Pregame Lights

Game 16 Preview: Louisville

Game 16: #1/1 Notre Dame (14-1, 2-0) vs. #2/2 Louisville (14-0, 2-0)
 When:  Thursday, Jan. 10 | 7:00 pm ET
 Where:  Notre Dame, Ind. | Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
 Watch:  ESPN | Watch Online | Adam Amin, Rebecca Lobo, Kara Lawson, Holly Rowe
 Listen:  Pulse FM 96.9/92.1/103.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP) | Listen Online
 Live Scoring:  StatBroadcast
 Notes:  Notre Dame
 Social:  @NDWBB
 Promotion:  GREEN OUT 
 Reminder:  Irish have a clear bag policy for the 2018-19 season and moving forward

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Another top-2 showdown at home awaits the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team on Thursday, Jan. 10. The new No. 1 Fighting Irish (14-1, 2-0) will host No. 2 Louisville (14-0, 2-0) in a 7 p.m. ET primetime matchup on ESPN. Thursday’s contest will be a Green Out with rally towels going to the first 4,000 fans. Limited tickets remain, so to purchase please call 574-631-7356 or visit the Murnane Family Ticket Office at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion. 

Notre Dame leads the all-time series against Louisville, 14-6, including a 5-2 mark at home. However the Cardinals did best the Irish twice last season, including their last encounter, a 74-72 defeat in the ACC Championship game in Greensboro. Both teams shared the ACC regular season championship last season. 

With wins over Gonzaga, Drake, Iowa and Marquette, the Irish boast four RPI top-25 victories. That number doubles the amount of RPI top-25 wins over the next highest Division I team.

No. 1 vs No. 2
Thursday’s primetime matchup with No. 2 Louisville will be Notre Dame’s second 1-vs-2 matchup of the season and eighth in program history. History has not sided well with the Irish, for their only win in a 1-vs-2 was back in 2001 when No. 2 Notre Dame defeated No. 1 UConn, 90-75, in the national semifinal.

In addition, this marks Notre Dame’s first 1-vs-2 matchup not involving UConn since the Irish played at Baylor back on Nov. 20, 2011.

Junior guard Jackie Young has been highly efficient from the field this season, raising her shooting percentage to 56.7 percent. That number ranks 10th in the ACC and 32nd nationally, but more impressively, second nationally among just guards. Young only trails Villanova’s guard Mary Gedaka, who is shooting 64.3 percent.

Notre Dame made program history after leaving Georgia Tech with the 76-55 victory on Jan. 6. By halftime, the Irish were a perfect 17 assists on 17 made field goals and then finished the game with 30 assists on 34 made fields. That .882 assist/field-goals-made efficiency rating ranks as the best all-time in program history for a game in which the team tallied at least 30 field goals.

When only looking at games in which teams have made at least 30 field goals and 30 assists, Notre Dame’s .882 mark leads the country for a single game this season.

Count it up, the Irish have recorded six consecutive games shooting over 50 percent from the field. As a result, Notre Dame has raised its field goal percentage from .489 to .526, which ranks second in the country.

Look no further than the fact that the Irish have recorded six straight games in which they have dished out 24 or more assists, totaling 158 in that span. Notre Dame now averages 20.1 assists per game, which leads the ACC and ranks sixth in the nation. Individually, Jackie Young leads the way, averaging 4.7 assists/game, followed closely by Marina Mabrey with her 4.5.

Jessica Shepard has dished out 17 assists over the last three games. Ogunbowale just recorded a career high 12 assists at Georgia Tech (1/6), doubling her previous career best. Lastly, Mabrey is averaging 6.0 assists over the last six games.  

When you mix the high percentage shooting with the high assist total, you get our next stat. In Notre Dame’s last game (at Georgia Tech), all five starters reached double-digit points. It marked the second time the feat had been achieved over the last three games, and the fifth overall time this season. The other instances were Iowa, UConn and Binghamton.

Since Dec. 16, Mabrey has been on quite the roll, getting into prime season form. Over the last six games, Mabrey has averaged 15.7 points on 59.0 percent – including 14-for-30 from three-point range aka 46.7 percent. She has also averaged 6.0 assists and 2.2 steals.

In addition, in three of said games, Mabrey has recorded all three of her 20-point scoring games, including her season high of 21 set vs Binghamton. 

Purcell Pavilion continues to be one of the toughest venues to play in women’s hoops. Over the last 105 games at home, the Irish have only lost three times, with all three coming against UConn.

Notre Dame is 473-93 all-time inside Purcell Pavilion. The Irish have sold out Purcell Pavilion 54 times and boasts a 44-10 record in those instances.

Most notably, however, has been how dominant the Irish have been in league play at home. Notre Dame has won a school-record 51 consecutive home conference games, beginning with a 66-47 win over Providence on Feb. 14, 2012, in BIG EAST play.