April 12, 2016
By Chris Masters
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen (Mitchellville, Md./St. John’s College) was chosen as the recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player award, while graduate student guard Madison Cable (Mt. Lebanon, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) earned the Woody Miller Player of the Year award, it was announced Tuesday night during the 2015-16 Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Awards Banquet at Purcell Pavilion.
Cable was a dual honoree on Tuesday, as she also shared the team’s Most Improved Player award with sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (Kettering, Ohio/Kettering Fairmont).
Other award recipients at Tuesday night’s banquet (as chosen by a vote of their teammates) included: sophomore forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel), who claimed the team’s Defensive Player of the Year honor for the second year in a row, and senior guard Hannah Huffman (Diablo, Calif./Carondelet), who earned the team’s Spirit Award for the first time. In addition, freshman guard Ali Patberg (Columbus, Ind./Columbus North) was chosen to receive the Rockne Student-Athlete Award from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.
The departing members of the senior class — Cable, Huffman and co-captain Michaela Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) — recalled some of the lasting memories of their Notre Dame careers during a series of emotional video tributes. All three players were major contributors to one of the most successful four-year runs in program history, helping the Fighting Irish to a sensational 141-8 record, including the highest winning percentage (.946), fewest losses (8) and second-most wins (141) of any senior class in the 39-year history of Notre Dame women’s basketball.
In addition, the Fighting Irish seniors helped the program to a near-perfect 63-1 (.984) record in regular-season conference play (76-2, .974, against league opponents when counting conference and NCAA tournaments), while leading Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship game appearances, three NCAA Women’s Final Four berths, four conference regular-season titles (three in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one in the BIG EAST), and four conference tournament crowns (three in the ACC, one in the BIG EAST).
An energetic crowd of approximately 700 fans was in attendance, as Notre Dame celebrated another successful season in what easily has become the golden age of Fighting Irish women’s basketball. Notre Dame amassed a 33-2 record this year, highlighted by a 26-game winning streak during the final three months of the season (the third-longest success string in school history). The Fighting Irish also advanced to the NCAA Championship’s Sweet 16 (regional semifinals) for the seventh consecutive season and the eighth time in the past nine years.
What’s more, Notre Dame earned its fifth consecutive outright conference regular-season title (third in as many seasons as a member of the ACC) with a 16-0 record, stringing together five outright league championships in a row for the first time in the program’s nearly four decades of existence. Notre Dame also became the first ACC women’s basketball program to earn three consecutive outright regular-season titles since Duke from 2002-04, and just the second ACC school from outside the North Carolina “Triangle” (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area) ever to collect three consecutive outright conference regular-season championships (Virginia won six in a row from 1991-96).
Notre Dame then chalked up three more wins to secure the program’s third ACC tournament crown in as many years, and its school record-tying fourth consecutive league postseason title overall (following the 2013 BIG EAST Conference tournament championship). It marked the first time the Fighting Irish won conference tournaments in four consecutive seasons since a four-year run (1989-92) in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League.
With the tournament crown, Notre Dame became only the second program in ACC history to sweep the women’s basketball regular-season and postseason titles in three consecutive seasons, joining Duke (2002-04) in that elite company.
The Notre Dame Class of 2016 – Michaela Mabrey (left), Hannah Huffman (center) and Madison Cable (right) – led the Fighting Irish to a sensational 141-8 (.946) record, the highest winning percentage by one senior class in program history, and highlighted by a 63-1 regular-season conference record, two NCAA national championship games, three NCAA Final Fours, four regular-season conference titles and four conference tournament crowns.
In 2015-16, the Fighting Irish set single-season school records for three-point field goals made (207), three-point field goals attempted (503), fewest times fouled out (2) and highest conference winning percentage (1.000), while challenging additional single-season program marks for total wins (33; record is 37 in 2013-14), highest winning percentage (.943; record is .974 in 2013-14), longest winning streak (26; record is 37 in 2013-14), total points (2,801; record is 3,271 in 2013-14), highest scoring average (80.0 ppg.; record is 86.1 ppg. in 2013-14), largest scoring margin (+18.7 ppg.; record is +26.0 ppg. in 2011-12), most field goals attempted (2,091; record is 2,423 in 2013-14), highest field-goal percentage (.496; record is .532 in 1987-88), highest three-point field-goal percentage (.412; record is .464 in 2000-01), most assists (632; record is 765 in 2013-14), highest assist/turnover ratio (1.23; record is 1.39 in 2013-14), blocked shots (167; record is 228 in 2000-01), fewest turnovers (513; record is 430 in 2005-06).
