Feb. 26, 2015
Inside The Game: #4 Notre Dame 87, Pittsburgh 59
February 26, 2015 – Notre Dame, Indiana (Purcell Pavilion)
It Was Over When: Freshman forward Brianna Turner converted a layup with 14:23 remaining in the second half to cap a 19-3 Notre Dame run that gave the Fighting Irish a 61-32 lead. Turner’s basket was part of a stretch that saw Notre Dame make its first 11 shots of the second half, going more than half the period (10:07) before misfiring.
Game Ball Goes To: Senior forward/tri-captain Markisha Wright, who scored a season-high 14 points on a perfect shooting night — six for six from the field and two for two at the foul line. Wright, who earned the starting nod on Senior Night along with classmates Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway, scored eight of her points in the opening 3:26 of the game as Notre Dame jumped out to a 14-4 lead at the first media timeout.
Unsung Hero: Making her first career start on Thursday, senior guard/tri-captain Whitney Holloway showed few nerves in her season-high 14 minutes of action, collecting three assists and three rebounds (both season highs, the latter one off her career best) while teaming with classmates Madison Cable and Markisha Wright to stake Notre Dame to an early double-digit lead and spark the Senior Night victory.
Unofficial Play of the Game: It seemed appropriate to give this honor to a pair of seniors, as Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright connected on back-to-back baskets in the opening three minutes, the second courtesy of Holloway’s audacious drive down the lane into the tall timber and a wraparound pass to Wright on the right block for the layup for an early 8-4 lead at the 17:27 mark of the first half.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame earned a share of the 2014-15 Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title, its fourth consecutive league crown and second in as many seasons as an ACC member (following two in the BIG EAST Conference). It’s the first time in the program’s 38-year history the Fighting Irish have won four consecutive conference regular season titles, and it’s the 12th conference regular season championship in school annals (two in the North Star Conference, five in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League, three in the BIG EAST and two in the ACC). In addition, Notre Dame clinched the No. 1 seed for next week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, with the Fighting Irish set to play at 2 p.m. (ET) Friday, March 6, in a tournament quarterfinal game at the Greensboro Coliseum (televised live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks).
Additional Notes: Notre Dame improves to 32-6 (.842) all-time on Senior Night, including wins in 25 of its last 27 Senior Night contests … the Fighting Irish tied a school record with their 17th home win of the season, matching the mark first set in 2011-12 (17-1) and duplicated last year (17-0) — this year’s 18 home games also tie the school single-season mark set in 2011-12 … the Fighting Irish shot a season-best .627 from the floor, their highest field-goal percentage since last year’s season opener when they connected on 62.9 percent of their shots (39 of 62) in a win over UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9, 2013, at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame shot 70.4 percent from the floor in the second half, its second-best single-half field-goal percentage of the season behind a .760 outing (19 of 25) in the first half against Chattanooga on Nov. 21 at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame’s senior class of Cable, Holloway and Wright is now 134-9 (.937) in its four-year career, the second-most wins in program history by one class (138 by the Class of 2014), with this year’s seniors the first in school history to win four conference regular season titles in their careers … Notre Dame has won 60 if its last 63 games against conference opponents (and 26 in a row at home) — since joining the ACC prior to last season, the Fighting Irish are 34-1 against conference foes (30-1 regular season, 4-0 postseason) … Notre Dame wraps the month of February with a perfect 7-0 record, extending its winning streak in the month to 26 in a row and improving to 121-28 (.812) in February games since 1995-96, including a 68-6 (.919) mark at home in that time … the Fighting Irish have held their last nine opponents to 63 points or fewer, including seven to fewer than 60 points (Notre Dame is 16-0 this season and 308-15 since 1995-96 when holding opponents below 60 points in a game) … Notre Dame held Pittsburgh to an opponent season-low 21 rebounds, the fewest since Maryland’s 21 boards on April 6, 2014, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee … the Fighting Irish are 23-3 all-time against Pittsburgh, including an 11-0 record at home … Notre Dame has won its last six games against Pittsburgh by an average of 35.8 points per game … the Fighting Irish have won 18 consecutive games against teams from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (12 in a row at home) and are 61-26 (.701) all-time against Keystone State schools, including a 29-5 (.853) record at home … Wright’s 14 points were the most she has scored in a game since Dec. 31, 2012, when she tallied 20 points in a win over Saint Francis (Pa.) at Purcell Pavilion … Wright became the 10th different Notre Dame player to score in double figures at least once this season … Turner had three blocks on Thursday, giving her 72 rejections this season and passing Ruth Riley (71 in 1997-98) for the second-most blocks by a freshman in school history — Shari Matvey holds the Notre Dame rookie record with 94 blocks as a freshman in 1979-80 (Turner also is seventh on the overall single-season blocks list at Notre Dame, with Riley owning the record of 113 in 2000-01) … the Fighting Irish had five double-figure scorers for the seventh time this season (7-0 record).
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame closes out the 2014-15 regular season at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it travels to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on N.C. State at Reynolds Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. In addition, radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and free of charge worldwide online through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
–Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director