Jan. 5, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Only once in the past 13 seasons had a University of Notre Dame women’s basketball player earned conference freshman-of-the-week honors in consecutive weeks. It’s taken freshman forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) less than two months to pull off that feat twice.
For the fourth time this season, Turner was chosen as the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Week, earning that honor today based on a vote of the conference’s Blue Ribbon Panel that is comprised of the ACC’s 15 head coaches, local and national media members and the women’s basketball media relations directors for each school.
Turner, who also received the ACC’s top weekly freshman honor back on Nov. 17 and 24, has garnered exactly half of the conference’s eight Freshman of the Week awards this season, with no other player earning that distinction more than once to date in the 2014-15 campaign.
Turner becomes the fifth Notre Dame player in program history to earn four conference freshman-of-the-week accolades in one season, and the first to cop the honor in back-to-back weeks on two separate occasions during the same year. Current junior guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) was the most recent Fighting Irish player to earn four conference freshman-of-the-week honors, doing so in 2012-13 when Notre Dame competed in the BIG EAST Conference.
Notre Dame’s only other four-time recipients of the weekly conference freshman award all have occurred during the program’s BIG EAST era — Skylar Diggins (four in 2009-10), Jacqueline Batteast (six in 2001-02) and Alicia Ratay (six in 1999-2000).
Turner is coming off a successful opening weekend in ACC play, averaging 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game with a .667 field-goal percentage as Notre Dame began its conference schedule with wins over Florida State (74-68 at Purcell Pavilion on Jan. 2) and No. 21/22 Syracuse (85-74 at the Carrier Dome on Sunday), extending the Fighting Irish ACC regular season winning streak to 18 games, a new conference record.
Turner scored 12 of her 14 points against Florida State in the second half before chalking up her second career double-double at No. 21/22 Syracuse with 20 points (on 9-of-13 shooting), a game-high 13 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks, helping Notre Dame tie a NCAA Division I record with its 30th consecutive road win.
Turner, whose seven blocks at Syracuse were the most by a Fighting Irish player since March 20, 2012 (Devereaux Peters vs. California in NCAA Championship second-round game), has blocked at least five shots in each of her last four games, averaging 5.5 blocks per game in that span. In addition, Turner’s 22 total blocks in the past four games are the most for a Notre Dame player in a four-game stretch since Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 1998, when Ruth Riley also had 22 blocks in four games (vs. No. 6/4 Duke, No. 25/23 Illinois, San Francisco and Toledo).
“We have been so pleased and encouraged with the progress Bri shows every time she steps on the floor, whether it’s in practice or a game,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “She’s always wanting to learn and get better, and she’s constantly working to improve herself and that’s exciting to see, especially from someone so early in her college career.”
Turner currently leads the ACC and ranks second nationally with a .667 field-goal percentage. She also ranks third in the ACC in blocked shots (2.8 bpg.), 12th in the conference in scoring (14.5 ppg.) and 14th in rebounding (6.8 rpg.).
Notre Dame continues its two-game ACC road swing at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when the Fighting Irish travel to Coral Gables, Florida, to take on Miami at the BankUnited Center. The game recently was added to the Notre Dame women’s basketball television package and will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, while radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and free of charge worldwide online through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director