Senior Megan Duffy looks to lead the Irish against Pittsburgh.

Irish Battle Badgers In Madison

Dec. 3, 2005

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2005-06 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 6
#11/12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs.
Wisconsin Badgers (4-2 / 0-0 Big Ten)

DATE: December 4, 2005
TIME: 1:30 p.m. CT
AT: Madison, Wis.
Kohl Center (17,142)
SERIES: Notre Dame leads 4-2
1ST MTG: 3/1/87 (ND 80-70)
LAST MTG: 12/4/03 (ND 82-64)
RADIO: ESPN Radio 1580 AM
Sean Stires, p-b-p
TV: None
TICKETS: (800) 462-2343

Notre Dame plays the third of four Big Ten Conference opponents on its schedule when it travels to Madison, Wis., Sunday afternoon to face Wisconsin.

The Irish are seeking to post just the fourth 6-0 start in school history, and second in as many seasons.

Following its first significant rest period of the season (four days), No. 11/12 Notre Dame returns to action Sunday when it heads to Madison, Wis., for a 1:30 p.m. CT (2:30 p.m. ET) game vs. Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. Notre Dame improved to 5-0 this season with a 74-55 victory over Iona on Tuesday night at the Joyce Center. The Irish looked a bit sluggish in the first half, due in part to concern over their absent head coach Muffet McGraw, who missed the game with an illness. However, Notre Dame used a 26-9 run early in the second half to take command of the contest and roll to the win. Senior guard Megan Duffy led the Irish in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, tallying a game-high 21 points, including 17 of them in the second half, when she only played 12 minutes. Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader chipped in with a season-high 14 points, while sophomore center Melissa D’Amico and senior forward Courtney LaVere each added 10 points for the Irish.

Notre Dame is 11th in the latest Associated Press poll and 12th in the current ESPN/USA Today poll. Wisconsin is unranked.

Web Sites

Notre Dame:
Big Ten:

Setting The Standard
Under the guidance of 19th-year head coach Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame has evolved into one of the country’s leading women’s basketball powers. The Irish have appeared in 12 NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 six times in the past nine years. Notre Dame also has reached the NCAA Women’s Final Four twice, winning college basketball’s ultimate prize with the 2001 national championship.

In its history, Notre Dame has developed eight All-Americans, eight WNBA players (including five draft picks in the past five years) and four USA Basketball veterans (eight medals won). Now in their 29th season in 2005-06, the Irish own an all-time record of 580-254 (.695).

Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw
Saint Joseph’s ’77
19th season at Notre Dame
* 416-155 (.729) at Notre Dame.
* 504-196 (.720) in 24 years as head coach.

27th NCAA Division I coach with 500 wins
2001 consensus National Coach of the Year
Four-time Naismith Coach of the Year finalist
Four-time conference Coach of the Year
* BIG EAST Conference (2001)
* Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1991)
* North Star Conference (1988)
* East Coast Conference (@ Lehigh) (1983)

A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Balance and chemistry will be the two main ingredients as Notre Dame looks to build upon last year’s successful 27-6 season that saw the Irish win the Preseason WNIT, rise to No. 3 in the national polls and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

With the graduation of 2004-05 BIG EAST Player of the Year and All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast, as well as rugged and dependable center Teresa Borton, Notre Dame will have a large infusion of youth on its roster, as eight of its 12 players are underclassmen (four freshmen, four sophomores). However, the team is in more than capable hands, as senior point guard and two-time captain Megan Duffy returns to run the Irish offense. Duffy spent the summer as a co-captain on the USA World University Games Team that won a gold medal and went unbeaten in Izmir, Turkey, and she hopes to use the lessons she learned on the international stage to help her take the Irish to grand heights in 2005-06.

After being ranked anywhere from 15th to 22nd in preseason polls released by various media outlets, Notre Dame has steadily risen in the Associated Press poll through the first three weeks of the season, currently standing 11th, and jumped to 12th in this week’s ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.

The balance the Irish have sought this season has been evident at times during the team’s first five games this season. Notre Dame has had at least three double-figure scorers in each game (four in each of the past two outings) and six players have scored in double digits at least once thus far. What’s more, eight players are averaging at least 16 minutes of action per night.

Duffy has been a strong all-around contributor for Notre Dame during its first two games. The veteran floor general is averaging a team-best 17.6 points, 4.8 assists and 3.4 steals per game,with a 3.43 assist/turnover ratio. Although she was held to three points in the season opener vs. Michigan, Duffy found other ways to help her team win, coming up with eight assists, four steals and four rebounds in 39 minutes. Since then, she has regained her scoring touch with a flourish, averaging 21.3 ppg. and leading the team in scoring during the past four Irish wins, highlighted by a career-high 26 points at Indiana (13 of those coming in the final eight minutes), a game-high 19 points against No. 24/21 USC, and a game-best 21 points vs. Iona (17 in the second half, when she played just 12 minutes).

