March 13, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the 12th time overall and the fourth year in a row, Notre Dame will play host to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The Irish have earned one of the four coveted No. 1-seeds and will open play at 7:30 on Friday, March 17 against No. 16-seed Robert Morris at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The game will be part of a doubleheader with No. 8-seed Green Bay facing No. 9-seed Purdue at 5 p.m. with the winners to face off in the second round on Sunday, March 19 at a time to be announced. Both games on Friday will air on ESPN2.
Tickets are now available at UND.com/BuyTickets. Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, they can also be purchased either over the phone at (574) 631-7356 or in person during regular business hours at the Murnane Family Ticket Office in the front lobby of Purcell Pavilion.
If you have already purchased tickets, or are planning to buy them in person, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday is an ideal time to pick them up as Notre Dame’s coaches and players will be manning the windows of the Irish ticket office while pizza and refreshments will be available in the lobby.
Notre Dame (30-3, 15-1 ACC) is a tournament top-seed for the seventh time and the sixth year in a row. The Irish are 27-5 all-time when playing as a No. 1 seed, including its run to the 2001 national championship. The Irish held a top seed for four years out of their recent run of five consecutive Final Fours from 2011-15.
The Irish are 16-2 during NCAA play at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, including wins in each of their last 10 contests. The facility first welcomed the event in 1983 as a neutral site host and is seeing NCAA Championship action involving the Irish for the 11th time since 1994. Notre Dame is 53-22 in its NCAA history as the Irish embark on their 24th appearance and 22nd in a row — the fifth-longest streak in NCAA history. The 53 NCAA Championship wins are seventh-most in the nation while Notre Dame’s seven Final Four berths are the fifth-most of any school.
Robert Morris earned an automatic bid as the champion of the Northeast Conference. The Colonials won the NEC for the second consecutive year after going 22-10 and 14-4 in the league. Notre Dame also faced Robert Morris in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Championship, claiming a 93-42 win on the neutral floor of Toledo’s Savage Arena.
Green Bay is in the tournament as the champions of the Horizon League. The Phoenix posted a 27-5 regular season record and 15-3 in the conference. The Irish and Phoenix played earlier this year with Notre Dame taking a tight, 71-67, win in the Preseason WNIT semifinals. Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 2-1.
Purdue earned an at-large bid out of the Big Ten Conference thanks to a 22-12 record and 10-6 mark in league play. The Boliermakers fell in the Big Ten title game to Maryland, 74-64. Purdue leads the all-time series, 14-12, but Notre Dame won the most meaningful of the 26 contests, beating the Boilermakers, 68-66, in the 2001 NCAA championship game.
Should the Irish advance past the second round, they would play their NCAA Regional at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 24 and 26. The 2017 Final Four is set for March 31 and April 2 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
ACC Doesn’t Travel Far
Five ACC schools were selected to host their NCAA first and second round games, the most of any league, and seven were included in the field. Along with top-seed Notre Dame, Duke earned a No. 2 seed, Florida State a No. 3 seed and No. 4 seeds were awarded to both Louisville and Miami. Additionally, NC State earned a No. 6 seed and Syracuse claimed a No. 8 seed.
Four ACC teams (Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest) earned bids to the WNIT, giving the conference 11 members who will participate in the postseason.
Final AP Poll Vaults Irish
Notre Dame moved up one spot to No. 2 in Monday’s final Associated Press poll of the season. It marks the 146th time the Irish have been ranked in the top five, breaking a tie with Georgia for seventh place in NCAA history. The Irish have been ranked in the top 10 for each of the last 124 polls since a No. 11 ranking on Jan. 17, 2011. Notre Dame’s 222 weeks all-time in the AP’s top 10 are the 10th-most in NCAA history.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.