March 29, 2015
Inside The Game: #2 Notre Dame 77, #5/6 Baylor 69 (NCAA Championship – Oklahoma City Regional Final)
March 29, 2015 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Chesapeake Energy Arena)
It Was Over When: Senior guard Madison Cable rattled in a floater in the lane with 57.9 seconds remaining to give Notre Dame a 74-68 lead. Baylor had trimmed the Fighting Irish advantage to four points for the second time in the final five minutes before Cable’s shot and some timely defense down the stretch helped Notre Dame secure the hard-earned victory.
Game Ball Goes To: The only person it could possibly go to, the NCAA Oklahoma City Regional Most Outstanding Player — sophomore guard Lindsay Allen. The Mitchellville, Maryland, native filled nearly every corner of the box score in Sunday’s regional final against Baylor with a team-high 23 points (17 in the second half), a team-high seven assists (no turnovers), five rebounds and a game-high four assists, all while playing the full 40 minutes.
Unsung Hero: Junior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey kept Notre Dame afloat during the first half when the Fighting Irish offense stalled at times. The Belmar, New Jersey product scored all 14 of her points in the opening 20 minutes, going a perfect four of four from the three-point line and finishing five of six overall in 19 minutes (despite missing the majority of the second half with dizzy spells).
Unofficial Play of the Game: Shortly after Allen had given Notre Dame a 69-63 lead on a layup with 5:46 remaining, Baylor tried to catch the Fighting Irish defense napping with a long outlet pass for Nina Davis. However, as the BU forward drove to the basket for her own layup, Cable raced back on defense and came flying in to emphatically block Davis’ shot out of bounds. Baylor would not score on that possession and the emotional pendulum had swung back to Notre Dame for the final time.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame now is 7-0 all-time in NCAA Elite Eight games, the best winning percentage in regional finals of any program in NCAA Championship history.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame advances to the NCAA Women’s Final Four for the fifth consecutive season and seventh time overall, becoming the fourth program in NCAA Division I history to make five consecutive Final Four appearances — the others are Connecticut (2000-04 and 2008-present), LSU (2004-08) and Stanford (2008-12) … Notre Dame is one of five schools to earn at least seven NCAA Women’s Final Four berths, joining Tennessee (18, pending Monday’s result vs. Maryland), Connecticut (15, pending Monday’s result vs. Dayton), Stanford (12) and Louisiana Tech (10) … the Fighting Irish are 12-1 this season against ranked opponents, including a 7-1 record against top-10 teams … Notre Dame has posted its fourth consecutive 35-win season — prior to 2011-12, the Fighting Irish had not won more than 34 games in a single season, but in the past four years, Notre Dame is averaging 35.5 wins per season, including a school-record 37 victories in 2013-14 … the Fighting Irish stretch their current winning streak to 21 games, tying the fourth-longest success string in school history (2011-12) … Notre Dame has now won its last 18 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime (including all six this season), a run that dates back to the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Championship title game, won by Connecticut, 63-54 in Hartford, Connecticut … the Fighting Irish are 24-3 (.889) all-time as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship, and 36-5 (.878) all-time as a higher seed in the NCAA tournament … Notre Dame has scored at least 70 points in 28 of its last 33 NCAA Championship games, going 25-3 (.893) in those contests … Notre Dame earned its 50th all-time NCAA tournament victory on Sunday (now 50-20 in 22 appearances, a .714 winning percentage) … the Fighting Irish are 2-4 all-time against Baylor, having won the past two against the Bears, both in the NCAA Elite Eight (2014 at Notre Dame, 2015 in Oklahoma City) … the Fighting Irish are 10-11 (.476) all-time against teams from the state of Texas, having won their last three against the Lone Star State … Notre Dame is 33-12 (.733) all-time against current Big 12 Conference members, including a 9-3 record in the NCAA Championship … Allen becomes the second Fighting Irish sophomore in as many years (and third all-time) to be named an NCAA regional most outstanding player, following in the footsteps of current junior guard Jewell Loyd, who copped last year’s honor in the NCAA Notre Dame Regional (Skylar Diggins garnered the same award as a sophomore at the 2011 Dayton Regional) … prior to this weekend, Allen had two 20-point games in her career, both earlier this season (including a then career-high 24 points at No. 12/10 North Carolina on Jan. 15), before scoring a career-high 28 points in the regional semifinal against No. 14/17 Stanford on Friday and 23 points in the regional final against No. 5/6 Baylor on Sunday … Loyd earned NCAA regional all-tournament Team honors for the third consecutive season, joining former teammates Diggins (2011-13), Natalie Achonwa (2012-14) and Kayla McBride (2012-14) as the only three-time regional all-tournament team picks in program history … Loyd moved into sixth place on the Notre Dame career scoring list with 1,875 points, passing Jacqueline Batteast (1,874 from 2001-05) and pulling within one point of McBride for fifth all-time … freshman forward Brianna Turner had two blocks on Sunday, giving her 85 blocked shots this season and tying Ruth Riley (1999-2000) for fourth on the Fighting Irish single-season blocks list … Turner also recorded her team-leading ninth double-double of the season, tying Mary Beth Schueth (1981-82) for third all-time among Fighting Irish freshmen … Notre Dame, which came into Sunday’s game shooting nearly 75 percent from the foul line this season, tied its season-low free-throw percentage (.500), originally set on Dec. 13 against Michigan at Purcell Pavilion.
NCAA Women’s Final Four Ticket Information: Notre Dame season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase up to two NCAA Women’s Final Four tickets when they go on sale at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Tuesday through the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets only may be purchased in person (Gate 9 ticket windows at Purcell Pavilion) or by calling (574) 631-7356 weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). No online Final Four ticket sales will take place through the Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, nor will there be any ticket sales available to the general public through Notre Dame.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame will play No. 3/4 South Carolina (champions of the Greensboro Regional) in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals on Sunday, April 5 (time to be announced once Monday’s other Elite Eight games are completed) at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. All NCAA Women’s Final Four games will be televised live on ESPN, as well as ESPN3/WatchESPN (blackout rules may apply). In addition, radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), nationally on the NCAA/Westwood One Radio Network (check local listings for availability) and free of charge worldwide online through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director