Dec. 6, 2005
2005-06 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 7
#10/12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs.
#24/23 Purdue Boilermakers (4-2 / 0-0 Big Ten)
|DATE:||December 7, 2005|
|TIME:||7:00 p.m. ET|
|AT:||West Lafayette, Ind.|
|Mackey Arena (14,123)|
|SERIES:||Purdue leads 13-5|
|1ST MTG:||11/26/84 (PUR 62-59)|
|LAST MTG:||1/16/05 (ND 86-69)|
|RADIO:||ESPN Radio 1580 AM|
|Sean Stires, p-b-p|
Notre Dame is aiming to start 7-0 for the second consecutive season and only the third time in school history.
The Irish look to win back-to-back games vs. Purdue for the first time since 2000-01 and claim their first-ever win at Mackey Arena.
One of the nation’s top non-conference rivalries will be renewed Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ET) when No. 10/12 Notre Dame travels to West Lafayette, Ind., for a matchup with No. 24/23 Purdue at Mackey Arena. The Irish and Boilermakers have played one another nearly every season since 1991-92, with Purdue holding a 7-5 edge during the past dozen meetings. Notre Dame (6-0) remained unbeaten this season with a 77-72 victory at Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon. Senior guard Megan Duffy collected a game-high 20 points and canned all six of her free throw attempts in the final 30 secons to cement the third Irish win over a Big Ten opponent in as many tries this season.
Duffy certainly wasn’t alone in her contributions, as freshman guard Lindsay Schrader was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and scored 13 points. A pair of sophomores – center Melissa D’Amico and guard Tulyah Gaines – chipped in with 11 points to aid Notre Dame’s cause.
Notre Dame is 10th in the latest Associated Press poll and was 12th in last week’s ESPN/USA Today poll (new poll released Tuesday). Purdue is 24th in the latest Associated Press poll and was 23rd in last week’s ESPN/USA Today poll.
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 581-254 (.696).
Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw
- Saint Joseph’s ’77
- 19th season at Notre Dame
- 417-155 (.729) at Notre Dame.
- 505-196 (.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 month of the season, currently standing 10th, and was 12th in last week’s ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll (the new rankings will be released Tuesday afternoon).
The balance the Irish have sought this season has been evident at times during the team’s first six games this season. Notre Dame has had at least three double-figure scorers in each game (four in each of the past three outings) and seven different players have scored in double digits at least once thus far. What’s more, eight players are averaging at least 18 minutes of action per night.
Duffy has been a strong all-around contributor for Notre Dame during its first six games. The veteran floor general is averaging a team-best 18.0 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 steals per game,with a 2.42 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 21.0 ppg. and leading the team in scoring during the past five 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 20 points at Wisconsin, including 6-of-6 free throws in the final 30 seconds to preserve the win. Duffy also has been tapped for the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll the past two weeks.
Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader 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. This past week, she averaged 13.5 points per game and shot a blistering 80 percent from the field (12-of-15) in wins over Iona and Wisconsin, going 6-of-6 in the latter contest. Those marks earned Schrader a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, the first freshman to appear on that list this season. Schrader leads the Irish in field goal percentage (.551) and is second in both scoring (10.5 ppg.) and rebounding (5.8 rpg.).
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 six outings, she is third on the team in scoring (9.2 ppg.), while standing fourth in field goal percentage (.467) and rebounding (4.2 rpg).
Potent Notables About The Fighting Irish
- Notre Dame’s No. 10 ranking in the latest Associated Press poll represents the 23rd 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 132 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 appeared in the top 10 in 17 of the past 23 Associated Press polls since the start of the 2004-05 season, and have been ranked 10th or higher in the media balloting at some point in seven of the past 10 years (including three of the past four seasons). All told, Notre Dame has spent 73 weeks in the AP top 10 during the program’s 29-year history and owns a 110-20 (.846) record when it’s ranked in the top 10.