Sophomore guard Charel Allen, who is still working her way back to full strength after surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered in last spring’s NCAA Tournament, has shown little sign of her injury to this point. In the season opener against Michigan, Allen came off the bench to drop in a game-high 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Having scored in double figures three times in Notre Dame’s first four outings, she is tied for second on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg.), while standing fourth in field goal percentage (.462) and rebounding (4.6 rpg).

Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader also has shown tremendous promise during the early portion of the season. The former McDonald’s All-American already has been named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week once (Nov. 21) after turning in an impressive 10-point, 14-rebound effort in her debut outing against Michigan, becoming just the second player in school history (first since 1979) to record a double-double in her first game. Schrader is tied for the team lead in rebounding (6.0 rpg.) and is tied for second in scoring (10.0 ppg.).

Potent Notables About The Fighting Irish

  • Notre Dame’s No. 11 ranking in the latest Associated Press poll represents the 22nd consecutive appearance for the Irish in that survey, dating back to the start of the 2004-05 season. All told, Notre Dame has appeared in 131 Associated Press polls since the balloting debuted 30 years ago, with their first AP ranking (No. 25) coming on Dec. 31, 1990.
  • The Irish have won 57 of their last 60 non-conference home games, dating back to the 1994-95 season. All three of the losses in that span have come against Big Ten Conference opponents (Wisconsin in 1996, Purdue in 2003, Michigan State in 2004).
  • The Irish defense continues to be its calling card. In each of the past six seasons, Notre Dame has held its opponents to an average of less than 62 points per game, including a 56.8 ppg. mark last year, which ranked as the third-lowest opponent scoring average in school history and second-best of the Muffet McGraw era (55.8 ppg. in 2000-01). Thus far in 2005-06, the Irish are allowing opponents to score just 58.2 ppg.
  • The Irish have posted 38 wins over Top 25 opponents in the past eight seasons (1998-99 to present), most recently knocking off No. 24/21 USC, 73-62 on Nov. 27 at the Joyce Center. In each of the past two years, Notre Dame has set a school record with seven regular-season wins over ranked opponents. Furthermore, since the start of the 2003-04 season, the Irish are 11-2 (.846) at home against Top 25 competition.
  • Following Tuesday’s win over Iona, the Irish have welcomed crowds of 5,000 or more fans to 68 of their last 70 home games. The only two blemishes on that mark came in the semifinals and finals of last year’s Preseason WNIT, because tickets for those games could not be included in the Notre Dame season ticket package and had to be purchased separately.
  • Senior guard Megan Duffy was named a preseason All-American by three sources, has been cited on the preseason watch lists for both the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy and the John R. Wooden Women’s Award, and most recently was tabbed as one of the top five point guards in the nation by Duffy also was a preseason all-BIG EAST Conference selection, following up her first-team all-league citation last year.
  • With a 55-45 victory over Michigan on Nov. 18, Irish head coach Muffet McGraw became the 27th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 500-win mark. She also is the 10th Division I coach to earn her 500th victory prior to age 50. McGraw reached another milestone Tuesday vs. Iona with her 700th career game as a head coach (she was credited with the win despite missing the contest due to illness).

