Dec. 26, 2017
|Game 13: #2/2 Notre Dame (11-1) vs (RV/23) Syracuse (12-1)|
|When:||Thursday, Dec. 28 | 7:00 pm ET|
|Where:||Notre Dame, Ind. | Purcell Pavilion (9,149)|
|Listen:||PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)|
|Notes:||Notre Dame | Syracuse|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 2/2 Notre Dame women’s basketball team (11-1) kicks off year No. 5 in ACC play when the Irish host (RV/23) Syracuse (12-1) on Thursday, Dec. 28, inside Purcell Pavilion. The contest will get underway at 7 p.m. ET and stream live on ACC Network Extra.
Marina Mabrey has reached double-digit points in three straight games. It started with 15 points at Penn on Dec. 9, followed by a 13-point effort vs DePaul on Dec. 17, followed by 19 points in the overtime win over Marquette on Dec. 20. In the three-game stretch, Mabrey is averaging 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds, where she also set than tied her career high of eight rebounds.
Mabrey achieved her first 5-5-5 game of the season vs DePaul, tacking on eight rebounds and six assists. Then Mabrey scored 14 of her 19 points by half vs Marquette, ultimately playing all 45 minutes before tying her season highs in assists (6), blocks (2) and steals (3).
Next, Kathryn Westbeld is certainly heating up, averaging 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds over the last three games, raising her scoring average from 4.1 to 5.8 in the process. Westbeld has also raised her shooting percentage from .636 to .692 along the way as well.
The senior secured her first double-double of the year and fifth of her career with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the overtime win vs Marquette on Dec. 20. The game prior, Westbeld earned 10 points vs DePaul on 4-of-5 shooting from the field.
OVERTIME IN PURCELL
In the 17th overtime game in Purcell Pavilion history, the Fighting Irish emerged with the 91-85 victory over Marquette, improving their record to 11-6 in home overtime games all-time. Down 73-70 with 44 seconds left in regulation, Westbeld drew a foul and converted the first free throw before her second free throw went long, when she then grabbed the offensive board and made the put-back, evening the score at 73-73 and sending the game to overtime. Westbeld then added four more points in the overtime period along with 10 points from Ogunbowale, who finished with a team high 22 points.
Three Irish players finished with double-doubles for the first time since Dec. 10, 2014, at DePaul, when Jewell Loyd (41 points/12 rebounds), Madison Cable (20 points/11 rebounds) and Taya Reimer (15 points/11 rebounds) all achieved the feat. This time around it was Westbeld (13 points/10 rebounds), Shepard (13 points/12 rebounds) and Young (10 points/10 rebounds).
Lastly, it also marked the second time this season in which six Irish players reached double figures.
CHASING ACC HISTORY
In 2017, the Irish tied Duke’s record when they swept both the ACC regular season championship and ACC Tournament title for the fourth consecutive year. If Notre Dame were to sweep for the fifth straight year, it would set a new ACC record.
The Irish enter ACC play an impressive 62-2 against league schools since joining for the 2013-14 season. Notre Dame became the second school in league history to have only one conference loss in a three-year span (Duke 2001-02 through 03-04).
Furthermore, Notre Dame is 32-0 at Purcell Pavilion in ACC play, going 8-0 in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. In fact, the Irish have never lost at home to an (active at game time) ACC team in Muffet McGraw’s 30 years at the helm. The last time Notre Dame lost at the Joyce Center to a team representing the ACC was a 69-48 setback against No. 20 Maryland on Jan. 10, 1987.
When looking at conference play in general, Notre Dame is an impressive 93-3 over the last six years and has won six straight regular season conference titles (2 Big East, 4 ACC).
FINDING ANOTHER GEAR IN SECOND HALF
In the past two games, the Irish have found another gear coming out of the locker room at the half, shooting over 55 percent in the second half. Notre Dame shot 66.7 percent (16-24 FG) in the second half vs DePaul on Dec. 17, then followed that with a 56.0 percent (14-25 FG) shooting effort vs Marquette on Dec. 20.
Syracuse enter Thursday’s game with a 12-1 record, receiving votes in the AP Poll and ranked No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. The Orange started the year 11-0 before falling to No. 5/3 Mississippi State, 76-65, in Las Vegas on Dec. 21. Syracuse ranks 10th in the country in three-point field goals made (120) and third in attempts (416).
Miranda Drummond leads the Orange with 17.3 points per game and has scored in double figures in all but one game. Tiana Mangakahia, who averages 16.0 ppg, not only leads the team, but the entire nation, in assists per game (10.8), and as a result boasts nine double-doubles on the year. Finally, Gabrielle Cooper rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.7 ppg. Cooper ranks 33rd in the nation with her 36 made three-point field goals.
Josh Bates joined Fighting Irish Media as associate athletics communications director in July of 2017, serving as the women’s basketball and men’s golf contact. Bates earned both his bachelor’s (2011) and master’s (2014) degree in sports management from the University of Illinois. He also worked as a grad assistant at Illinois from 2012-14 and worked full-time at Tulane University from 2014-17.