the country.
Walker led the Irish with a 24-point effort vs. Miami (OH). Just last season, she led the Irish in 20+ scoring performances with 8, which also tied for the 8th most in the ACC. Her previous career best was four set her sophomore year at UNC (2016-17).
Dara went off for a career high 34 points in the season opener – marking the most prolific Irish debut in history. She now owns family bragging rights, topping both the career highs of her two sisters. Dara went 7-of-14 from three, tying for the second most three-pointers in a single game.
Her 34 points tied for the fifth best individual scoring performance in the country over the extended Thanksgiving weekend. It still tops all ACC players as the highest point total thus far. Her and Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley are the only two ACC players with 30-point games.
Dara has also stepped up on the distribution front as of late, for she has risen or matched her assist total with every game. In fact, her 3.3 assists/game now leads the Irish.
— ND —