- 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 60.5 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 last week’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 ESPN.com. 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 on Nov. 29 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 Purdue
If Notre Dame is considered one of the cornerstones in the tradition of women’s basketball excellence in the state of Indiana, then Purdue certainly stands as the counter-balancing pillar in the Hoosier State. Like the Irish, the Boilermakers are one of the 10 winningest programs in the nation during the past decade (ND – 6th at 235; Purdue – 8th at 231), with both schools earning an NCAA championship and each becoming a regular contender when the NCAA Tournament rolls around in March.
Every strong program goes through a transitional season and Purdue had its changeover last year, going 17-13 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Eight letterwinners and four starters are back from that club, combining with a solid incoming class to give the Boilermakers a firm foundation upon which to contend not only for the Big Ten title, but NCAA Tournament success as well.
Ranked 24th in this week’s Associated Press poll, Purdue is off to a 4-2 start, despite the fact it has played just two home games thus far (wins over Butler and Arkansas State). The Boilermakers split two contests at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas, being upset by George Washington, 49-47, before ousting South Carolina, 56-48. Purdue then responded with its win over ASU and a blowout victory at Western Michigan before dropping a 65-54 decision at new BIG EAST member (and current AP No. 11 squad) DePaul last Saturday.
Junior guard/forward Katie Gearlds, a two-time all-Big Ten selection, is fully healed after off-season surgery on her ankles and leads Purdue in scoring (12.8 ppg.) and assists (3.0 apg.) to go along with a team-best eight three-point field goals. Rugged junior forward Erin Lawless is second in scoring (12.0 ppg.) and third in field goal percentage (.531) after leading the squad in scoring last year. Lanky sophomore forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton also is one to watch, standing third in scoring (9.8 ppg.), and tops in both field goal percentage (.565) and blocked shots (1.5 bpg.).
Kristy Curry is in her seventh season as the Boilermakers’ head coach, compiling a 157-46 (.773) record at Purdue. She is 5-3 all-time against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Purdue Series
Beginning in 1984, and having become an almost-annual rivalry for 14 seasons, the Notre Dame-Purdue series features one of the nation’s top non-conference games each year. The Boilermakers have a 13-5 series edge against the Irish all-time, including a 7-0 lead at Mackey Arena.
Purdue had the upper hand in its first six meetings with Notre Dame, winning each time. However, three of those victories came by seven points or less before the Irish broke through with their first series win – a landmark 73-60 triumph in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. It was Notre Dame’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win.
Starting with that game, the series has been almost even, with Purdue winning seven times and the Irish earning five victories. The peak of Notre Dame’s success came in 2000-01, when the Irish posted a 72-61 regular-season win at the Joyce Center, then came back with a 68-66 victory in the 2001 NCAA championship game at the Savvis Center in St. Louis. Purdue then countered with four consecutive wins over Notre Dame, its longest series success streak since the opening six-game run. That ended last season, when the Irish returned to the win column, 86-69 in the second BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge at the Joyce Center.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Purdue Met Notre Dame found the answers to its problems. Purdue simply found more questions.
Junior guard Megan Duffy sparked seventh-ranked Notre Dame by scoring 17 of her 19 points in the first half and senior forward Jacqueline Batteast finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, leading the seventh-ranked Irish past No. 20 Purdue 86-69 on Jan. 16, 2005, in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge at the Joyce Center.
Batteast was held to eight points and Duffy six in Notre Dame’s 17-point loss to No. 16 Connecticut four days earlier. But they surpassed those numbers in the first 15 minutes against the Boilermakers.
The Irish (14-3) beat the Boilermakers for the first time since the 2001 NCAA championship game, ending a four-game losing streak to Purdue.
The Boilermakers (10-6), beaten by 20 points in its previous game by No. 11 Minnesota, lost consecutive games for the first time since December 2001, when they lost to the Irish and LSU.
