Dec. 4, 2015
by Chris Masters
2015-16 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 8
14th annual Jimmy V Women’s Classic
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. #1/1 Connecticut Huskies (5-0 / 0-0 AAC)
DATE: Dec. 5, 2015
TIME: 5:15 p.m. ET
AT: Storrs, Conn. – Gampel Pavilion (10,167)
SERIES: UCONN leads 33-11
STREAK: UCONN – won 4
1ST MTG: UCONN 87-64 (1/18/96)
LAST MTG: UCONN 63-53 (4/7/15)
TV: ESPN/WatchESPN (live) (Dave O’Brien – p-b-p / Doris Burke – color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
- Notre Dame is playing in the Jimmy V Women’s Classic for the second consecutive year.
- The Fighting Irish faces the second of three ranked opponents in a seven-day span.
Rivalry Resumes As No. 3 Fighting Irish Visit No. 1 UConn Saturday
It’s been the best rivalry in women’s college basketball for the past five seasons (and some would say well before that), as No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 1 Connecticut meet for the 45th time in their storied history at 5:15 p.m. (ET) Saturday in the 14th annual Jimmy V Women’s Classic at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut. The game will be televised live on ESPN and the WatchESPN app, with radio coverage on South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and worldwide online via the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
The Fighting Irish (7-0) picked up its first win over a ranked foe this season with a 75-72 victory over No. 10/12 Ohio State on Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Purcell Pavilion.
Graduate student guard Madison Cable had a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds, capped off by a clutch three-pointer with 56.2 seconds left and two insurance free throws with 7.5 seconds to play. Junior guard Lindsay Allen added a season-high 20 points, six rebounds and five assists for Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame is No. 3 in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Connecticut is No. 1 in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 1 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 159 consecutive weeks (the past 89 weeks in the AP Top 10), extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll, and ranking sixth in the nation among active AP poll appearances.
- Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for 101 of 112 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (112).
- Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (57 of 63 weeks) spent in the top five of the Associated Press poll.
- Notre Dame also is ranked No. 3 in this week’s Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll. It’s the eighth consecutive season and 14 of the past 18 years the Fighting Irish have appeared in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll.
- Notre Dame ranks among the top 15 in seven NCAA statistical categories (as of Friday), including five top-10 rankings — three-point field-goal percentage (5th – .412), scoring offense (6th – 86.4 ppg.), scoring margin (10th – +26.5 ppg.), assists (10th – 20.0 apg.) and field-goal percentage (10th – .490). The Fighting Irish also rank 11th in assist/turnover ratio (1.40) and 13th in turnover margin (+7.29), while tying for first in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (1.000).
- Notre Dame has a remarkable tradition of success at home inside Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 422-91 (.823) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 99-6 (.943) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 75 of their last 79 games against conference opponents (and 26 in a row at home), dating back to their membership in the BIG EAST.
- Since joining the ACC prior to the 2013-14 season, Notre Dame is 38-1 against conference foes (31-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason). The last ACC school to lose only once in regular-season conference play during a two-year span was Duke in 2003 and 2004.
- Guards Madison Cable, Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey have helped Notre Dame to a 115-6 (.950) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year’s senior class of Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright as the most successful in Fighting Irish history. Holloway and Wright helped Notre Dame to a 143-10 (.935) record in their four-year careers.
- Since they first suited up at Notre Dame in 2012-13, Cable, Huffman and Mabrey have paced Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship games and three NCAA Women’s Final Fours (plus three conference regular season titles and three league tournament crowns), as well as a 40-5 (.889) record against ranked teams (23-5 against top-10 opponents).
- With 706 victories in her 29 seasons at Notre Dame, head coach Muffet McGraw ranks second on the Fighting Irish athletics all-time coaching wins list (across all sports), trailing only men’s/women’s fencing coach Michael DeCicco (774-80 from 1962-95).
- With 794 career wins, McGraw ranks 10th in NCAA Division I coaching history (seventh among active coaches). She also is one of two ACC coaches in the top 10 all-time, along with current North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell (second all-time/first among active with 966 as of Friday).
The Notre Dame-Connecticut Series
Notre Dame and Connecticut will square off for the 45th time on Saturday, making this the most frequently-played series in Fighting Irish women’s basketball history. The Huskies hold a 33-11 edge over Notre Dame and have won the past four matchups between the former BIG EAST Conference rivals, including meetings in the the past two NCAA national championship games, as well as last year’s Jimmy V Classic.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Connecticut Met
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Moriah Jefferson each scored 15 points to lead Connecticut to a 63-53 victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA national championship game on April 7, 2015, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
Breanna Stewart added 15 rebounds and eight points for UConn (38-1).
Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd did all she could to get the Fighting Irish over the top. Loyd had 12 points, going 4-of-18 from the field. She missed all eight of her shots in the second half.
Coach Muffet McGraw had her team back in the championship game for the fourth time in five seasons. The Fighting Irish have come up short each time, including the last two against UConn. Notre Dame’s lone title came in 2001.
The Fighting Irish (36-3) were able to slow UConn in the early going, not letting the Huskies get any kind of run going on offense.
After Notre Dame cut it to five to start the second half, UConn scored seven straight to open up a double-digit advantage. The Fighting Irish wouldn’t go away, thanks to Brianna Turner, who missed the earlier meeting which the Huskies won by 18 points.
She had eight straight points for Notre Dame in the second half, including banking in a shot from the top of the key as the shot clock was reaching zero. That got the Fighting Irish within 54-48 with 6:30 remaining.
After the teams traded baskets, Mosqueda-Lewis scored seven straight to restore the double-digit advantage with just over four minutes left and Notre Dame couldn’t recover.
Turner finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Connecticut Met at Gampel Pavilion
Skylar Diggins scored 19 points, hitting big shot after big shot in the second half, to lift fifth-ranked Notre Dame to a 73-72 victory over the top-ranked Huskies on Jan. 5, 2013, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.
This was the latest victory for the Fighting Irish, who also ended UConn’s season the previous two years by beating the Huskies at the Final Four.
With UConn poised to pull away in the second half, Diggins hit back-to-back three-pointers to keep her team in the game.
Later with the shot clock about to run out, Diggins hit a leaner from the wing.
Finally, with the Fighting Irish down by one with 49.4 seconds left, she got fouled on a drive and calmly sank both free throws. It would be the last points of the game.
The Huskies had a few chances to pull out the win in the final 30 seconds, but in front of a sellout crowd of 10,127, they fell short.
Breanna Stewart had her shot blocked in the lane. The Huskies maintained possession and then after a timeout, Stewart missed a jumper from the top of the key. Kelly Faris grabbed the rebound giving UConn one more chance, but Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis caught the ball in the corner and her wide-open three-point try fell off the rim.
The Fighting Irish grabbed the loose ball and Diggins ran out the clock.
UConn trailed by two at the half and took a 48-44 lead on Stefanie Dolson’s layup with 16:18 left in the game. The Huskies led 63-60 with eight minutes left before Notre Dame scored five quick points. Neither team could get more than a two-point lead the rest of the way.
Mosqueda-Lewis finished with 17 points.
Stewart scored all 10 of her points in the second half after missing her first five shots. She also had six blocks and nine rebounds.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Connecticut Met in the Jimmy V Classic
Jewell Loyd did all she could to lead Notre Dame over rival Connecticut.
Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, the preseason All-American’s teammates did little on offense in No. 2/1 Notre Dame’s 76-58 loss to third-ranked UConn on Dec. 6, 2014, in the Jimmy V Classic at Purcell Pavilion.
Loyd tied her (then) career high with 31 points, but the other four Fighting Irish starters had just 20 points combined.
Loyd scored 15 points in the first 10 minutes as Notre Dame jumped out to a 28-18 advantage much to the delight of the sellout crowd. Then UConn took over, scoring 16 straight during a 22-4 run to close the half.
It didn’t get much better in the second half for the Fighting Irish. Morgan Tuck scored six points during a 10-2 run to open the second half for UConn and extend the lead. Loyd tried to keep the Fighting Irish in it. She caught an acrobatic alley-oop and was fouled to get Notre Dame within 14, but the Fighting Irish couldn’t get much closer.
Other Notre Dame-Connecticut Series Tidbits
- Connecticut is Notre Dame’s most common opponent, with all 44 prior matchups coming since the 1995-96 season when the Fighting Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference alongside the Huskies. The next most frequent opponent in Notre Dame women’s basketball history is DePaul, which the Fighting Irish will play for the 42nd time next Wednesday (Dec. 9) at Purcell Pavilion.
- In the 15 series games between Notre Dame and Connecticut since the start of the 2010-11 season, 10 of those contests have been decided by 10 points or less, including the first three in series history to go to overtime (all won by the Fighting Irish, most recently in triple OT on March 4, 2013, at Purcell Pavilion). What’s more, in six of those 10 close games, the eventual losing team had a possession in the final 30 seconds of regulation but could not come up with the tying/winning shot.
- The March 4, 2013, triple-overtime game is the longest in Notre Dame women’s basketball history, supplanting four double-OT contests (the last an 86-83 loss to UCLA on Nov. 18, 2010, at Purcell Pavilion).
