March 19, 2016
By Chris Masters
It Was Over When: Freshman guard Marina Mabrey converted her second consecutive fastbreak layup off a Notre Dame steal to give the Fighting Irish a 19-5 lead with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter. Mabrey scored six points in 25 seconds to highlight a 12-0 Notre Dame run and the hosts were off and running, building their lead over North Carolina A&T as high as 42 points in the second half.
Game Ball Goes To: Junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen, who masterfully piloted the Notre Dame offense with a game-high 10 assists in 21 minutes of action. Allen’s 10 dimes paced the Fighting Irish to a .586 field-goal percentage and 29 assists on 34 baskets, setting a program record for assists in a single NCAA tournament game.
Unsung Hero: Sophomore guard Mychal Johnson tied her season scoring high with 12 points, knocking down all three of her three-point attempts, in a highly-productive 17 minutes off the bench. Johnson, who also scored 12 points on Dec. 9 in a 95-90 win over No. 18/17 DePaul at Purcell Pavilion, was part of a Fighting Irish second unit that scored 45 points and had three double-digit scorers on Saturday night.
Unofficial Play of the Game: With seven seconds left in the first half, sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld grabbed a rebound off a missed North Carolina A&T shot and weaved her way from one end of the floor to the other before laying the ball in just before the halftime horn to give Notre Dame a 52-24 lead at intermission.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame recorded 20 assists on 21 baskets in the first half, including all 11 Fighting Irish field goals in the first quarter. For the season, Notre Dame now has registered assists on 61.8 percent of its baskets (599 of 969).
Additional Notes: Notre Dame has won its NCAA Championship first-round game for the 19th time in the past 21 seasons (1996-present), claiming its last five NCAA tournament openers by an average of 36.6 points per game … the Fighting Irish are 26-4 (.867) all-time as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship and 37-5 (.881) as the higher seed in NCAA postseason games … Notre Dame is 23-0 all-time in NCAA tournament games when scoring at least 80 points … the Fighting Irish posted their third-highest point total in any NCAA Championship game and most since March 24, 2013, when they defeated UT Martin, 97-64 in a first-round contest at Iowa City, Iowa … Notre Dame’s 52 first-half points tied the fifth-highest single-half scoring total by a Fighting Irish team in an NCAA postseason game and most since March 24, 2014, when they scored 52 in the second half of an 84-67 second-round win over Arizona State in Toledo, Ohio … Notre Dame’s 29 assists were both a season high (previous: 28 vs. Denver on Nov. 27 at the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas) and also a program record for an NCAA tourney contest, topping the 26 assists in the aforementioned 2013 win over UT Martin … Notre Dame’s .586 field-goal percentage was its fourth-best in an NCAA tournament game and best since March 20, 2015, when the Fighting Irish opened last year’s tournament by shooting .623 in a 77-43 win over Montana at Purcell Pavilion … Allen’s 10 assists are the fifth-most by a Notre Dame player in an NCAA Championship contest and most since March 27, 2012, when Skylar Diggins had 11 assists in the Raleigh Regional final against Maryland in Raleigh, North Carolina … sophomore forward Brianna Turner’s .875 field-goal percentage (7-of-8) ties the third-best individual shooting night ever by a Fighting Irish player in the NCAA tournament (minimum of six attempts) and best since March 17, 2001, when Ruth Riley went 6-for-6 in a 98-49 first-round win over Alcorn State at Purcell Pavilion … Johnson’s 3-of-3 mark from the three-point line matched the second-best three-point percentage by a Notre Dame player in the NCAA Championship, tying current senior guard/captain Michaela Mabrey’s performance in last year’s NCAA title game on April 7, 2015, against Connecticut in Tampa, Florida … Notre Dame’s bench scored 40 points in a game for the ninth time this season and topped 30 points for the 16th time this year … the Fighting Irish had three reserves scored in double figures in a game for the third time this season (also Nov. 23 at Valparaiso and Feb. 18 at Wake Forest) … Notre Dame tied a season high with six double-digit scorers (also Nov. 23 vs. Valparaiso and Jan. 18 vs. No. 18/15 Tennessee), had at least four players score in double figures for the 21st time this year (20-1 record) and five double-digit scorers for the 11th time (10-1 record) — the Fighting Irish are 138-6 (.958) in such games since the start of the 2009-10 season, including wins in 108 of their last 110 opportunities … Notre Dame has raised its season three-point total to 199, extending its school record in that category … the Fighting Irish have won 27 consecutive games against first-time opponents (39 straight home games against new foes) and are 71-7 (.910) against first-time opponents since the start of the 2000-01 season … Notre Dame is 13-0 against new opponents in the NCAA Championship … the Fighting Irish move to 34-2 (.944) all-time against schools from the state of North Carolina and have won 23 in a row against the Tar Heel State (including all six this year).
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame will play host to ninth-seeded Indiana in the second round of the NCAA Championship’s Lexington Region at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Monday at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 and WatchESPN, 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).