Notre Dame placed among the top 20 in the nation in six NCAA statistical categories this year, including top-10 rankings in three-point field-goal percentage (2nd – .412; the program’s third consecutive season in the top 10), field-goal percentage (3rd – .496; the sixth consecutive year the Fighting Irish placed in the top 10 nationally), scoring margin (5th — +18.7 ppg.; also the sixth year in a row Notre Dame ended up among the top 10), scoring offense (8th – 80.0 ppg.; the program’s fifth consecutive season as one of the nation’s top 10 scoring teams) and assists (8th — 18.1 apg.; Notre Dame’s sixth consecutive year appearing in the NCAA top 10). The Fighting Irish also ranked 19th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (1.23) and also finished third in the non-statistical measure of won-loss percentage (.943).
Notre Dame piled up a 10-2 record against ranked opponents this season, including three wins against top-10 teams. What’s more, Notre Dame appeared in the top five of both major national polls for 19 weeks finishing No. 2 in the Associated Press poll for the fourth consecutive year and placing a close sixth (four points out of fifth) in the season-ending Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll, taken after the NCAA Championship.
On top of that, Notre Dame placed sixth in the final NCAA attendance rankings by averaging 8,437 fans per game, while registering three sellouts this season. It marks the 10th consecutive year the Fighting Irish have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation in attendance (averaging more than 8,000 fans per game during each of the past seven seasons), as well as the 16th year in a row they have placed among the top 16 in the final NCAA attendance rankings. Furthermore, Notre Dame continues to be fueled by one of the nation’s most loyal and dedicated fan bases, with the Fighting Irish having drawn at least 8,000 fans to 84 of their last 88 home games (dating back to the 2010-11 season), and at least 5,000 fans to 243 of their last 245 home games, covering a stretch since the midpoint of the 2000-01 season.
Next year, Notre Dame is expected to return three starters (including two-time All-Americans Allen and Turner) and eight monogram recipients. The Fighting Irish also will be welcoming back Patberg, the 2015 MaxPreps National High School Player of the Year and Indiana Miss Basketball, who missed her freshman year with a knee injury.
In addition, Notre Dame will add one of the nation’s top five incoming freshman classes for 2016-17, featuring a pair of national high school players of the year in Gatorade Award recipient Erin Boley (Hodgenville, Ky./Elizabethtown) and Naismith Award honoree Jackie Young (Princeton, Ind./Princeton Community).
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, visit the main women’s basketball page on the University’s official athletics web site (UND.com/ndwbb), sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter and Instagram pages (@ndwbb), like the program on Facebook or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
Here’s a closer look at the 2015-16 Fighting Irish women’s basketball award recipients:
A two-time Nancy Lieberman Award finalist, junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen has dished out more assists in her first three seasons (559) than any player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history, and more than all but one returning NCAA Division I player in 2016-17.
Lindsay Allen (Jr., G, Mitchellville, Md./St. John’s College)
Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP
Allen is not only a first-time recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player award, but also the first returning underclass player chosen as the Monogram Club MVP since 2009, when another Fighting Irish point guard, Melissa Lechlitner, earned the first of back-to-back honors.
This season, Allen was a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the country’s top point guard and was chosen as a WBCA honorable mention All-American and a first-team All-ACC selection. She led the conference in both assists (5.8 apg. — 20th in nation) and assist/turnover ratio (2.52 — 14th in nation) while averaging 9.3 points per game. She also was one of only four players from Power Five conferences to rank among the top 20 nationally in both assists and assist/turnover ratio, joining Baylor’s Niya Johnson, Maryland’s Brene Moseley and Nebraska’s Rachel Theriot in that exclusive company.
During conference play, Allen likewise led the ACC in those two categories with 5.6 assists per game and a 2.43 assist/turnover ratio, while ranking third in the league with a .549 field-goal percentage.
In addition to being a Lieberman Award finalist, Allen also was named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 List and was chosen as the ACC Player of the Week on Dec. 28 after collecting 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds a week earlier at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.). She also was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team after averaged 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists with a 2.25 assist/turnover ratio in helping the Fighting Irish to their third consecutive ACC postseason title.
For the second year in a row, Allen saved her best performances for the postseason, averaging 14.3 points, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game with a .607 field-goal percentage and a 4.40 assist/turnover ratio during this season’s NCAA Championship. She also scored at least 20 points in two of Notre Dame’s three NCAA tournament games this year, dropping in a season-high 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting in a second-round win over Indiana and 20 points in the NCAA Lexington Regional semifinal (Sweet 16) against No. 13/16 Stanford.