It was the 36th career double-double for Batteast, tying her with Ruth Riley for second place on Notre Dame’s career list. Senior center Teresa Borton added 18 points, and Notre Dame outscored the Boilermakers 38-24 in the paint.
Erin Lawless led Purdue with 16 points, Katie Gearlds had 14 and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Emily Heikes and Tyeisha Jackson had 10 points each.
The Irish led 54-38 at halftime, scoring four more points than they had in the entire game against UConn. Duffy shot 4-for-4 in the first half, including three from 3-point range, and 6-of-6 from the line.
The Irish made seven free throws in the final 63 seconds to take a 16-point halftime lead – matching their biggest of the season.
Purdue cut the lead to 62-51 when Heikes stole the ball and hit a fast-break layup with 14:32 left. But Duffy answered with a pair of free throws, Borton scored inside and freshman guard Tulyah Gaines scored on a 15-foot jumper as the Irish regained control, leading by 21 points late in the game.
Other Notre Dame-Purdue Series Tidbits
- The 70-point mark seems to be a magic figure in the series. One or both teams have scored 70 points in 14 of the 18 matchups, with the first team to reach that milepost winning each time.
- Notre Dame’s most frequent NCAA Tournament opponent has been Purdue. The Irish and Boilermakers have played one another four times in NCAA postseason competition, with each team winning twice (ND in 1996 and 2001; Purdue in 1998 and 2003).
- Those two NCAA victories account for nearly half of Notre Dame’s five wins in the series – a 73-60 victory in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament, and a 68-66 triumph in the 2001 NCAA championship game. The 1996 win also was Notre Dame’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.
- The Irish and Boilermakers remain the only teams from the same state ever to play for the NCAA championship.
- Notre Dame’s 86 points and 17-point margin of victory last season were series highs for the Irish.
- Wednesday’s game will mark the sixth time in the series Notre Dame has been ranked higher than Purdue at tipoff. The Irish are 3-2 in these games, but both Boilermaker wins came at Mackey Arena – on Dec. 5, 1996, an unranked Purdue team ousted No. 7/14 Notre Dame, 73-58; then, on Dec. 8, 1999, the No. 18/16 Boilermakers downed the No. 7/6 Irish, 71-61.
- Notre Dame freshman guard Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett HS) is acquainted with several members of the Purdue roster, most notably Boilermaker sophomore forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley HS) and freshman center Danielle Campbell (Chicago/Whitney Young HS). Schrader and Wisdom-Hylton faced off regularly in high school (Bartlett High and Neuqua Valley are members of Illinois’ Upstate Eight Conference), while Schrader and Campbell played AAU ball together for the Chicago Flames.
- Notre Dame is 104-30 (.776) all-time against other schools from the state of Indiana, including a 40-16 (.714) on their opponents’ home court. The Irish have won their last three games against the Hoosier State, defeating Valparaiso (69-59) and Purdue (86-69) last year, and Indiana (74-61) earlier this season.
- The states of Indiana and Michigan have produced more Notre Dame women’s basketball players (14 each) than any other in the program’s 29-year history. Freshman walk-on guard Brittney Bolden (South Bend/Adams HS) is the only native Hoosier on this year’s Notre Dame roster, although the Irish have signed three Indiana standouts to National Letters of Intent for the 2006-07 season.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten Conference
The Irish are 32-43 (.427) all-time against Big Ten Conference teams, including a 3-0 record this season (55-45 vs. Michigan; 74-61 @ Indiana; 77-72 @ Wisconsin). This marks the first time in school history Notre Dame has posted three regular-season victories over Big Ten foes (two of Notre Dame’s four Big Ten wins in 2000-01 came in the NCAA Tournament).
Purdue is the last of the four Big Ten opponents on Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule, with the Irish currently on a four-game Big Ten winning streak dating back to their win over Purdue last season. 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.
