Nov. 13, 2017
|Game 2: #6/5 Notre Dame (1-0) vs (RV) Western Kentucky (1-1)|
|When:||Tuesday, Nov. 14 | 8:00 pm ET|
|Where:||Bowling Green, Ky. | Diddle Arena (7,326)|
|Watch:||Fox College Sports|
|Listen:||PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)|
|Notes:||Notre Dame | Western Kentucky|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 6/5 Notre Dame women’s basketball team (1-0) hits the road for the first team for the 2017-18 season when it heads to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to challenge Western Kentucky (1-1) on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Tip-off will commence at 8 p.m. ET inside Diddle Arena, airing live on Fox College Sports.
Tuesday’s road battle with the Lady Toppers kicks off the November road gauntlet for the Irish in which they play seven straight away from Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame’s offense flew out of the starting gate in its season opener on Nov. 11, rolling over Mount St. Mary’s by the score of 121-65. The 121 points marked the third most points in a single-game in Irish history and most since it scored 120 versus Pittsburgh on Jan. 17, 2012.
The final tally also marked the most in a season opener since Notre Dame defeated Liberty, 113-35, on Nov. 24, 1989. Furthermore, it tied for the second best offensive showing in all of Division I women’s basketball the entire opening weekend, matching Baylor’s 121-62 victory over Lamar and only trailing UCLA’s 129-69 rout over San Jose State.
Junior transfer Jessica Shepard got the Irish started offensively versus Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 11, accounting for nine of Notre Dame’s first 19 points, knocking down five of her first six shots. Shepard ultimately finished with a double-double, notching 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
In her two seasons at Nebraska, Shepard tallied 25 total double-doubles, which already ranked as the fifth best all-time.
THOMPSON ASSUMES POINT
After eight combined years of stability at the point guard position between Irish greats Skylar Diggins-Smith and Lindsay Allen, Coach McGraw turned to transfer Lili Thompson to take the mantle for the 2017-18 season. In the season opener versus Mount St. Mary’s, Thompson nearly netted a double-double with 10 points and eight assists, as the latter tied for the most assists by a Notre Dame player in a season opener over the past 15 years – joining the likes of Diggins-Smith, Allen (2x) and Megan Duffy (2x).
In fact, Thompson’s eight assists marked the highest debut of any ACC point guard in a season opener this year.
After transferring from Stanford, Thompson looks to bring plenty of veteran leadership and experience to this year’s squad. A two-time All-Pac-12 selection, Thompson became the 36th Stanford player to reach 1,000 career points during the 2015-16 season after averaging 14.7 ppg on 37.5 percent shooting. The Mansfield, Texas, native ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage (.777), eighth in three-pointers made per game (2.0), 11th in scoring and 11th in assists (3.6).
Another stat to take away from Notre Dame’s 121-65 season opening win over The Mount was the fact that the Irish tallied 10 total blocks in the game. It marked the most since they collected 10 versus Syracuse on Jan. 21, 2016. It also marked the highest showing of any ACC team over the weekend and sixth best in the country. St. John’s and Norfolk State tied for the top spot with 14.
ABOUT WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky started the season with a bang, upsetting No. 16/16 Missouri this past Friday by the score, 79-76, picking up its third victory over a ranked team in as many seasons. However, the Lady Toppers weren’t able to capitalize on the momentum, falling 104-97, the very next day at Iowa.
Senior forward Tashia Brown was named the C-USA Player of the Week after averaging 23 points over the two contests, including her third career 30-point performance against the Tigers. Brown scored 11 of the team’s final 14 points against Missouri, and finished 10-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Ivy Brown and Dee Givens follow right behind, averaging 18.5 points and 18.0 points, respectively, as Brown is shooting over 60.0 percent from the field and from three-point range. Sidnee Bopp averages 29.0 minutes off the bench and leads the team in made three-pointers (7), while connecting on 53.8 percent from beyond the arc.
As a result, WKU has been prolific from three, as its .489 three-point shooting percentage ranks 23rd in the country and its 11.0 three-pointers per game ranks 11th.
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.