Feb. 25, 2016
By Chris Masters
Inside The Game: #2/3 Notre Dame 71, Clemson 52
Feb. 25, 2016 – Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
It Was Over When: Graduate student guard Madison Cable converted a layup with 6:15 left in the third quarter, giving Notre Dame a 47-25 lead and capping a 9-0 run that stretched back to the closing stages of the first half. The Fighting Irish maintained a 25-point lead for much of the second half until the last 94 seconds of the game, when Clemson finished on a 7-0 run to trim down the final margin.
Game Ball Goes To: Freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale, who provided instant offense off the bench for Notre Dame once again, winding up with a team-high 16 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes.
Unsung Hero: Senior guard Hannah Huffman got the call in the starting lineup in place of injured sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld and delivered with a career-high five assists (against just one turnover), along with five points and four rebounds.
Unofficial Play of the Game: Huffman helped jump-start a sluggish Notre Dame offense midway through the first quarter, driving down the lane and finishing with a left-handed layup as she was fouled by Clemson’s Aliyah Collier. Huffman converted the free throw for her second career three-point play and the Fighting Irish grabbed a 12-6 lead with 6:15 left in the opening period.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame held Clemson to five points in the third quarter, one shy of its best defensive performance in a single period this year. Back on Jan. 24, the Fighting Irish limited Virginia Tech to four points in the second quarter of their 80-41 win over the Hokies at Purcell Pavilion.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame clinches a share of its third ACC regular-season title in as many years of conference membership, as well as its school-record fifth consecutive league regular-season crown (factoring in its final two seasons in the BIG EAST) and the 13th regular-season conference championship in program history (11th in the 29-year tenure of Hall of Fame head coach Muffet McGraw) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are just the third program in ACC history to win three consecutive regular-season titles – Duke won four in a row on two occasions (outright from 2001-04; shared in 2010-11 and outright in 2012-13), and Virginia won six consecutive outright ACC regular-season crowns from 1991-96 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ with Thursday’s win, Notre Dame also secures the No. 1 seed for next week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame extended its current winning streak to 20 games, marking the fifth consecutive season the Fighting Irish have put together a 20-game success string ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame earns its school-record 33rd consecutive conference home win, as well as its 27th consecutive home victory overall, the latter currently standing as the third-longest run in program history (and third-longest active streak in the country) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame is 53-1 against ACC opponents since joining the conference in 2013-14, going 46-1 in the regular season and 7-0 in the postseason ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are off to a 27-1 start for the third time in four seasons and fourth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2012-13 and 2013-14) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame improves to 128-28 (.821) in the month of February since 1995-96 (71-6 at home) and have won their last 33 February games ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ for the ninth time in 15 ACC games this year, the Fighting Irish held their opponent to 55 points or less ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame attempted a season-low 48 shots (previous was 53 at Boston College on Jan. 14) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are 3-0 all-time against Clemson (2-0 at Purcell Pavilion), with Thursday’s score eerily similar the Tigers’ prior visit to South Bend on Jan. 5, 2014 (a 71-51 Notre Dame win) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are 5-2 all-time against schools from the state of South Carolina, having also gone 2-2 all-time against South Carolina ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ sophomore forward Brianna Turner recorded her 70th blocked shot of the year, becoming the second player in program history with multiple 70-block seasons (she had 89 last year; Ruth Riley had at least 71 blocks in each of her four seasons from 1997-98 to 2000-01, finishing with a school-record 113 rejections) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Cable played in her 138th career game, tying for fifth on the Fighting Irish all-time games played list with former teammate Markisha Wright (’15) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ junior forward Kristina Nelson and junior center Diamond Thompson each recorded a career-high two blocks (Nelson tying her personal best).
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame closes out the regular season at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday, playing host to Boston College on Senior Day at Purcell Pavilion. Fans are asked to be in their seats by 12:30 p.m. in order to watch the pregame ceremony honoring this year’s Fighting Irish women’s basketball senior class. The game, and the pregame Senior Day ceremony, will be televised live and free of charge around the world through the official Notre Dame athletics online multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv) and the WatchND app, while radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1).
– 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).