Join The Club
The Irish women’s basketball team became the sixth Notre Dame squad this year to be ranked in the top 10 in its respective sport at some point during the season. The other top-10 Irish teams include: women’s cross country (4th), football (5th AP), men’s cross country (5th), women’s soccer (5th) and volleyball (9th).
In addition, all six of Notre Dame’s fall sports teams advanced to the round of 16 (or its equivalent) in the NCAA Tournament. The Irish cross country teams both finished among the top 10 at the NCAA Championships (men – 3rd; women – 7th), while the women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals (lost at eventual champion Portland), and the men’s soccer squad made its first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 before bowing by a 1-0 count at College Cup participant Clemson.
The Irish volleyball team remains alive in NCAA postseason play, reaching the round of 16 for the first time since 1997 and preparing to take on Wisconsin Friday in College Station, Texas. Ironically, Purdue also will play in that College Station regional, taking on Washington immediately after the Notre Dame-Wisconsin match.
The football team also is still in season, readying to take on Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2 in Tempe, Ariz.
On the strength of their early fall success in cross country, the Irish are third in the first NACDA/USSSA Directors’ Cup standings released last week. The results from both soccer teams, football (final result determined by ranking in ESPN/USA Today poll) and volleyball are yet to come.
In Absentia Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw missed the first two games of her 700-game coaching career vs. Iona and Wisconsin, as she was sidelined due to an illness. Associate head coach Coquese Washington piloted the team in McGraw’s absence, although the victories are credited to McGraw’s coaching record (now 505-196).
Starting Strong The Irish are off to a 6-0 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 6-0 starts (the Irish began last year with a 7-0 record).
All told, Notre Dame has won the first six games of the season only four times, all in the Muffet McGraw era (and all in the past eight seasons beginning in 1998-99). In the three previous 6-0 starts, the Irish went on to win at least 25 games and reach the NCAA Tournament every time. Second-Half Sizzle
In five of their six 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.
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). This past Sunday, Notre Dame ventured to Wisconsin and came away with a 77-72 triumph in Madison.
The Irish close out this unusual season-opening stretch Wednesday with a 7 p.m. (ET) game at Purdue. The remaining games in this unique part of the schedule included three home contests (Michigan, USC, Iona) and a road contest at Indiana.
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. 6, less than 100 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, Lindsay Schrader Named To BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll Senior guard Megan Duffy and freshman guard Lindsay Schrader both were selected to the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll, the league office announced Monday. It’s the second time in as many weeks Duffy has received the distinction, while Schrader is the first freshman this season to earn a spot on the BIG EAST Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes with exceptional performances aside from the players chosen to receive the conference’s Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week awards.
Duffy averaged 20.5 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game last week as Notre Dame registered victories over Iona (74-55) and Wisconsin (77-72). In the win over Iona, Duffy scored a game-high 21 points, ringing up 17 in a 12-minute second-half stint. She then added a game-high 20 points Sunday at Wisconsin, going 6-of-6 at the free throw line in the final 30 seconds to seal the win, Notre Dame’s third over a Big Ten Conference opponent in as many games this season.
Meanwhile, Schrader, who was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Nov. 21, posted the two highest point totals of her rookie season this past week, averaging 13.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game with an .800 field goal percentage (12-of-15). Schrader tallied a season-high 14 points in only 22 minutes against Iona, before coming back with 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting at Wisconsin. Her field goal percentage at UW was one made shot away from tying the school record for shooting efficiency by a freshman (7-of-7 – Alicia Ratay at Rutgers on Feb. 19, 2000; Teresa Borton vs. Seton Hall on Jan. 9, 2002).
Game #6 Recap: Wisconsin
Senior guard Megan Duffy scored 20 points to lead No. 11/12 Notre Dame to a 77-72 victory over Wisconsin on Sunday at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader added 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting, while sophomore center Melissa D’Amico and sophomore guard Tulyah Gaines each scored 11 for the Irish (6-0), who won their first six games for the fourth time in school history.
