Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Game 7 Preview: @ Clemson

Irish look to build on momentum Sunday, Dec. 20, at Clemson.

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
Social:@NDWBB

Notre Dame Notes | Clemson Notes

CLEMSON, S.C. – After pulling off a momentous win against a then-undefeated Virginia Tech squad on Thursday, the Notre Dame women’s basketball squad looks to head into the holiday break riding high. To do that, the Fighting Irish (3-3, 1-1) will have to knock off Clemson (7-1, 2-1) in enemy territory on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Tip inside Littlejohn Coliseum is set for 3 p.m. EST, airing live on RSN (Regional Sports Networks).

HISTORY WITH THE TIGERS

The Irish lead the all-time series against the Tigers, 6-1, with a 3-0 mark at Clemson. In fact, it was just last season in which Clemson earned its first win against the Irish, escaping with a 71-55 victory in South Bend.

A cold 7-of-31 shooting start plagued the Irish in that encounter, leading to the Tigers victory. Katlyn Gilbert provided a superb stat line, registering 16 points, six boards and a career high nine assists. Anaya Peoples supplied 14 points and seven boards, while Destinee Walker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points and five boards.

It was this game that broke Notre Dame’s streak of 58 consecutive conference games won at home. The streak dated back to Notre Dame’s Big East days in 2012.

FASTEST TO 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 still unlocked an achievement on Thursday in the win over Virginia Tech – becoming the fastest program to reach 100 ACC wins. The Irish accomplished the feat in 116 games – NC State held the record prior at 132.

WESTBELD MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Maddy’s 19.0 ppg not only leads the team, but also ranks 4th in the ACC. Not to mention, her scoring average tops all ACC freshmen and ranks 4th among all freshmen in the country. Also, for comparison’s sake, Beth (Morgan) Cunningham holds the ND freshman scoring average record with 17.9 ppg in 1993-94.

Westbeld is the only freshman in the country averaging at least 19 points, 7 rebounds & 1.5 steals. In terms of all of the classes, she’s 1-of-14 players in the country doing so.

She ranks 6th in the country among freshmen in the Points+Rebounds+Assists/Game category with 28.0 – which tops all ACC freshmen.

Lastly, her 50.6 percent shooting ranks 13th in the ACC, her 1.8 steals/game ranks 9th and her 80.8 percent shooting from the free-throw line ranks 12th.

FRESHMAN RECORD COULD BE TIED SUNDAY

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.
Westbeld enters Sunday’s contest at Clemson riding a six-game double-digit scoring streak.

Westbeld has also fired off 3 straight games with 20+ points, two shy from tying the ND freshman record set by Beth (Morgan) Cunningham. Ultimately, her three 20+ scoring games ranks 2nd in the ACC behind Louisville’s Dana Evans (4).

TURN THE THREE AROUND

A season ago, the Irish ranked dead last in the ACC in both field goal percentage and three-point shooting percentage (.271). Now, primarily thanks to the three-point shooting by the trio of Mabrey, Westbeld and Brunelle, the Irish have recorded quite the renaissance from beyond the arc. Now, the Irish are converting 38.3 percent from three, which ranks 2nd in the ACC.  

COMPLETE WIN AGAINST VIRGINIA TECH

Trailing by as much as 11 in the second quarter, the Irish fired off a 19-3 scoring run, forcing eight Virginia Tech turnovers in that span, to take a 43-38 halftime lead. The Irish then rallied once more in the fourth, this time down 70-64 with 8:14 remaining. Brunelle had two big three-pointers, but it was Peoples who brought it home. The sophomore scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, including the go-ahead basket with 1:19 on the clock, then the insurance driving layup with 31 seconds left.

SUBBING SOLUTIONS

Brunelle was the Super-Sub against Virginia Tech, knocking down 5-of-9 from three-point range to total 17 points on the game. However, she wasn’t the only spark off the bench that day.

Abby Prohaska provided the best plus/minus of any Irish player that day at +11. A defensive spark, Prohaska helped seal the win with a steal with 20 seconds left. She finished with four points, two steals and three rebounds.

Next, Alasia Hayes helped turn the tide in the second quarter, where she tallied six points to help ignite a 19-3 scoring run. Hayes boasted the 3rd best plus/minus on the game at +7.

“She’s growing every game. I thought she managed the game very well. Her speed was a difference-maker with on-ball pressure. It’s always hard for a freshman to run point guard but she’s starting to understand everything.” – Coach Ivey on Hayes after VT win.

— ND —