Jan. 7, 2016
By Chris Masters
Inside The Game: #3 Notre Dame 74, Virginia 46
Jan. 7, 2016 – Charlottesville, Va. (John Paul Jones Arena)
It Was Over When: Senior guard/captain Michaela Mabrey canned a three-pointer from the left wing with :05 left in the first half, capping a 20-8 Notre Dame run that began in the closing seconds of the first quarter and gave the Fighting Irish a 35-23 lead at halftime. Virginia never cut the Notre Dame lead into single digits the rest of the night, as the Fighting Irish continued to steadily pull away in the second half.
Game Ball Goes To: Sophomore forward Brianna Turner, who nearly posted her first double-double of the season, finishing with game highs of 19 points (on 7-of-9 shooting) and nine rebounds, as well as two blocks (and several other altered shots) in 29 minutes of action. Turner was the key to Notre Dame’s 38-4 edge in paint points on Thursday night.
Unsung Heroes: The freshman guard tandem of Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale continued to make strides, combining for 28 points off the bench on 11-of-22 shooting (including 4-of-6 from the three-point line) and 10 rebounds, highlighted by Mabrey’s career high-tying six boards.
Unofficial Play of the Game: On a night filled with hustle plays by Notre Dame, one of the best came from sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld on the defensive end. With the Fighting Irish leading 39-28 four minutes into the third quarter, Virginia’s Sydney Umeri blocked a shot and her teammate Faith Randolph set out on a fast break. However, as she drove in for a potential layup, Westbeld raced back on defense and was able to knock the ball out of her hands and off Randolph’s leg out of bounds, giving the ball back to Notre Dame. The play proved important when Turner converted a layup on the next Fighting Irish possession, igniting an 18-5 run during the next five minutes.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame turned in its second-best defensive performance of the season by allowing Virginia just 46 points and a .296 field-goal percentage. The only better night the Fighting Irish have had at the defensive end this year came on Nov. 18, when they defeated Toledo, 74-39 at Purcell Pavilion, holding the Rockets to a .237 field-goal percentage.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame is off to a 14-1 start or better for the fifth consecutive season and the seventh time in eight years (all but 2010-11) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are 41-1 against ACC teams since joining the conference prior to the 2013-14 season (34-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ dating back to the end of the 2010-11 season when it was still a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame has won its 78 of its last 82 games against conference opponents ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish move to 3-2 all-time against Virginia (2-1 in Charlottesville, 2-0 at John Paul Jones Arena) and have won the past three games in the series with the Cavaliers ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Thursday’s 28-point margin of victory was Notre Dame’s largest in the series with Virginia and tied the largest by either team (the Cavaliers won 68-40 on Feb. 22, 1981, in Chicago ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” the fewest points scored by either team in the series) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish have won their last six games played in the Commonwealth of Virginia (four road games, two neutral-site games) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame is 14-8 (.636) all-time against Virginia schools and has won its last eight games against teams from the Commonwealth ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ since 1995-96, the Fighting Irish are 318-15 (.955) when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points, including an active 112-game winning streak in such games ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ since 2000-01, Notre Dame is 359-19 (.950) when leading at halftime, including an active 121-game winning streak and a 196-2 (.990) record in the past seven seasons (2009-10 to present) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish bench scored at least 30 points for the ninth time this season and outscored the opponent’s bench for the 14th time in 15 games this year (all but Georgia Tech on Dec. 30) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Michaela Mabrey’s two treys give her 192 three-pointers for her career, moving her into sole possession of fourth place on Notre Dame’s career list ahead of current Fighting Irish associate coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey (190 from 1996-2001) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Marina Mabrey tied her career high with six rebounds, a mark she first set on Nov. 23 at Valparaiso (when she recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 10 assists and a school-record 12 steals) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ sophomore guard Mychal Johnson registered a team- and season-high three steals, one off her career high set on Nov. 25, 2014, against Quinnipiac.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame will play four of its next five games at home, beginning at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it welcomes North Carolina to Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, as well as ESPN3 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).