A Quick Look At Wisconsin When it comes to measuring a team’s progress, different standards can be used. However, when it comes to Wisconsin, one doesn’t need fancy charts or graphs to demonstrate this simple fact – the Badgers have improved their win total in each of the past two seasons and have shown signs of a breakthrough campaign in 2005-06. Wisconsin (4-2) opened this season in strong fashion, reeling off four consecutive victories, all by double digits, and advancing to the championship game of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu. Since then, the Badgers have lost their last two games, both to BIG EAST Conference opponents, falling to (then) No. 17 DePaul, 76-57 in the Hawaii tournament title game, and then 71-59 to Marquette on Friday night in Madison. Sunday’s matchup with Notre Dame is not only UW’s third in a row vs. the BIG EAST, but also the middle contest in a three-game homestand at the Kohl Center. In Friday’s loss to Marquette, Wisconsin struggled to find its shooting touch, but still came back from a 10-point first-half deficit, getting within 27-22 at halftime. However, a 9-0 run by MU early in the second half wound up being the difference, allowing the Golden Eagles to withstand a late UW rally to get within nine points in the final two minutes. As has been the case during the early part of the season, the Badgers were paced in the Marquette game by their sophomore backcourt tandem of Janese Banks and Jolene Anderson. Banks had 16 points against MU and leads Wisconsin in scoring this season at 18.7 points per game, and she’s also tops on the squad with 4.2 assists per night. Meanwhile, Anderson had a double-double vs. Marquette with 11 points and 14 rebounds – she’s second on the team in both scoring (15.5 ppg.) and rebounding (6.8 rpg.). As a team, Wisconsin is averaging 73.2 ppg. and holds opponents to 66.7 ppg. The Badgers also have been particularly strong on the glass, pulling down 45.5 rebounds per game and owning a +9.5 rpg. margin through six games this season. Lisa Stone is in her third season as the head coach at Wisconsin, sporting a 26-35 (.426) record at the school. Previously, she spent 18 seasons as the head coach at Drake (2000-03), Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1988-2000) and Cornell (Iowa) College (1985-88). All told, she has a career coaching record of 401-153 (.724) in 21 years on the sidelines. Sunday will mark the second time she has faced Notre Dame as a head coach, having lost her only prior encounter (82-64 on Dec. 4, 2003 at the Joyce Center).

The Notre Dame-Wisconsin Series Notre Dame and Wisconsin will be meeting for the seventh time when they take the floor on Sunday in Madison. The Irish hold a 4-2 series edge against the Badgers, and have won on two of their prior three visits to the UW campus. Notre Dame faced Wisconsin for the first time on March 1, 1987 in Madison, with the Irish claiming an 80-70 victory at the UW Field House. That game was one of the final ones for Notre Dame with Mary DiStanislao as head coach – following the 1986-87 season, she stepped down to pursue graduate work at Northwestern. Her replacement would be an energetic, up-and-coming coach from Lehigh named Muffet McGraw. It would be almost seven seasons before the Irish and Badgers would meet up again, tangling at the Brown PowerBar Tournament in Providence, R.I. (a 77-55 Notre Dame victory). UW earned its first win over the Irish in 1996, an 81-69 victory on Dec. 9 at the Joyce Center that was significant for two reasons – it remains the highest-ranked opponent the Badgers have ever defeated (ND was 10th at tipoff) and it’s one of only three home non-conference losses the Irish have suffered in the past 11 seasons (a span of 60 games). Notre Dame has won the past two meetings in the series, earning an 83-56 victory on Nov. 22, 2000 in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge in Madison, and an 82-64 conquest on Dec. 4, 2003 at the Joyce Center.

The Last TimeNotre Dame And Wisconsin Met Some people contend that athletes see their production drop off in their second year, producing what is called the “sophomore jinx.” At least for one night, Megan Duffy and Courtney LaVere were having none of that. The two Notre Dame sophomores combined for 47 points on 17-of-28 shooting (.607), helping the Irish snap a two-game losing streak with an 82-64 win over Wisconsin on Dec. 4, 2003 before a crowd of 5,868 at the Joyce Center. Duffy poured in a (then) career-high 25 points, including 19 in the first half, and wound up making eight of her 12 shots and six of 10 from three-point range. On top of that, the Dayton, Ohio, native matched her career high with seven assists against Wisconsin and turned the ball over just once in a crisp 35 minutes of action. Meanwhile, LaVere was locked down for much of the first half, but followed her classmate’s lead in the second stanza, erupting for 18 of her season-high 22 points to go along with nine rebounds. Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast also narrowly missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Emily Ashbaugh led three Badgers in double figures with 16 points, while Ashley Josephson dropped in 15 points and Ebba Gebisa contributed 13 points. In addition, UW’s Stephanie Rich handed out a career-high 12 assists, the first double-digit assist night for a Notre Dame opponent since Tasha Pointer had 10 assists for Rutgers on Feb. 17, 2001. As a team, Wisconsin (2-3) shot the ball well, hitting at a 49 percent clip on the night. The Badgers were especially hot in the first half, connecting on 13-of-23 shots (.565) in the opening 20 minutes. That sharp shooting led to an early 11-6 lead for UW at the 14:43 junction and had the Joyce Center crowd buzzing. However, Notre Dame wiped out that deficit by going on a 12-2 run over the next five minutes, taking an 18-13 lead on a three-pointer by senior Jeneka Joyce. The Badgers gamely hung with the Irish, rallying to tie the score twice later in the period, the second coming at 24-all with 4:17 remaining. Notre Dame then closed the half on a 12-5 spurt to take its largest lead to that point at 36-27 heading into the dressing room. After scoring just four points on two of six shooting in the opening period, LaVere came out determined early in the second half, scoring the first seven Irish points. Wisconsin didn’t budge and the lead was just nine points (47-38) after the Badgers’ Jordan Wilson hit a layup with 17:19 to play. Notre Dame then mounted another charge, scoring 11 of the next 14 points, with LaVere and junior Katy Flecky each knocking down a pair of baskets, to build up a 58-41 lead at the 14:25 mark. LaVere wound up hitting six of her first seven shots in the second half and was seven of 10 in the period. Wisconsin made a final push down the stretch, getting as close as 73-60 when Josephson buried a jumper with four and a half minutes to go. The Irish then sealed matters with a mini 9-2 run, taking their biggest lead of the night at 82-62 with 32 seconds left.