Allen has started every game of her Notre Dame career (a school-record 112 in a row) and she enters her senior campaign with more assists (559) and a higher assist/turnover ratio (2.29) than any Fighting Irish player during her first three season in the program’s 39-year history. She also is second in career assists among returning NCAA Division I players for 2016-17, trailing only Northwestern’s Ashley Deary (590).
Allen is enrolled in Notre Dame’s top-ranked Mendoza College of Business as a management-consulting major. She also is in her second year as a participant in the Notre Dame department of athletics’ renowned Rosenthal Leadership Academy.
Madison Cable will go down as one of the 10 greatest three-point shooters (in terms of percentage) in NCAA Division I history, connecting on 45.6 percent of her shots from beyond the arc during her Notre Dame career.
Madison Cable (Grad., G, Mt. Lebanon, Pa./Mt. Lebanon)
Woody Miller Player of the Year (voted by media)
Most Improved Player Award
Cable earned both the Woody Miller Player of the Year and Most Improved Player award for the first time in her career, sharing the latter honor with Westbeld. It marks the second time in program history two players have received the Most Improved Player award and the first since 2007 when Tulyah Gaines and Erica Williamson were the award’s co-recipients.
Cable was an honorable mention All-America selection by both the Associated Press and the WBCA this season, while also garnering first-team All-ACC recognition after posting career-high averages in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and double-doubles.
A first-time starter, Cable ranked among the top 20 in the ACC in five different categories, including a conference-best .471 three-point percentage (good for No. 5 in the nation). She also was eighth in the ACC in three-pointers per game (2.1), 10th in steals (1.7 spg.; career-high 61 overall), 15th in field-goal percentage (.499) and 17th in scoring (13.7 ppg.) with three double-doubles to her credit and led the team with a career-high 28 double-figure scoring games.
In conference games, Cable ranked fourth in the ACC in free-throw percentage (.850), seventh in three-point percentage (.385), 15th in field-goal percentage (.472) and 23rd in scoring (12.2 ppg.).
Cable was especially successful against Top 25 opponents this season, averaging 15.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with a .517 three-point percentage and all three of her double-doubles. She also was named the Most Valuable Player of the Junkanoo Jam’s Freeport Division on Nov. 28 after averaging 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds with a .688 field-goal percentage in leading Notre Dame to wins over Denver and UCLA to claim the tournament title.
Cable was sharp during the ACC Tournament, earning Most Valuable Player honors after averaging 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds with a stellar .611 three-point percentage in the three Notre Dame wins. She was at her best in the championship game against No. 17 Syracuse, pouring in 18 points on the strength of a career-high 6-of-9 three-pointers, while grabbing eight rebounds for good measure.
Cable will depart Notre Dame ranked No. 10 on the NCAA’s Division I career three-point list and second in Fighting Irish history (.456). She also is tied for third on the school’s career games played list (145), fourth in program history for consecutive games with a made three-point field goal (19 from Nov. 15, 2015-Jan. 21, 2016), seventh in Notre Dame annals with a .816 career free-throw percentage, eighth in program history for career three-point field goals made (152) and tied for 30th on Fighting Irish career scoring list (1,060).
Cable, who earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters in May 2015, now turns her attention to the 2016 WNBA Draft, which will take place at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, with the first round televised live on ESPN2 and the final two rounds on ESPNU. Cable is aiming to join a group of 13 Notre Dame players who have been selected in the WNBA Draft during the past 15 seasons, with five Fighting Irish players currently appearing on WNBA rosters — Natalie Achonwa and Devereaux Peters (Indiana Fever), Skylar Diggins (Dallas Wings), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm) and Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars).
In each of her first two seasons at Notre Dame, Brianna Turner has ranked in the top five in the country in field-goal percentage while becoming just the second Fighting Irish player to record at least 80 blocked shots in consecutive seasons.
Brianna Turner (So., F, Pearland, Texas/Manvel)
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Turner is the fourth consecutive two-time recipient of Notre Dame’s Defensive Player of the Year award, following in the footsteps of fellow two-year selections Ashley Barlow (2009-10), Brittany Mallory (2011-12) and Loyd (2013-14). Turner also is the sixth two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the past 15 seasons, with the others being Le’Tania Severe (2003-04) and Breona Gray (2005-07).
Turner was a consensus All-America selection in 2015-16, collecting first-team honors from the WBCA, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), John R. Wooden Award and Sports Illustrated, and second-team accolades from the Associated Press and espnW. She also was named a finalist for the Honda Sport Award and WBCA Wade Trophy, made the semifinalist chart for the Naismith Trophy and was on the final ballot for the Wooden Award.
