Jan. 27, 2018
|Game 22: #5/5 Notre Dame (19-2, 7-1) at #8/8 Florida State (18-2, 6-1)|
|When:||Sunday, Jan. 28 | 4:00 pm ET|
|Where:||Tallahassee, Fla. | Donald L. Tucker Civic Center (12,100)|
|Watch:||ESPN2 | WatchESPN | Pam Ward (PxP) | Gail Goestenkors (Analyst)|
|Listen:||Pulse FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)|
|Notes:||Notre Dame | Florida State|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 5 University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team hits the road to Tallahassee to challenge No. 8 Florida State in a matchup with major ACC standings implications. The Irish (19-2, 7-1), vying for their second top-10 win on the season, will tip-off against the Seminoles (18-2, 6-1) at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, broadcasting live on ESPN2.
CAREER VS FSU
Having never squared off before Notre Dame joined the ACC, the Irish have owned the series over the past four years, boasting a 6-0 all-time record against the Seminoles. Notre Dame, who has swept the regular season and tournament championships all four years since joining the ACC, has been followed right behind by Florida State, who finished as the regular season runner-up in both 2015 and 2017.
Mabrey has totaled 21 points in two games against the Noles, while Ogunbowale has performed the best with a combined 30 points in two games.
Jessica Shepard continued her hot streak this past Thursday at Pitt, notching her seventh double-double of the season with 28 points and a season-high tying 12 rebounds.
Shepard scored 13 points in the first quarter at Pitt, marking the fourth time this season in which she has reached double-digits in the opening period. Midway through the first half, Shepard recorded a stretch in which she scored 15 of Notre Dame’s next 17 points, ultimately finishing with 28 for the game, marking the most in a road contest this season.
In addition, the junior continues to ride her season high streak of consecutive double-digit scoring games, extending the number to seven. Within that streak, Shepard has surpassed the 24-point mark twice.
Furthermore, the Nebraska native is shooting 66.7 percent over the last four games, raising her season shooting percentage to 57.0 percent, which ranks fourth in the ACC and 34th in the nation.
A DEFENSIVE FRONT
The Irish continue to up the defensive ante as of late. In fact, Notre Dame’s defense has forced a total of 90 turnovers that resulted in a combined 99 points over the last four games:
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
That’s not all. Notre Dame’s defense put an emphatic stamp on the fourth quarter vs Clemson, holding the Tigers to 1-for-11 from the field for three points, marking the fewest points allowed in a quarter by the Irish since NCAA Division I women’s hoops moved to the four-quarter system.
Despite injuries/set-backs, Notre Dame has continued to obtain the program standard of success in the face of stiff competition. The Irish possess both the No. 1 strength of schedule and No. 2 ranked RPI. Meanwhile, the ACC ranks first in conference RPI as evidenced by the fact that Florida State marks the team’s second top-10 matchup of the conference season.
Speaking of top-10 matchups, Sunday’s contest marks Notre Dame’s fourth of the year, tying UConn and Tennessee for the most up to this point.
All-in-all, Notre Dame’s win over No. 6 Tennessee marked the team’s fifth victory over an AP top-25 ranked team and second over a top-10 team. The five ranked victories tie Louisville for the second most, and trail just UConn’s six. Furthermore, the Irish currently boast eight wins over RPI top-50 opponents
DEALS & STEALS
When looking for an Irish player surging in multiple aspects of her game, look no further than Marina Mabrey. Over the last two weeks, the New Jersey native has increased both her assist and steal averages, all while maintaining a double-digit scoring average of 12.7.
Since taking over primary point guard duties (due to Thompson injury) on Jan. 4 vs Miami, Mabrey has risen her assist per game average from 3.4 to 4.1, as the latter ranks 9th in the ACC.
Mabrey has averaged 6.3 assists over the last four games, including a season high of eight vs Boston College on Jan. 14. Overall, Mabrey has been the very definition of consistency, dishing out 5+ assists in 10 of the past 11 games. In ACC play only, Mabrey’s 5.4 assists per game average ranks fourth.
On the defensive end, Mabrey has tied her season high of five steals three times in the last five games. The junior has risen her steal per game average from 1.2 to 2.0, which now leads the team and ranks 10th in the ACC. Her 2.8 steals per game in ACC play ranks third.
ABOUT THE SEMINOLES
Florida State enters with an 18-2 overall record and a 6-1 mark in ACC play. The Seminoles are coming off of their highest-ranked win ever with a 50-49 victory at then No. 2 Louisville. Sunday’s contest vs Notre Dame will mark just the third AP Top-10 women’s basketball matchup inside the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Shakayla Thomas leads the team with 18.5 points per game, which ranks fifth in the ACC. She is followed closely by Imani Wright’s 17.9 scoring average, which ranks sixth. Wright also ranks first in the ACC in three’s per game at 3.6.