- All 11 of Notre Dame’s wins in the series have come since the start of the 2000-01 season.
- With seven wins in their last 12 games against Connecticut, the Fighting Irish are the first team since 1981-89 (Villanova) to have that kind of success against the Huskies. During that stretch, Villanova won its first 14 series games against the Huskies before Connecticut broke through.
- This will mark the 22nd time both teams have been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll at tipoff, with Connecticut holding a slim 11-10 series edge in these games.
- Notre Dame and Connecticut have split 16 previous matchups when both teams were ranked in the top five of the AP poll, with this marking the 12th consecutive series meeting that both the Fighting Irish and Huskies are ranked fifth or higher by the media at tipoff.
- Saturday’s game will be the 34th time in the 45-game series that both teams will be ranked at tipoff. At least one team has been ranked in every game of the series.
- Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Connecticut has lost by 15-plus points seven times, with three coming to Notre Dame (twice in 2000-01, once in 2003-04).
- With 11 victories over the Huskies since 2000-01, Notre Dame has more than double the number of wins over Connecticut by any school in the nation in the past 16 seasons. Rutgers has five wins over the Huskies in that time, while Stanford (4), Tennessee (4) and North Carolina (3) are the only other schools with at least three victories against Connecticut since the start of the new century.
- Notre Dame junior forward/tri-captain Taya Reimer was a starter on this past summer’s USA Basketball Pan American Games Team, pairing up with two current Connecticut seniors (guard Moriah Jefferson and forward Breanna Stewart) while pacing the Americans to a 4-1 record and the silver medal in Toronto, Ontario. In fact, Reimer and Stewart were roommates during the tournament and continue to stay in touch.
- One other Notre Dame tie-in on that Pan Am Games team — the Team USA athletic trainer was none other than Fighting Irish athletic trainer Anne Marquez.
- Notre Dame senior guard/tri-captain Michaela Mabrey was a member of the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team, playing alongside Jefferson, Stewart and another Connecticut senior forward, Morgan Tuck and helping the Americans to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. When healthy, that quartet comprised the majority of the starting lineup in the tournament, with the United States winning all five contests by an average of 47.4 points per game. Like the 2015 Pan Am Games Team, Marquez served as athletic trainer for the USA U18s in 2012.
- Notre Dame freshman guards Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale and Ali Patberg played alongside Connecticut freshman forward De’Janae Boykin on the East Team for the 2015 McDonald’s High School All-America Game at the United Center in Chicago. Mabrey shared game MVP honors (12 points, six rebounds, three steals), while Ogunbowale (nine points), Patberg (three points, six rebounds, five assists) and Boykin (four points) all contributed to the East’s 89-87 win over the West, whose roster included two other Connecticut freshmen, wings Napheesa Collier (eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) and Katie Lou Samuelson (12 points, six rebounds).
- Notre Dame sophomore forward Brianna Turner and Connecticut sophomore guard Gabby Williams were teammates at the 2014 McDonald’s High School All-America Game, leading the West Team to a 80-78 victory in Chicago (Turner had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, and was the game’s MVP after scoring the winning basket in the final seconds; Williams did not play).
- In that same 2014 McDonald’s High School All-America Game, Notre Dame sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld played on the East Team, registering two points, two rebounds and one assist.
- Two of Saturday’s assistant coaches have seen the Notre Dame-Connecticut rivalry from the perspective of both a coach and a player. Ninth-year Fighting Irish asociate coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey and eighth-year UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph saw their teams meet 14 times during their respective five-year careers from 1996-2001 (both sat out a season with knee injuries — Ivey in 1996-97, Ralph in 1997-98), with Connecticut winning 12 times before Ivey led Notre Dame to two victories in three tries during her final season (2000-01).
The Brains Of The Operation
- Saturday’s two head coaches — Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma — have more than a few connections.
- Both McGraw and Auriemma are from the Philadephia metro area — McGraw from West Chester, Auriemma from Norristown.
- Both McGraw and Auriemma cut their coaching teeth at McGraw’s alma mater, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, under former Hawks’ head coach (and current Chattanooga skipper) Jim Foster. McGraw replaced Auriemma on Foster’s staff in 1980 when Auriemma left to take an assistant coaching position at Virginia.
- Both McGraw and Auriemma are members of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, with McGraw having been enshrined in June 2011.
- McGraw is the only coach in the nation with 11 wins against Auriemma since the start of the 2000-01 season. She also is one of just two coaches all-time to have 11 or more victories against Auriemma on his/her resume, joining Villanova’s Harry Perretta in that elite company.
- Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 115-6 (.950) record.