In addition, Turner earned the ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards through a vote of the league’s 15 head coaches, while also garnering All-ACC First Team and ACC All-Defensive Team accolades for the second consecutive season.
Despite missing six games with a shoulder injury early in the season, Turner was one of the ACC’s most consistent players all year long, starting the other 29 games she suited up for and leading the conference in field-goal percentage (.593 — also fifth in nation) and blocked shots (3.0 bpg. — 13th in nation), while ranking 10th in the ACC in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and 11th in scoring (14.6 ppg.) with five double-doubles. She also is one of just two players in the nation (along with Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart) to rank among the top 13 in both field-goal percentage and blocked shots.
Turner was equally strong during conference games, leading the ACC in field-goal percentage (.658) and blocks (2.9 bpg.), while ranking eighth in scoring (15.4 ppg.) and 12th in rebounding (7.3 rpg.).
After blocking 89 blocks as a rookie last year, Turner recorded 88 blocked shots this season, ranking fifth on Notre Dame’s single-season blocks list. In fact, she joins Ruth Riley as the only Fighting Irish players ever to post multiple 80-block seasons — Riley did so during her final three years under the Golden Dome from 1998-99 through 2000-01.
Turner was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team for the second year in a row on March 6 after nearly averaging a double-double with 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game in three Fighting Irish victories. She tallied a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) in the championship game win over No. 17 Syracuse after narrowly missing a double-double (17 points, nine rebounds) in a semifinal victory over No. 21 Miami a day earlier.
Turner also was solid during the NCAA Championship, averaging 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game with a .575 field-goal percentage and two double-doubles in three games.
Through her first two seasons, Turner already ranks second in program history with a .624 career field-goal percentage and 2.72 career blocks per game, while standing third in Notre Dame annals with 177 career blocks and eighth with 7.6 career rebounds per game.
Turner is enrolled in Notre Dame’s top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, where she is still deciding on her major.
As a first-time starter in 2015-16, Kathryn Westbeld averaged career highs of 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while ranking 11th in the ACC with a career-best .526 field-goal percentage.
Kathryn Westbeld (So., F, Kettering, Ohio/Kettering Fairmont)
Most Improved Player Award
After emerging as one of Notre Dame’s top reserves during her freshman season, Westbeld moved into the Fighting Irish lineup for the first time this year, starting all 33 games she suited up for (she missed the final two regular-season games with an ankle injury) and averaging career highs of 7.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game with a .528 field-goal percentage that was good for 11th in the ACC. She also scored in double figures a career-high 13 times and recorded her second career double-double on Dec. 12 with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a win at TCU.
Westbeld is studying in Notre Dame’s top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, where she has not yet declared her major.
Hannah Huffman was a key contributor to Notre Dame’s success throughout her career, including this season when she averaged career highs of 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Hannah Huffman (Sr., G, Diablo, Calif./Carondelet)
One of the hardest-working players to come through the Notre Dame program in recent seasons, Huffman was a key contributor to Fighting Irish fortunes throughout her career, most notably during her final two seasons as she evolved into a team leader and important voice in the locker room.
Huffman appeared in all 35 games for Notre Dame this season, earning five starts (the first of her career). For the second year in a row, she also set career highs in nearly every statistical category, including scoring (2.5 ppg.), rebounds (2.8 rpg.), field-goal percentage (.571), assists (1.5 apg.), steals (0.9 spg.) and minutes played (14.2 mpg.).
She made particularly strong contributions during the postseason, ranking third on the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg.) during Notre Dame’s run to its third consecutive ACC tournament title and its seventh consecutive NCAA Sweet 16.
A three-time conference all-academic selection (with the 2016 ACC squad still to be announced) and a two-time recipient of the team’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award, Huffman is completing work on her bachelor’s degree in finance from Notre Dame’s top-ranked Mendoza College of Business and will graduate from the University next month.
Although she was not able to suit up this year due to a preseason knee injury, Ali Patberg maintained her tremendous work ethic in the classroom, compiling a 3.625 cumulative GPA in Notre Dame’s First Year of Studies program.
Ali Patberg (Fr., G, Columbus, Ind./Columbus North)
Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award
Despite missing the 2015-16 campaign with a knee injury suffered during preseason practice, Patberg has been working hard, both in her rehabilitation protocol and in the classroom, and the results are clearly evident.
Patberg has compiled a 3.625 cumulative grade-point average while participating in Notre Dame’s First Year of Studies program. The 2015 Indiana Miss Basketball and MaxPreps National High School Player of the Year, Patberg plans to enroll in the top-ranked Mendoza College of Business next year, in addition to returning to the basketball court once she is cleared by team medical personnel.
— ND —
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).