Feb. 3, 2018
|Game 24: #5/5 Notre Dame (21-2, 9-1) at #19/19 Duke (18-5, 7-3)|
|When:||Sunday, Feb. 4 | 1:00 pm ET|
|Where:||Durham, N.C. | Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)|
|Watch:||ESPN2 | WatchESPN | Pam Ward, Gail Goestenkors, Courtney Lyle|
|Listen:||Pulse FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)|
|Notes:||Notre Dame | Duke|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 5 University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team carries its momentum into Cameron Indoor Stadium this Sunday, when the Irish (21-2, 9-1) engage in another ranked showdown, this time at No. 19 Duke (18-5, 7-3). The game will be broadcasted nationally on ESPN2, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Graduate student Kristina ‘Koko’ Nelson has made the most of her time off the bench as of late. Over the last four games, Koko has doubled both her season scoring and rebounding averages with 9.5 points and 5.8 rebounds, respectively. In fact, Koko has reached double-digit points in two straight games, tallying 11 points at both FSU and vs UNC, knocking down a season best five made field goals in each.
Koko leads the team in field goal percentage, converting 63.4 percent from the floor. During conference play, Koko is averaging 7.3 points on 63.8 percent shooting.
The Georgia native now has four double-digit scoring performances this season, which tops the three she had in her career entering her final year.
With Notre Dame’s 94-62 victory over North Carolina on Feb. 1, the Irish captured its fourth straight win of 30 or more points, tying a program record within conference play. The 1998-99 squad originated the feat with Big East victories over Seton Hall, St. John’s, Syracuse and Providence. The overall mark for consecutive 30-point wins is five, achieved early in the 2014-15 season, spanning Nov. 21-30
DEALS AND STEALS
In ACC play only, the Irish rank first in assists (20.6), steals (10.9), turnover margin (+3.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4), proving that Notre Dame is clicking on multiple fronts right now. The Irish have surpassed the 20-assist mark three times over the last four games, including a season best of 28 vs the Tar Heels on Feb. 1. Defensively the Irish have collected at least 14 steals on five occasions over the last six games.
One can certainly thank junior Marina Mabrey for the statistical surge. Mabrey averages 5.4 assists in ACC play, which ranks second, and has dished out a season best eight assists both vs Boston College on Jan. 14 and vs UNC. Overall, Mabrey has been the very definition of consistency, dishing out 5+ assists in 11 of the past 13 games.
On the defensive end, Mabrey has tied her season high of five steals four times in the last seven games. The junior averages 2.9 steals per game in ACC play, which ranks second.
Sophomore Jackie Young has proven to be very reliable in big-game situations. In the past three games vs top-10 teams, Young has produced the following: 23 points at No. 3 Louisville, 18 points vs No. 6 Tennessee and 16 points at No. 8 FSU — thus averaging 19.0 points.
The Irish continue to up the defensive ante as of late. In fact, Notre Dame’s defense has forced a total of 129 turnovers that resulted in a combined 141 points over the last six games. The Irish have forced over 20 turnovers in four of the last six games.
UNC — 22 turnovers resulting in 27 points
FSU — 17 turnovers resulting in 15 points
Pitt — 19 turnovers resulting in 25 points
Boston College — 20 turnovers resulting in 20 points
Tennessee — 28 turnovers resulting in 28 points
Clemson — 23 turnovers resulting in 26 points
CAREER VS DUKE
Notre Dame is 15-1 all-time vs Duke, with the lone loss occurring back on Nov. 22, 1997. The Irish have since won 13 straight.
The two squared off twice last season, with the Irish claiming a 62-58 victory at home, then an 84-61 win at the ACC Tournament. Arike Ogunbowale scored a team high 21 points in the latter.
ABOUT THE BLUE DEVILS
No. 19 Duke enters with an 18-5 overall record and 7-3 mark in ACC play. After suffering back-to-back losses to Miami and No. 3 Louisville to kick off league play, the Blue Devils have rebounded by winning seven-of-eight, including three in a row.
Lexie Brown (20.6 ppg), Rebecca Greenwell (12.9 ppg) and Haley Gorecki (11.5 ppg) all average double-figures. All three shoot above 41.0 percent from three, rank in the top-45 nationally in three-point shooting percentage and are the main reason the Blue Devils rank second in the nation shooting 41.6 percent from beyond the arc.