Other Notre Dame-Wisconsin Series Tidbits

  • The last time the Irish visited the Kohl Center, they came away with the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge title, defeating No. 19 UW (83-56) and No. 6 Georgia (75-73) on Nov. 22 and 24, 2000. Those two wins would prove to be a linchpin in Notre Dame’s school-record 23-game winning streak to open the 2000-01 season, driving the Irish all the way to No. 1 in the polls for the first time in school history and ultimately, the program’s first NCAA championship.
  • Prior to its Nov. 23 win at Indiana, Notre Dame had not defeated a Big Ten Conference team in its home arena since its Nov. 2000 win at Wisconsin in the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge.
  • Notre Dame is 32-8 (.800) all-time against teams from Wisconsin, including a 13-6 (.684) record on the road. The Irish have won their last four games against Wisconsin schools in their home arenas, most recently edging out Marquette, 50-47 on Dec. 19, 2004 in Milwaukee. Wisconsin is the last team to defeat the Irish in the Badger State, earning an 89-77 triumph on Dec. 8, 1997 at the UW Field House in Madison.
  • Notre Dame senior guard Megan Duffy and Wisconsin sophomore Jolene Anderson both spent their summers with USA Basketball teams. Duffy was a co-captain and the starting point guard on the U.S. World University Games Team that went a perfect 7-0 and won the gold medal in Izmir, Turkey. Meanwhile, Anderson was a member of the USA Under-19 World Championship Team that also struck gold in Tunis, Tunisia.
  • Wisconsin sophomore guard Janese Banks is a native of Indianapolis and graduated from Ben Davis High School.
  • UW first-year assistant coach Tasha McDowell joined the Badgers’ staff after a successful stint at UC Santa Barbara. Her last game at UCSB turned out to be against Notre Dame – a 61-51 Irish win in the opening round of last year’s NCAA Tournament in Fresno, Calif.

Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten Conference
The Irish are 31-43 (.419) all-time against Big Ten Conference teams, including a 2-0 record this season (55-45 vs. Michigan; 74-61 @ Indiana).

Wisconsin is the third of four Big Ten opponents on Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule, with the remaining two games on the road (also next Wednesday @ Purdue). It’s the first time the Irish will play four regular-season games against the Big Ten since the 1996-97 campaign – Notre Dame split those four contests (d. Iowa, 61-50; d. Indiana, 71-63; l. Purdue 73-58, l. Wisconsin, 81-69). The Irish did play four Big Ten teams in 2003-04, going 1-3, but the last of those was a 55-49 loss to Penn State in the NCAA Sweet 16.

In Absentia
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw missed the first game of her 700-game coaching career Tuesday night vs. Iona, as she was sidelined due to an illness. Associate head coach Coquese Washington piloted the team in McGraw’s absence, although the victory is credited to McGraw’s coaching record (now 504-196).

Starting Strong
The Irish are off to a 5-0 start for the second time in as many seasons, marking the first time in the 29-year history of the program Notre Dame has put together back-to-back 5-0 starts (the Irish began last year with a 7-0 record).

All told, Notre Dame has won the first five games of the season only five times, with four of those coming in the Muffet McGraw era (all in the past eight seasons beginning in 1998-99). In the four previous 5-0 starts, the Irish went on to win at least 20 games and reach the NCAA Tournament three times. The lone exception was the program’s first season (1977-78), when only 17 games were played, all at the AIAW Division III level, and the Irish went 13-4, but had their season cut short with a 65-64 loss to St. Joseph’s (Ind.) in the Indiana AIAW Tournament.

A November To Remember
With Tuesday’s win over Iona, Notre Dame closed out the month of November undefeated for the second time in as many seasons and the third time in four years. The Irish are 41-8 (.837) in November games since they joined the BIG EAST Conference 11 seasons ago. In addition, Notre Dame has won 12 in a row and 23 of its last 28 games during the year’s penultimate month. The last time the Irish lost a game in November was on Nov. 30, 2003 – an 83-59 setback at No. 3 Tennessee.

