Dec. 21, 2015
By Chris Masters
Inside The Game: #3 Notre Dame 91, Saint Joseph’s 55
Dec. 21, 2015 – Philadelphia, Pa. (Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena)
It Was Over When: Junior guard/co-captain Lindsay Allen beat the third-quarter horn with a drive into the lane and a layup that capped a 16-2 Notre Dame run and gave the Fighting Irish a 65-41 lead.
Game Ball Goes To: Allen, who scored half of her 16 points in the third period, and added season highs of nine assists and seven rebounds in Monday’s win at Saint Joseph’s.
Unsung Hero: Lost somewhat in the return of her classmate and fellow post Brianna Turner, sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld turned in yet another consistent workmanlike performance, shrugging off first-half foul trouble to tie her season scoring high with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. It was Westbeld’s eighth double-digit scoring game in 11 outings this season after the Kettering, Ohio, product registered nine double-figure games all of last year.
Unofficial Play of the Game: Senior guard Hannah Huffman came up with a steal at midcourt, pushed the ball ahead to senior guard/co-captain Michaela Mabrey, who in turn found Allen on the right block. Allen deftly delivered a touch pass to Huffman running through the lane and the veteran finished what she started, bringing the crowd to its feet with a layup and drawing a foul to give Notre Dame a 59-39 lead with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame has won 28 consecutive games when coming off its final exam break (with no such games played between finals and Christmas in 1994 and 1997). The last time the Fighting Irish lost their first game after finals was Dec. 21, 1985, when Mary DiStanislao’s Notre Dame squad dropped a 73-67 decision to UCLA at Purcell Pavilion.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame is off to a 10-1 start for the fifth consecutive season and the eighth time in nine years (beginning with the 2007-08 season) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ for the second year in a row, the Fighting Irish shot better than 55 percent from the field in three consecutive games (last year they did so Nov. 25-Dec. 3 against Quinnipiac, Kansas and No. 15/10 Maryland) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame had a season-low seven turnovers, its most efficient ball-handling night since Nov. 19, 2014, when it had six turnovers at No. 15/17 Michigan State ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish logged a season-best .889 free-throw percentage ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame forced a 10-second backcourt violation by Saint Joseph’s in the third quarter, the third by the Fighting Irish since the rule was instituted before the 2013-14 season, and the first forced by Notre Dame since its last visit to Philadelphia on Nov. 23, 2013, at Penn (when the Quakers committed two 10-second backcourt violations) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish earn their 20th consecutive win in their final game before the Christmas holiday, improving to 30-9 (.769) all-time in such games ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive games against teams from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (since a 2009 BIG EAST Conference Tournament loss to Villanova) while moving to 63-26 (.708) all-time against schools from the Keystone State ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish have won 13 consecutive games against current Atlantic 10 Conference schools and rise to 47-13 (.783) all-time against that league’s present membership ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame is 32-18 (.640) all-time against the Big Five (members of the informal association of college programs in the Philadelphia metro area – Saint Joseph’s, La Salle, Penn, Temple and Villanova – that was created in 1955) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw improves to 3-3 all-time when coaching against her alma mater (3-0 at Notre Dame, 0-3 at Lehigh) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ junior forward Kristina Nelson grabbed a career-high five rebounds.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: The Notre Dame players and staff will fan out to their homes to celebrate the Christmas holiday before reconvening on campus Friday to resume preparations to play host to No. 11 Oregon State at 7 p.m. (ET) Dec. 28 at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, 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).