|Game 12:||Notre Dame (6-5, 4-3) vs Boston College (5-6, 1-6)|
|Where:||Notre Dame, IN | Purcell Pavilion|
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team (3-4, 1-2) will look to get back to .500 and say goodbye to 2020 when the Fighting Irish travel to Coral Gables to take on the Miami Hurricanes (4-2, 1-2) on New Year’s Eve. Tip is set for 1 p.m. EST, airing live on the ACC Network.
HISTORY WITH THE HURRICANES
The Irish lead the all-time series against the Hurricanes, 21-5, with an 8-3 mark at Miami. However, the last time the Irish visited Coral Gables, the Hurricanes upset the Irish, 72-65, on Feb. 7, 2019.
Now, the Irish have won six of the last seven. The last encounter, which occurred Jan. 19, 2020, at Notre Dame, resulted in a 76-53 Irish victory.
Sam Brunelle scored 20 of her 25 points in the second half, while Destinee Walker finished with 21 points. The duo went a combined 7-of-10 from three-point range. Mikki Vaughn added 16 points and eight boards, while Katlyn Gilbert poured in 10 of her 12 points in the second half to go with her seven assists.
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 in the win over Virginia Tech on Dec. 17 – 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 17.1 ppg not only leads the team, but also ranks fifth in the ACC. Not to mention, her scoring average tops all ACC freshmen and ranks 10th among all freshmen in the country.
Westbeld is 1-of-3 freshmen in the country averaging at least 17 points, 7 rebounds & 1.5 steals. In terms all of classes, she’s 1-of-23 players in the country doing so.
She fired off three straight games with 20+ points from Dec. 6-17. Her three games of 20 or more ranks second in the ACC behind Louisville’s Dana Evans (4).
How dominant has Westbeld been? Well, the freshman ranks in the top-15 in the ACC in seven different statistical categories: 5th in scoring (17.1), 13th in rebounding (7.6), 13th in FG% (.467), 10th in steals (1.7), 12th in blocks (1.0), 15th in offensive rebounds (2.7) and 12th in defensive rebounds (4.9).
TURN THE THREE AROUND
A season ago, the Irish ranked dead last in the ACC in three-point shooting percentage (.271). Fast forward to now and the Irish have recorded quite the renaissance from beyond the arc primarily thanks to the three-point shooting by the trio of Mabrey, Westbeld and Brunelle. In fact, the Irish are converting 36.7 percent from three, which ranks 3rd in the ACC and 51st in the country.
All three are shooting over 40 percent from deep, with Mabrey leading the group at 43.8 percent – which ranks 8th 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.
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, tw0 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.
THE PEOPLES CHAMP
Peoples has recorded double-figure points in all but two games this season, as her 11.4 ppg ranks third on the team. In fact, she tied her career-high streak of four straight games in double figures to start the season.
All-in-all, Peoples & Westbeld are 1-of-6 players in the ACC averaging at least 11 points, 6 rebounds & 1.5 steals.
Peoples is just 1-of-2 guards in the ACC with multiple double-doubles. Looking at the bigger pictures, she’s 1-of-15 guards at a Power-Five school.
GETTING HER REBOUND SWAG BACK
After an early December lull in rebounding, Peoples has bounced back with games of eight & seven rebounds, respectively. Her 6.3 rebounds/game ranks 2nd on the team behind Westbeld. She boasts two double-digit rebounding performances on the year. In addition, her 5.0 defensive rebounds/game ranks 9th in the ACC.
Last year, Peoples led the Irish in rebounding with 8.1/game – which placed her third all-time on the freshmen list, ranking behind Shari Matvey (10.2) and Mary Beth Schueth (9.1).
— ND —