Dec. 5, 2015
By Chris Masters Inside The Game: #1 Connecticut 91, #3 Notre Dame 81
14th annual Jimmy V Women’s Classic
Dec. 5, 2015 – Storrs, Connecticut (Gampel Pavilion) It Was Over When: Connecticut’s Katie Lou Samuelson connected on a three-pointer from the deep left corner with 4:29 remaining, giving the Huskies an 83-69 lead. Notre Dame had gone on a 13-2 run midway through the fourth quarter and sliced UConn’s lead in half, forcing the hosts to call timeout, but Samuelson’s trey shortly after the stoppage blunted the Fighting Irish comeback and allowed the Huskies to hold on down the stretch for the win. Game Ball Goes To: Freshman guard Marina Mabrey came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting (including 3-of-3 from three-point range), helping to fuel Notre Dame’s surge that gave the Fighting Irish the lead on three occasions, the last at 43-42 on Mabrey’s offensive rebound and layup with 36 seconds left in the second period. Mabrey’s previous career high had been 19 points against Denver on Nov. 27 at the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas, but she topped that total in the first half alone with 21 of her 23 points on Saturday. Unsung Hero: When Connecticut made a defensive adjustment on Mabrey to begin the second half, junior guard Lindsay Allen was there to answer the call, scoring all 11 of her points in the final 20 minutes. Allen added a team-high six assists and four rebounds while committing just two turnovers in playing the full 40 minutes. Unofficial Play of the Game: After Mabrey scored Notre Dame’s first 12 points of the second quarter in a 14-4 run to open the frame, junior forward Kristina Nelson capped the surge and gave the Fighting Irish their first lead of the game at 32-31 on a jump hook in the lane over UConn’s Breanna Stewart with 5:14 to go in the period. Despite three fouls in the first half, Nelson contributed four points, four rebounds (three offensive) and a blocked shot in 13 minutes of action. Stat Of The Game, Part I: Notre Dame’s 81 points were the most scored by any opponent at Gampel Pavilion since March 15, 1999, when Connecticut outlasted Xavier, 86-84 in the second round of the NCAA Championship. Stat Of The Game, Part II: Notre Dame saw its 79-game winning streak when scoring at least 80 points snapped on Saturday. In the past seven seasons (2009-10 to present), the Fighting Irish are now 112-3 (.974) when they reach the 80-point mark, with Saturday being their first loss in such a game since Nov. 20, 2011, when they dropped a 94-81 decision at another top-ranked opponent, Baylor, in the championship game of the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Additional Notes: Notre Dame’s 13 three-point field goals tied a school record set twice before (most recently on Jan. 2, 2002, at Miami-Fla.) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish also matched a Connecticut opponent record for three-point field goals made, a mark set six times before (most recently in the Huskies’ prior game at DePaul on Dec. 2), and twice before by visiting teams at Gampel Pavilion (most recently by Creighton on Nov. 23, 2014) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame’s .650 three-point percentage was the sixth-best ever recorded by a Connecticut opponent and best since March 26, 2007, when LSU made 7-of-10 three-pointers (.700) in the NCAA Fresno Regional final (Elite Eight) in Fresno, California ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame narrowly missed a rarity against UConn, shooting .492 from the field – counting Saturday’s contest, the Huskies have only allowed one team to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor in their last 413 games (Notre Dame shot .519 in its 2011 NCAA Final Four semifinal win over UConn in Indianapolis) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ in the 16 series games between Notre Dame and Connecticut since the start of the 2010-11 season, 11 of those contests have been decided by 10 points or less, including the past two meetings ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Huskies have won the last five games in the series and take a 34-11 all-time lead against the Fighting Irish in what is the most frequently-played series (45 games) in Notre Dame’s 39-year women’s basketball history ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are now 115-7 (.943) in the past four seasons, with four of those losses coming when Notre Dame was missing one or more of its starting post players – 2014 NCAA title game vs. UConn (Natalie Achonwa out with torn ACL); 2014-15 regular season vs. UConn (Brianna Turner out with shoulder injury); 2014-15 regular season at Miami (Taya Reimer out for personal reasons); 2015-16 regular season at UConn (Turner out with shoulder and Reimer out with Achilles) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ in addition, of those seven losses in the past four seasons, six have come against teams ranked in the top three in the polls, including the past five against UConn (the other was a 2012-13 regular season loss to third-ranked Baylor) – the other loss was a 78-63 decision at Miami on Jan. 8, 2015 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame has won 47 of its last 49 regular season road games (and 54 of 61), with its only other road loss in the regular season since December 2011 was last year’s loss in Miami ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame’s 81 points tied for its 10th-highest total ever produced in a losing effort, and most since the 94-81 loss at top-ranked Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011 – that defeat also was the last time an opponent scored 91 points against Notre Dame in regulation (more recently, Notre Dame earned a 94-93 overtime win at No. 25 DePaul on Dec. 10, 2014) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ freshman guard Marina Mabrey’s career-high 23 points (including a career-best three three-pointers) made her the first Fighting Irish player to come off the bench and score 20 or more points in a game since Dec. 7, 2013, when Madison Cable dropped in a (then) career-high 21 points against UCLA at Purcell Pavilion ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld tied her career high with four assists, the fifth time she has reached that total (second this season after also doing so at Valparaiso on Nov. 23) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale scored in double figures for the second consecutive game and third time in her last five outings – she also made a career-high three three-pointers on four attempts after having gone 1-of-5 from beyond the arc in her first seven games this season. Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame returns home at 7 p.m. (ET) Wednesday as the Fighting Irish play host to No. 23/18 DePaul at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, while radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and free of charge around the world through the official Notre Dame athletics online multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
– ND –
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).