Second-Half Sizzle
In each of their five victories this season, Notre Dame has used a significant second-half run to take control of the contest. In three of those instances (Michigan, Indiana, USC), the Irish trailed at some point in the final 11 minutes, but on the strength of their second-half run, rallied to take the win.

The 700 Club
Despite missing the contest due to illness, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw was credited with the 700th game of her career when the Irish defeated Iona, 74-55 on Tuesday night.

McGraw is in her 24th season as a collegiate mentor, having posted a 504-196 (.720) record, including a 416-155 (.729) mark in 19 years at Notre Dame. During her first 23 seasons walking the sidelines on campus, McGraw has piloted her teams to an astounding 18 20-win seasons (16 at ND) and 21 winning campaigns (16 with the Irish). In addition, McGraw’s clubs have earned 12 NCAA Tournament berths, six trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, two NCAA Final Four showings and the 2001 national title. McGraw also has steered eight league champions (regular season and/or tournament) and she has been named conference Coach of the Year by four different leagues – East Coast (@Lehigh), North Star, Midwestern Collegiate and BIG EAST.

It’s A Local Call
During its first seven games of the season, Notre Dame leaves the state of Indiana just twice. Back on Nov. 20, the Irish traveled one hour over the state line to Western Michigan (a 71-68 victory in Kalamazoo). Notre Dame hits the open road again this weekend, visiting Wisconsin Sunday for a 1:30 p.m. (CT) game in Madison.

Of the remaining five games in this unique opening part of the schedule, three are home contests (Michigan, USC, Iona) and two are against in-state rivals (Indiana and Purdue).

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot
Tickets are going extremely fast for Notre Dame’s Dec. 31 home game vs. Tennessee at the Joyce Center. As of Dec. 2, less than 800 tickets were available to the general public for the New Year’s Eve matinee, which will represent the Lady Vols’ first visit to South Bend since 1994.

Should the game sell out, it would be the third capacity crowd in Notre Dame women’s basketball history and the first since the 2000-01 season. That year, the Irish hosted two sellouts at the Joyce Center – Jan. 15 vs. No. 1 Connecticut (W, 92-76) and Feb. 24 vs. Georgetown (W, 65-53 on Senior Night).

For more information on how to obtain tickets for all Notre Dame women’s basketball games, fans may contact the Irish athletics ticket office Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) at (574) 631-7356 or stop by the ticket windows located on the second floor of the Joyce Center (enter via Gate 1).

Megan Duffy Named ToBIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll
Senior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) earned a place on the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll, it was announced by the league office on Monday. The Weekly Honor Roll is a new citation presented by the BIG EAST this season to recognize additional players who were not chosen as the conference’s Player or Freshman of the Week.

Duffy averaged 22.5 points, 5.5 assists and 5.0 steals per game with a .452 field goal percentage (14-of-31) last week as the Irish improved to 4-0 on the campaign with victories over Indiana (74-61) and No. 24/21 USC (73-62). Duffy poured in a career-high 26 points against Indiana, including 13 in the final eight minutes, and led the team in scoring with 19 points vs. the nationally-ranked Women of Troy.

In addition, Duffy played all 40 minutes in both games last week and committed just one turnover. That works out to a sparkling 11.00 assist/turnover ratio. South Florida forward Jessica Dickson was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week after logging 28.3 ppg. and 7.0 rpg. in three wins.

Game #5 Recap: Iona
Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw missed her milestone 700th career game as coach Tuesday night because of illness. Luckily for her, though, senior guard Megan Duffy was feeling just fine.

Duffy scored 13 of her 21 points during a decisive 16-4 run early in the second half, pacing 11th-ranked Notre Dame to a 74-55 victory over Iona, giving the absent McGraw her career 504th victory.

“It’s just one of those nights where it’s tough when you play without your head coach,” associate head coach Coquese Washington said. “In the first half, we were all a little nervous.”

Duffy, who was just 2-of-10 shooting in the first half, hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to get the Irish (5-0) and herself going. She hit her next four shots as well, including a pair of three-pointers, to extend Notre Dame’s lead to 52-36.

“I just had to keep being aggressive,” Duffy said. “I missed a few shots in the first half, good shots, wide open, and Coquese told me to stay aggressive.”

Washington, a Notre Dame assistant since 1999, said she didn’t know McGraw wouldn’t make it to the game until shortly before the start. Asked what she thought when she heard she would be running the Irish, she said: “I can’t say that in public. Needless to say, I miss Coach McGraw.”

