Dec. 2, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
The No. 1 Notre Dame women’s basketball team returns home for the first of two games before embarking on a school-record six-game road trip when it plays host to Valparaiso at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The game will be a special one for associate head coach Niele Ivey whose number 33 will join the Ring of Honor in a special pregame ceremony. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the event that begins at 12:38 p.m.
In addition to Sunday’s game also being the ever-popular halftime teddy bear toss game, here are a few more things to know heading into the contest.
Niele Ivey to Join Ring of Honor
Prior to the Valparaiso game, Niele Ivey will become the third inductee into the Ring of Honor (joining Ruth Riley and Skylar Diggins) and the first of two this season as Beth (Morgan) Cunningham will join the ranks on Jan. 29 when the Irish play host to Virginia.
Ivey has made immense contributions to the program both as a player and coach. Along with Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw and associate head coach Carol Owens, Ivey is one of three connections to all seven Irish Final Four appearances.
Ivey co-captained the 2001 national championship team along with Riley and earned All-America accolades that season. Ivey was a finalist for the 2001 Nancy Lieberman Award as the country’s best point guard and claimed the 2001 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award for the nation’s best player 5-foot-8 or under. Ivey was a three-time All-BIG EAST pick who would go on to play in the WNBA for four years.
She returned to her alma mater to coach and was recently promoted to the title of associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. Now in her 10th year on McGraw’s staff, Ivey has helped Notre Dame to five Final Four berths and has mentored a pair of consensus All-American point guards and WNBA first round picks Diggins and Jewell Loyd.
About the Crusaders
Valparaiso is Notre Dame’s oldest rival as the first game in Irish women’s basketball history was a 48-41 victory over the Crusaders on Dec. 3, 1977. The Irish lead the series 26-0, including a 110-54 victory on Nov. 23, 2015, at Valparaiso. Marina Mabrey made history in that contest, coming off of the bench to record the fifth triple-double in school history. Mabrey finished the day with 18 points, 12 steals and 10 assists.
Valparaiso stands at 3-3 on the season as it heads into a Saturday matinee against Eastern Illinois. Dani Franklin leads the Crusaders with 21.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Her 34 points in the season opener at Stetson marked the best single-game scoring effort by a Crusader since 1992.
Head coach Tracey Dorow is 36-93 in her fifth year at the helm of Valparaiso and 0-2 against the Irish. She did face Notre Dame in an exhibition game while the head coach at Ferris State where she went 232-163 over 14 seasons
November Nice to Notre Dame Again
Notre Dame went a perfect 7-0 in November, continuing a trend of hot starts for the Irish. The Irish have won 32 consecutive games in the month of November, running back to a Nov. 20, 2011, loss at No. 1 Baylor. In the 30 years under Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame is 108-20 (.844) in November, including a 64-4 (.941) mark at home.
Highlights from this season’s opening month include winning four games in nine days to claim the Preseason WNIT championship, defeating No. 17 Washington in the title game. Arike Ogunbowale earned tournament MVP honors while Lindsay Allen joined her on the all-tournament squad. The Irish went out of their way to create a Shamrock Series-style Homecoming game for Houston-area native Brianna Turner, defeating Louisiana-Lafayette in a unique contest that was played on two different courts. Notre Dame capped the month with a quality win over Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Including help from Notre Dame’s 73-58 win at Iowa, the ACC remained undefeated in the 10-year history of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as the home conference of the Irish went 9-5 in 2016. The ACC now leads the challenge series with the Big Ten 7-0-3. The ACC has a 77-53 record overall in the 130 games played as a part of the series.
Florida State, Syracuse, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech and NC State also won games for the ACC during the two-day event on Wednesday and Thursday. Penn State, Purdue, Michigan, Maryland and Northwestern claimed victories for the Big Ten.
Notre Dame is the only school that has never lost an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. The Irish are 4-0 in the event with wins over Penn State (2013), Maryland (2014), Ohio State (2015) and Iowa (2016).
Turner Hits 1,000
With her first basket on Wednesday night at Iowa, Brianna Turner became the 36th Notre Dame player to reach 1,000 career points. She is the second one this year to hit that revered plateau as Lindsay Allen also reached the mark on Nov. 17.
Now with 1,030 and 1,014 career points, respectively, Allen and Turner stand 33rd and 34th all-time in school history on the career scoring charts with upcoming names on the list including Mollie Peirick (1,034), Madison Cable (1,060) and Carrie Bates (1,060). Skylar Diggins holds the school’s career scoring record with 2,357 points, followed by current associate coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham with 2,322.
How to Watch/Listen
The first official steps towards the creation of an ACC Network began this summer in conjunction with ESPN. All non-televised home games which used to be streamed live online through WatchND (including Sunday’s) will now be streamed under the banner of ACC Network Extra. Games are available online at WatchESPN.com (formerly branded as ESPN3) or through the WatchESPN app. Streams are free to all ESPN subscribers. Sunday afternoon’s game will feature audio from Conor Clingen and A.J. Burgett.
Information on how to access WatchESPN is available here.
For those familiar with the WatchESPN, the direct link to the webcast of Sunday’s game is available here.
Bob Nagle is in his 12th season as the radio voice of the Irish. Notre Dame’s local home on the radio is Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) while the audio is also available globally via WatchND.tv and the WatchND app. The audio link for the broadcast is here.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.