Duffy shot 6-for-6 from the foul line and scored eight points in the final two minutes as Notre Dame pulled away from the Badgers (4-3).
D’Amico fed junior guard Breona Gray for a three-pointer and then hit a jumper as the Irish broke a 62-62 tie, the seventh tie of the second half.
Wisconsin pulled within 67-65, but Duffy and Gaines countered with baskets, the latter coming on a driving layup to beat the shot clock buzzer. The Badgers closed within three points twice in the last 30 seconds, but Duffy answered with a pair of free throws each time.
Jolene Anderson scored 16 points for the Badgers, who got double-figure scoring by four players.
Noting The Wisconsin Win
- Notre Dame is off to a 6-0 start for the second consecutive season and the third time in the past six seasons (23-0 in 2000-01; 7-0 last year).
- The Irish have won 14 of their last 16 road games, dating back to the start of the 2004-05 season.
- Notre Dame has scored 70-or-more points in its last five games, the first time the Irish have pulled off that feat since Jan. 9-24, 2001, when they also had five consecutive 70-point outings.
- The 77-point total at Wisconsin was a season-high for Notre Dame and the most for the Irish since they defeated West Virginia, 82-57 on Feb. 26, 2005 at the Joyce Center.
- Notre Dame improves to 5-2 all-time against Wisconsin, including a 3-1 record in Madison; the Irish also are now 3-0 all-time at the Kohl Center, having defeated UW twice (2000 and 2005) and also Georgia (finals of 2000 Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge).
- For the first time in the 29-year history of the program, Notre Dame has defeated three Big Ten Conference opponents in the regular season; the Irish actually downed four Big Ten teams in 2000-01, but two of those victories (Michigan and Purdue) came in the NCAA Tournament – the school record for consecutive wins vs. Big Ten opponents is five (1999-00 through 2000-01).
- The Irish shot a season-best .551 vs. Wisconsin, the second time this season Notre Dame has topped the 50-percent mark,
- The Irish also won the battle on the boards, 34-27, marking the first time all season Wisconsin had been outrebounded.
- Notre Dame has been ahead (five times) or tied (once) at the break in all six games this season.
- For the third time this season, every Irish player who saw court time wound up scoring (also vs. Western Michigan and USC).
- Notre Dame had four players score in double figures for the third consecutive game and has had at least three double-digit scorers in all six outings this season.
- Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader’s 6-of-6 shooting performance was one make shy of matching the school record for field goal percentage by a freshman (7-of-7 by Alicia Ratay at Rutgers, 2/19/00 and Teresa Borton vs. Seton Hall, 1/9/02).
- Sophomore guard Tulyah Gaines posted her second career double-digit scoring game with 11 points, just missing her personal high of 12, set at Northern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2004.
- Senior guard Megan Duffy has scored 19-or-more points in her last five games (three 20-point nights) and is averaging 21.0 ppg. in that span.
- Sophomore center Melissa D’Amico cracked double digits for the fourth time this year after doing so just once all of last year.
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 505-196 (.720) in 24 years of coaching, including 19 seasons at Notre Dame (417-155, .729).
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 was this past Monday, 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) 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 ESPN.com 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 102-8 (.927) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 31 of their last 33 such contests. Notre Dame has opened this season by winning five of its first six 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.
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, and is 11th in the latest unofficial national attendance rankings, released each Monday by the University of Wisconsin Sports Information Office.
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 100 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 (www.und.com) 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.
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 (www.notredamepromotions.com) 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: Arkansas State (@ Las Vegas)
Notre Dame will take a 10-day break for final exams before getting back into action Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. (PT) against Arkansas State in the opening round of the Duel in the Desert, to be held in Las Vegas. The Irish are placed in the Gray Division, with No. 23 (AP) Utah meeting No. 25 (AP) North Carolina State in the other divisional opener. The consolation game is slated for Dec. 18 at noon (PT), followed by the title game at 2:30 p.m. (PT).