The Irish (5-0) led by as many as 12 in the first half, but the Gaels (2-1) scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut the lead to 36-32. That’s when Duffy got the Irish going.

“Our goal was obviously to have Notre Dame shoot the ball from the outside,” Iona coach Anthony Bozzella said. “That was our plan and certainly at that point Duffy said, ‘I’ll shoot it’ and made a few which opened it up. It forced us out of a couple of things we wanted to do defensively.”

Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader added a season-high 14 points and senior forward Courtney LaVere and sophomore center Melissa D’Amico had 10 points each for the Irish. Toni Horvath led the Gaels with 14 points and Martina Weber had 11 points and nine rebounds, although she had just two points and two rebounds in the second half.

“Part of it was fatigue. Part of it was good defense,” Bozzella said.

Washington thought Notre Dame’s defense was key in the second half after leading just 36-28 at halftime.

“I felt like we came out and played a lot more pressure defense and that defense led to offense in the second half,” she said.

Noting The Iona Win

  • Notre Dame improves to 5-0 this season, its second 5-0 start in as many years and the fifth in school history.
  • The Irish log their largest margin of victory this season and their fourth double-digit win in five outings to date.
  • Notre Dame tied its season-high point output (also at Indiana on Nov. 23) and logged its fourth consecutive 70-point game, the first time the Irish have topped the 70-point mark in four straight games since Dec. 4-22, 2003.
  • Notre Dame closes out the month of November unbeaten for the second consecutive season and extended its current winning streak in the year’s penultimate month to 12 games and 23 wins in the past 28 November outings.
  • This was only the second game in the Notre Dame-Iona series and the first since a 69-65 ND win on Dec. 19, 1980; that’s a dormant period of 24 years, 11 months and nine days, which makes it the longest hiatus between games in school history (11 days longer than the break in series matchups between the Irish and IPFW).
  • Notre Dame raises its all-time record vs. New York schools to 36-2 (.947), including a 19-0 mark at the Joyce Center (17 of those wins by double figures).
  • The Irish have led or been tied at the half in all five games this year.
  • Notre Dame had four double-digit scorers for the second consecutive game and have had at least three in double figures in all five games this year.
  • Senior guard Megan Duffy notched her second 20-point game of the season and seventh of her career – Duffy also reached the 900-point barrier for her career and the 400-assist plateau in her tenure; Duffy has 14 assists and one turnover in her last three games (111 minutes).
  • Senior forward Courtney LaVere is averaging 10.5 ppg. off the bench in her last four outings and is shooting .652 (15-of-23) from the floor in her last three games.
  • Freshman forward Chandrica Smith had three points, two rebounds and a steal, the first stats of her college career.
  • Three Irish players saw their first action of the season – sophomore Amanda Tsipis and freshman walk-ons Brittney Bolden and Christine Trezza.

A Double Cheeseburger For Schrader
A 2005 McDonald’s All-America selection who played in that elite all-star game back in March on her new home floor at the Joyce Center, freshman guard Lindsay Schrader felt right at home from the first moment she stepped into the historic venue, scoring nine points in that contest.

As if there was any doubt about her abilities, Schrader put them all to rest in Friday’s season-opening win vs. Michigan, rolling up a double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds) in her first college game, which she started. Schrader is just the second Notre Dame player ever to record a double-double in her debut contest, and the first Irish player to do so since the program elevated to Division I status in 1980-81 (ND was a Division III program for its first three seasons). The only other career-opening double-double by a Notre Dame freshman came from Shari Matvey, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds in a 68-60 conquest of Marion on Nov. 30, 1979 at the Taylor Invitational in Upland, Ind.

Give Her Five (Hundred)
With Notre Dame’s 55-45 victory over Michigan on Nov. 18, head coach Muffet McGraw became the 27th women’s basketball coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 500-win mark. McGraw now has a career record of 504-196 (.720) in 24 years of coaching, including 19 seasons at Notre Dame (416-155, .728).

Here’s a closer look at how that milestone victory breaks down for McGraw:

  • She is the 10th NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach to register her 500th victory before turning 50 (her birthday is Dec. 5).
  • McGraw is the fourth active coach in the BIG EAST Conference to reach the career 500-win mark, joining Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer, Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma and Villanova’s Harry Perretta.
  • She is the third BIG EAST coach in as many seasons to celebrate her 500th win. Auriemma hit the milestone late in the 2002-03 campaign, while Perretta joined the club with his landmark victory midway through last season.

