March 25, 2016
By Chris Masters
It Was Over When: Stanford’s Karlie Samuelson banked in a desperation three-pointer from well beyond the top of the key as the shot clock expired with 1:31 remaining, giving the Cardinal an 84-78 lead after Notre Dame had scrapped its way back within one possession and seemingly had gotten the defensive stop it needed to have a chance to tie the game. After Samuelson’s shot, the Fighting Irish were not able to get closer than four points down the stretch.
Game Ball Goes To: Junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen, who did all she could to try and will Notre Dame to victory despite missing the bulk of the first half with foul trouble. Allen finished with a team-high 20 points (her fourth 20-point outing in nine career NCAA tournament games), five rebounds and five assists, including 13 points in the second half.
Unsung Hero: Junior forward Kristina Nelson provided quality support off the bench with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in nine minutes of action. Nelson scored six of her points in a span of 1:44 early in the second quarter to help Notre Dame trim its deficit to four points on three occasions.
Unofficial Play of the Game: After missing a jumper in the lane, graduate student guard Madison Cable grabbed her own rebound and although she was hemmed in on the baseline under the basket, she somehow muscled the ball in for a key layup to bring Notre Dame within 81-78 with 2:05 remaining, highlighting an 11-3 Fighting Irish that put them in position to pull out a come-from-behind victory.
Stat Of The Game: Friday’s loss not only snapped Notre Dame’s 27-game winning streak in games decided by single digits and/or in overtime (last loss was in the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament title game, 63-54 at UConn), but it also was the first time in 25 career NCAA tournament games that the Fighting Irish lost when scoring 80 points.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame’s run of five consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances come to an end, leaving the Fighting Irish tied with Connecticut (2000-04), LSU (2004-08) and Stanford (2008-12) for the second-longest streak of consecutive Final Four trips to NCAA postseason history ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish had their 26-game winning streak snapped, ending the third-longest success string in program history ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame finished 10-2 this season against ranked opponents ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish senior class of Cable and fellow guards Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey finished its career with a 141-8 (.946) record, the best winning percentage and fewest losses by one senior class in program history (and second-most wins, trailing only last year’s class of Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright, which posted a 143-10 record) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame falls to 1-3 all-time against Stanford and sees its 10-game winning streak against current Pac-12 Conference opponents end with its first loss to that league since Nov. 15, 2010 (an 86-83 double-overtime setback to #15 UCLA at Purcell Pavilion) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ in addition to its rare NCAA postseason loss when scoring 80 points, this was only the fourth time in the past seven seasons Notre Dame has lost when reaching that mark (125-4), with both of this year’s losses coming in that fashion (also 91-81 at top-ranked UConn on Dec. 5) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame’s 11-point halftime deficit was its largest since Jan. 8, 2015, when it trailed 40-20 at Miami on the way to a 78-63 loss to the Hurricanes ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Stanford’s .559 field-goal percentage was the highest by a Fighting Irish opponent ever in NCAA tournament play (previous was .549 by Texas A&M in on April 5, 2011, in the NCAA title game in Indianapolis) and the highest in any game since Dec. 21, 2012, when Texas A&M shot .582 from the field in an 83-74 Notre Dame victory in the title game of the World Vision Classic in Las Vegas ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Friday marked only the second time all season the Fighting Irish allowed an opponent to make double-digit three-pointers (#18/17 DePaul had 12 treys on Dec. 9 in a 95-90 Notre Dame win at Purcell Pavilion) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Stanford’s 11 treys and the 5-of-6 long-range outing by Samuelson both were Fighting Irish opponent records for NCAA tournament play (DePaul had 10 triples in a second-round game on March 22, 2015 at Purcell Pavilion, while four players had made 3-of-4 three-pointers against the Fighting Irish in the NCAA postseason, most recently Temple’s Kristen McCarthy in a second-round game on March 21, 2011, in Salt Lake City) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Allen dished out her 200th assist of the season on Friday, finishing with 204 (one off her total last year and eighth on the Fighting Irish single-season chart) and becoming the third Notre Dame player with multiple 200-assist seasons (Mary Gavin did it three times in 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88, while Skylar Diggins also did it twice in 2011-12 and 2012-13) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Allen has 559 career assists, good for sixth in Notre Dame history ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Allen has seven career 20-point games and four of those have come in the NCAA Championship ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ sophomore forward Brianna Turner added three blocks to end up with 88 rejections this year, one off her total from last season and fifth on the Fighting Irish single-season list (she and Ruth Riley are the only players with multiple 80-block seasons) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Turner has 177 career blocks, already good for third in school history ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Turner logged her fifth double-double of the season on Friday and her second in a row, the first time a Notre Dame player posted consecutive double-doubles since Turner herself at Syracuse (20 points/13 rebounds) and Miami (17 points/10 rebounds) on Jan. 4-8, 2015 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Cable finishes her career with 1,060 points, tying Carrie Bates (1981-85) for 30th on the Notre Dame all-time scoring list ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Cable’s .471 three-point percentage this season is fourth-best in school history while her .456 career three-point percentage will go down as the second-best mark in the Fighting Irish record book (Alicia Ratay shot an NCAA-record .476 from distance from 1999-2003) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld had a career-high five assists on Friday, one more than her previous best set on nine occasions (the last on March 6 in the ACC Tournament title game win over #17 Syracuse).
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame’s season is complete with a 33-2 record. The Fighting Irish are expected to return three starters and eight monogram recipients from this year’s team, while welcoming back guard Ali Patberg (Columbus, Ind./Columbus North) who missed her freshman year with a knee injury. What’s more, Notre Dame will add one of the nation’s top five incoming freshman classes for 2016-17, featuring a pair of national high school players of the year in Gatorade Award recipient Erin Boley (Hodgenville, Ky./Elizabethtown) and Naismith Award honoree Jackie Young (Princeton, Ind./Princeton Community).
– 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).