- In that four-year span, five of the six Fighting Irish losses have come against top-three teams, including the past four against Connecticut — No. 3 Baylor (73-61 on Dec. 5, 2012, at Purcell Pavilion), No. 3 Connecticut (83-65 on April 7, 2013, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana), No. 1 Connecticut (79-58 on April 8, 2014, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national championship game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee), No. 3 Connecticut (76-58 on Dec. 6, 2014, in the Jimmy V Classic at Purcell Pavilion) and No. 1 Connecticut (63-53 on April 7, 2015, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national championship game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida).
- The other loss came on Jan. 8, 2015, with a 78-63 setback at Miami. That defeat ended Notre Dame’s 61-game winning streak against unranked opponents in the Associated Press poll, the second-longest active run in the nation (research for this note provided by STATS via the AP).
Poise Under Pressure
- Notre Dame has won its last 21 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime, including its last two outings — a 92-84 overtime win over UCLA on Nov. 28 in the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division championship game in Freeport, Bahamas, and a 75-72 victory over No. 10/12 Ohio State on Dec. 2 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Purcell Pavilion.
- The Fighting Irish last dropped a single-digit decision on March 6, 2012, falling 63-54 at No. 4 Connecticut in the BIG EAST Conference Tournament championship game at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
- Notre Dame has been sharp when pushed to overtime, having won six in a row and eight of its last 11 games when going to an extra session.
Visiting Century City
- Notre Dame’s 110-51 victory at Valparaiso on Nov. 23 was its 13th 100-point game since the start of the 2011-12 season (and nine other games of 95-99 points), a remarkable offensive explosion considering Notre Dame had 13 triple-digit games in the first 34 years of the program’s existence — and just four in the 12 seasons prior to its current run.
- Notre Dame has enjoyed remarkable success on the road in recent seasons, having won 47 of its last 48 (and 54 of its last 60) regular season road games.
- The only blemish for the Fighting Irish in this current run (which dates back to the early portion of the 2011-12 campaign) came last season with a 78-63 loss at Miami on Jan. 8, as the Fighting Irish saw their NCAA Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak snapped. It was an amazing string of results in hostile territory, a streak that lasted exactly three years (Jan. 4, 2012-Jan. 4, 2015) and left Notre Dame tied with Connecticut for the NCAA Division I all-time mark in that category.
- One of the more notable highlights of Notre Dame’s sensational recent road run came on Jan. 5, 2013, when Notre Dame edged No. 1 Connecticut, 73-72, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut, earning its fourth all-time win over a top-ranked opponent and first-ever victory on the road.
Irish Enjoy Quality Cable
- Graduate student guard Madison Cable has taken her game to new heights this season, averaging a team-high 16.4 points per game (fifth in the ACC). Entering this year, Cable was averaging 5.3 ppg. in her career, including a personal-best 6.2 ppg. last season.
- Cable also is making an early run at the shooter’s Holy Grail — the 50-40-90 club (referring to one’s shooting percentages from the field, three-point line and free-throw line). Cable currently leads the ACC in field-goal percentage (.615 – 17th in nation) and three-point percentage (.576 – fourth in nation), and she is third in free-throw percentage (.889), as well as fourth in three-pointers per game (2.7).
- Prior to this season, Cable had started nine games in her first three years combined, registering 18 double-digit scoring games, two 20-point outings and one double-double.
- In seven games this season, Cable has started each time out, scoring in double figures in every game (the first time she has posted a string of more than three consecutive double-digit games) and has three 20-point games, including career-high totals in her last two games (22 points against UCLA on Nov. 28 in the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division title game; 25 points on Wednesday against No. 10/12 Ohio State at Purcell Pavilion in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge). The latter game also yielded her second career double-double when she grabbed a team-high (and season-best) 11 rebounds.
- “She’s as good a shooter as there is in college basketball, and she played great tonight.” — Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff after Cable had 25 points, 11 rebounds and made two clutch plays (three-pointer with 56.2 seconds left; two foul shots with 7.5 seconds left) in Notre Dame’s 75-72 win over the No. 10/12 Buckeyes on Dec. 2 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
- Cable was chosen the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division MVP, after she averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game with a .688 field-goal percentage, .667 three-point percentage and .875 free-throw percentage during Notre Dame’s two games in the Bahamas.
- Cable continues her penchant for sacrificing her body for team success, having drawn four charges this season to raise her career count to 41 drawn charges. That includes Cable’s alert play in overtime of the win over UCLA, when she took a charge from Bruins’ all-Pac-12 guard (and Canadian National Team member) Nirra Fields with 30.1 seconds left, resulting in the fifth foul on Fields and giving Notre Dame possession with a six-point lead (in essence, clinching the win).
— 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).