Duffy Rakes In Preseason Honors
Senior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio) already has found her name on preseason candidate lists for two of the top national player-of-the-year trophies this season. The 5-foot-7 floor general is among 25 early candidates for the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy, and she is on the 30-player watch list for the John R. Wooden Women’s Award. It’s the first time in Duffy’s career she has been placed under consideration for either award, and it marks the third consecutive season a Notre Dame player has made both preseason candidate list (Jacqueline Batteast was chosen prior to the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns).

Besides the Wade Trophy and Wooden Women’s Award, Duffy is a prime candidate for the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which goes the country’s top senior player who stands 5-foot-8 or under, and the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the nation’s top point guard.

In addition, Duffy has been tapped as a preseason All-American by three national media outlets – Women’s Basketball News Service (first team), Street & Smith’s (“Terrific 10”) and Lindy’s College Basketball Annual (third team) – and has been chosen as one of the top five point guards in the country in the 2005-06 season preview.

Duffy also was one of 12 players selected to the 2005-06 Preseason all-BIG EAST Conference Team, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Duffy is one of three returning first-team all-BIG EAST picks from a year ago, joining West Virginia’s Meg Bulger and this year’s Preseason Player of the Year, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers. Duffy is tops among all returnees in assists (5.39 apg. in 2004-05, second in the BIG EAST), steals (2.73 spg., first) and free throw percentage (.895, first), setting a school record and ranking fourth nationally in the latter category. She also ranks fourth among BIG EAST returnees in assist/turnover ratio (1.73) and is seventh among veterans in three-point field goals per game (1.52).

Last season, Duffy was an honorable mention All-America choice by the Associated Press and was a finalist for the Kodak/WBCA All-America Team. She also earned a spot on the all-tournament teams for the Preseason WNIT and the BIG EAST Championship.

Half And Half
During the past six seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 101-8 (.927) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 30 of their last 32 such contests. Notre Dame has opened this season by winning four of its first five games after it led at the break (the Irish were tied at halftime of its win over USC).

The Best Offense Is A Good Defense?
During the past 11 seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season (Notre Dame’s first in the BIG EAST Conference), the Irish have an amazing 152-9 (.944) record when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points in a game. Notre Dame had added two more tallies to this ledger with wins over Michigan (55-45) and Iona (74-55).

But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. During the past decade (1995-96 to present), the Irish are 91-3 (.968) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are a pair of overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995 and a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998.

Sweet Success
Notre Dame is one of only nine schools in the country to have appeared in the NCAA Sweet 16 six times in the past nine seasons (1997-2005). The others are Connecticut and Tennessee (nine times), Duke (eight times), Louisiana Tech (seven times), and Georgia, LSU, North Carolina and Texas Tech (six times).

The Gold Standard
The Irish are one of six teams nationwide to have an active streak of 12 consecutive 20-win seasons. The others in this club are Tennessee (29), Texas Tech (16), Louisiana Tech (14), Old Dominion (14) and Connecticut (12).

Now That’s A Home Court Advantage
One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame’s success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 130 of their last 141 games (.922) at the 11,418-seat Joyce Center, including winning streaks of 51 and 25 games in that span. Notre Dame also has a 76-8 (.905) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game league winning streak at home before it ended with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the ’02 home finale.

The Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 57 of their last 60 non-BIG EAST contests (.950) at the Joyce Center, dating back to the 1994-95 season. The only three losses in that span all came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents – Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54) and Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT). The Purdue loss snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak which began after the UW setback.

Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center, posting a 280-72 (.795) record at the venerable facility. In three of the previous six seasons (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Irish were a perfect 15-0 at home, setting a school record for home wins in a season.

Jammin’ The Joyce
Beginning with its national championship season of 2000-01, Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in attendance each of the past five years, including a No. 16 rating in 2004-05 (5,830 fans per game). Notre Dame has averaged 5,744 fans in its first two games this season, including 6,134 for the season opener Nov. 18 vs. Michigan.

What’s more, each of the top 20 women’s basketball crowds in Joyce Center history have occurred during the 19-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw (1987-present), with 19 of those 20 occurring in the past six seasons (2000-01 to present). Lastly, the Irish have attracted at least 5,000 fans to 68 of their last 70 home games, including 12 contests with at least 8,000 fans and the first two sellouts in the program’s history (both in 2001).

A third sellout could be on the horizon for Notre Dame, as there are less than 800 tickets remaining for the Dec. 31 game vs. Tennessee, the Lady Vols’ first visit to the Joyce Center since 1994.

