March 18, 2016
By Chris Masters
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – On the eve of her team’s debut in the 2016 NCAA Championship, University of Notre Dame women’s basketball sophomore forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) picked up another major national honor as she earned a spot on the five-player Sports Illustrated All-America Team that was unveiled in this week’s issue of the national magazine.
Turner, who is a prime candidate for every major national player-of-the-year award, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s 15 head coaches on March 7, in addition to collecting All-ACC First Team and ACC All-Defensive Team accolades for the second consecutive season.
In less than two years at Notre Dame, sophomore forward Brianna Turner already ranks third in Fighting Irish history with 171 career blocked shots, and she is just the second Notre Dame player ever to block 80 shots in more than one season, joining the legendary Ruth Riley in that elite company.
Despite missing six games with a shoulder injury early in the season, Turner has been one of the ACC’s most consistent players all year long, starting the other 26 games she has suited up for and leading the conference in field-goal percentage (.596 ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” also sixth in nation as of Thursday) and blocked shots (3.2 bpg. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 11th in nation), while ranking 10th in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and 11th in scoring (14.3 ppg.) with three double-doubles.
Turner was equally strong during conference games, leading the ACC in field-goal percentage (.658) and blocks (2.9 bpg.), while ranking eighth in scoring (15.4 ppg.) and 12th in rebounding (7.3 rpg.).
After blocking 89 blocks as a rookie last year, Turner has recorded 82 blocked shots this season, already standing sixth on Notre Dame’s single-season blocks list. In fact, she joins Ruth Riley as the only Fighting Irish players ever to post multiple 80-block seasons – Riley did so during her final three years under the Golden Dome from 1998-99 through 2000-01.
Turner was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team for the second year in a row on March 6 after nearly averaging a double-double with 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game in three Fighting Irish victories. She tallied a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) in the championship game win over No. 17 Syracuse after narrowly missing a double-double (17 points, nine rebounds) in a semifinal victory over No. 21 Miami one day earlier.
Ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 3 in the current WBCA/USA Today poll, Notre Dame has earned the No. 1 seed in the Lexington Region for the 2016 NCAA Championship, and will tip off tournament play at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina A&T at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 through its “whiparound coverage” (viewers in Indiana and the Chicagoland area, as well as parts of North Carolina, will see the game in its entirety, while the rest of the country will rotate through all four games in that time slot). Viewers also can see the game in its entirety through ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
All-session and single-session tickets for this weekend’s NCAA tournament games at Purcell Pavilion currently are on sale through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site (UND.com/buytickets). All-session tickets are $32 for adults and $17 for youth (18 & under), while single-session tickets for Saturday’s first-round games are $15 for adults and $10 for youth (18 & under) and single-session tickets for the March 21 second-round game are $20 for adults and $12 for youth (18 & under). Tickets also are available by phone (574-631-7356) or in person at the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office (Gate 9 windows at Purcell Pavilion) daily from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Fans who already have purchased NCAA tournament tickets can pick up their tickets at the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office.
In addition, Club Naimoli passes now are on sale through the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office for this weekend’s NCAA tournament games at Purcell Pavilion. All-session club passes are $60, while single-session club passes are $40 for Saturday and $30 for March 21. As a reminder, game tickets are required in order to purchase club passes.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, visit the main women’s basketball page on the University’s official athletics web site (UND.com/ndwbb), sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter and Instagram pages (@ndwbb), like the program on Facebook or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
– 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).