Jan. 24, 2016
By Chris Masters
Inside The Game: #3 Notre Dame 80, #NR/RV Virginia Tech 41
Jan. 24, 2016 – Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
It Was Over When: Notre Dame’s sophomore posts linked up on a high-low pass play, with Kathryn Westbeld finding Brianna Turner for a layup with 4:31 left in the second quarter, giving the Fighting Irish a 21-7 and leading Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff to burn his second timeout in 72 seconds. Turner’s layup punctuated a 19-2 Notre Dame run that began during the first quarter and the Fighting Irish would steadily build on their lead the rest of the afternoon.
Game Ball Goes To: Turner, who scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the second quarter, as Notre Dame shook off a sluggish start to storm past Virginia Tech. Turner finished with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while adding six rebounds, a career high-tying three steals and two blocks in 25 minutes of court time.
Unsung Hero: Sophomore guard Mychal Johnson turned in her second consecutive strong performance, pouring in nine points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-2 from the three-point line. Johnson, who had a career-high eight rebounds in Thursday’s win over No. RV/24 Syracuse, logged her highest scoring output since Dec. 9 against No. 18/17 DePaul (season-high 12 points) as part of a Fighting Irish bench that outscored the entire Virginia Tech team, 42-41.
Unofficial Play of the Game: Junior forward Kristina Nelson came up with a Bill Russell trifecta, beginning with her block on Virginia Tech’s Chanette Hicks with 5:15 left in the fourth quarter. Nelson then nimbly grabbed the rebound and quickly fired a long outlet pass to a streaking Marina Mabrey, and the freshman guard easily converted the fastbreak layup to give Notre Dame a 67-30 lead.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame held Virginia Tech to opponent season lows for points in a quarter (4 ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” previous was six on three occasions, the last at Pittsburgh on Jan. 3) and a half (11 ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” previous was 15 by Denver in the first half on Nov. 27 in the opening round of the Junkanoo Jam at Freeport, Bahamas). In fact, the 11 points were the fewest Notre Dame has allowed in a single half since Dec. 4, 2011, when the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 41-11 lead at Creighton at halftime en route to a 76-48 win. The school record for fewest points allowed in one half is six in the first half against Southeast Missouri on Jan. 2, 2011 (a game Notre Dame won 97-21 at Purcell Pavilion).
Additional Notes: Notre Dame is off to a 19-1 start for the fourth time in five seasons and sixth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish collected their 400th all-time regular-season win in conference play (now 400-91, .815), covering their membership in four different leagues – North Star (43-11 from 1983-88), Midwestern Collegiate/Horizon League (87-15 from 1988-95), BIG EAST (232-64 from 1995-2013) and ACC (38-1 since 2013) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame is 45-1 all-time against ACC foes when factoring in seven postseason tournament contests (six ACC, one NCAA) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish have won 30 consecutive home games against conference opponents, one shy of the school record set during the program’s BIG EAST tenure from 1998-2002 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame also has won 23 consecutive home games overall, the fourth-longest run in school history ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame’s 41 points allowed were two shy of their season best (39 vs. Toledo on Nov. 18 at Purcell Pavilion) and its fewest allowed in an ACC game in exactly one year (a 74-36 win at Clemson on Jan. 24, 2015) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish posted a season-best 39-point margin of victory in ACC play, and their largest in a conference game since Jan. 11, 2015 (a 104-58 win over Boston College at Purcell Pavilion) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame has held four of its last six opponents to a .300 field-goal percentage or lower, including Sunday’s .273 mark by Virginia Tech ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ conversely, the Fighting Irish shot better than 50 percent from the field for the fourth time in their last five games and 13th time this year ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ for the second time this season, the Notre Dame bench outscored the entire opponent roster – the Fighting Irish pulled off that feat at Valparaiso on Nov. 23 (64 points in a 110-54 victory) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ after it was beaten 55-42 on the boards in its last game against No. RV/24 Syracuse, Notre Dame turned the tables in a big way on Sunday with a 44-25 rebounding edge against Virginia Tech (a 32-rebound swing from one game to the next) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish improve to 8-1 all-time against the Hokies and have won the past four games in the series ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Virginia Tech’s 41 points are the second-fewest by either side in the series, and fewest since a 53-40 Notre Dame win on Jan. 10, 2004, at Purcell Pavilion ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Sunday’s 39-point margin of victory was the largest by either team in the series ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame is 15-8 (.652) all-time against Virginia schools and has won its last nine in a row against the Commonwealth ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish are 7-1 (.875) at home all-time against teams from Virginia and have won their last seven since an 82-65 loss to Old Dominion on Jan. 10, 1989 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Nelson set or tied career highs for rebounds (tied-5), assists (3) and blocks (tied-2) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Turner’s three steals tied her career best ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ junior center Diamond Thompson’s four points were two off her career high last set on Nov. 27 against Denver in the Bahamas ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen tied the school record with her 97th consecutive start, matching Jacqueline Batteast’s streak from Jan. 26, 2002-March 21, 2005.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame reaches the midpoint of the ACC regular season at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when it travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion. The second of two meetings between the Fighting Irish and Yellow Jackets this season, the game will be televised live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks (check local listings for availability), as well as ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. 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).