Oh Captain, My Captain
Notre Dame’s two seniors – guard Megan Duffy and forward Courtney LaVere – will serve as team captains for the 2005-06 season. Duffy is in her second year as a captain (making her the 16th two-time captain in school history, and 12th in the Muffet McGraw era), while LaVere is a first-time captain. Both players received the captain’s honor following a vote of their teammates prior to the season.

Notre Dame On The Small Screen
Notre Dame will have nine of its regular-season games televised during the 2005-06 season. Highlighting this year’s television docket are six nationally-televised Irish women’s basketball contests, including three consecutive games on the ESPN family of networks during a 12-day span in mid-February.

This year’s TV slate continues a recent trend that has seen the Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01, Notre Dame has played in 60 televised games, including 37 that were broadcast nationally. Last year, the Irish had 17 games televised, with 10 being national broadcasts.

Notre Dame already is 2-0 in televised games this season. The Irish defeated both Western Michigan (71-68 on Nov. 20) and No. 24/21 USC (73-62 on Nov. 27) in contests broadcast live to a regional audience by Comcast Local (based in Detroit).

Six of the remaining seven televised games on the ’05-06 Notre Dame schedule all are slated for national broadcasts. The first of three Irish appearances on College Sports Television (CSTV) comes on Dec. 31, when Notre Dame plays host to Tennessee at 2 p.m. (EST). Notre Dame returns to the CSTV airwaves for a pair of January contests that will be part of the BIG EAST/CSTV Tuesday Game of the Week package. The Irish will welcome DePaul to the Joyce Center on Jan. 17, before visiting Rutgers on Jan. 24, and both games will tip off at 7:30 p.m. (ET). CSTV has aired eight Notre Dame women’s basketball games during the past three seasons, with the first being that network’s inaugural broadcast of any sport (a Feb. 2003 game at Connecticut).

The Irish then make three consecutive appearances on the ESPN family of networks, beginning with a Feb. 7 home game against Villanova that will be broadcast live on ESPNU. That game now will tip off at 6 p.m. (ET), one hour earlier than previously listed on some schedules. The following Sunday (Feb. 12), Notre Dame will travel to DePaul for a 4 p.m. CST (5 p.m. ET) game that will air on ESPN2 as part of that network’s “February Frenzy” split-national coverage designed to preview a similar coverage pattern for the NCAA Tournament. The Irish are back on ESPN2 on Feb. 19, when they play host to Connecticut in a 7 p.m. (ET) prime-time BIG EAST showdown at the Joyce Center. During the past five seasons, Notre Dame has appeared on the ESPN family of networks 24 times, averaging nearly five telecasts per year on “The Worldwide Leader in Sports”.

Notre Dame will make its final regular-season television appearance on Feb. 25, when it travels to new conference member Cincinnati for a 2 p.m. (ET) game that will air as part of the BIG EAST-Regional Sports Network (RSN) package. Among the outlets scheduled to televise the game live are WHME-TV (Channel 46 in South Bend), Comcast Chicago, Comcast Local, Comcast Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden Network.

Notre Dame On The Airwaves
Once again this season, every Irish women’s basketball game (home and away) will air on the flagship stations of the Artistic Media Partners (AMP) Network – WDND-AM (ESPN Radio 1580) and WNDV-AM (1490) in South Bend. Veteran broadcaster and AMP sports director Sean Stires is now in his sixth season handling the play-by-play for Notre Dame. The Irish also can be heard on the Internet at Notre Dame’s official athletics web site ( by subscribing to Fighting Irish All-Access, which gives listeners full multimedia access to a variety of Irish athletics events for only $6.95 per month.

Promotional Corner
Here’s a rundown of some upcoming promotions and giveaways at future Notre Dame women’s basketball games this season. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Irish athletics ticket office (second floor of the Joyce Center through Gate 1; 574-631-7356) or on game day at the Gate 10 ticket windows of the Joyce Center. Please note – additional promotions and giveaways may be added at a later date, so consult the Notre Dame promotions web site ( for the latest information:

  • Dec. 28 vs. Valparaiso – Family Day (four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas for $25) ? Notre Dame women’s basketball license plate frames to first 1,000 fans (courtesy of Chevy) ? post-game autograph session with selected Irish players.

Next Game: #22/23 Purdue
Notre Dame plays its fourth and final regular-season game against a Big Ten Conference opponent Wednesday night when it ventures to West Lafayette, Ind., for its annual matchup against No. 22/23 Purdue. Tip time from Mackey Arena is set for 7 p.m. (ET).

The Boilermakers are 4-1 this season, following a 98-65 win at Western Michigan on Thursday evening. Purdue is slated to visit No. 14 DePaul Saturday night before preparing to welcome the Irish to town.