Feb. 4, 2012
#2/2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (22-1 / 9-0 BIG EAST) vs. #RV/23 DePaul Blue Demons (17-6 / 5-4 BIG EAST)
DATE: February 5, 2012
No. 2 Fighting Irish Open Month Of February At Home Against No. RV/23 DePaul
The Fighting Irish (22-1, 9-0) extended their current winning streak to 19 games and remained unbeaten in BIG EAST play with a 71-41 victory at No. 13/14 Rutgers on Tuesday night. The Fighting Irish used a 22-6 run midway through the first half to take command and earn their seventh win over a Top 25 team this year.
Junior guard Skylar Diggins paced four Fighting Irish in double figures with 18 points, while fifth-year senior forward Devereaux Peters had her third consecutive double-double with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
Other Notre Dame Notables
A Quick Look At DePaul
The Blue Demons are coming off an impressive 86-61 win over No. 14/12 Louisville on Tuesday night in Chicago. DePaul knocked down 10 three-pointers and had 26 assists on 32 baskets (as well as only 10 turnovers) while leading start to finish in the victory.
Junior guard Anna Martin led five Blue Demons in double figures with a game-high 19 points, while freshman guard Brittany Hrynko stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals, and junior center Katherine Harry posted a mammoth double-double with 14 points and an arena-record 20 rebounds.
Martin enters the weekend ranked second in the BIG EAST in scoring (18.6 ppg.) and tops in three-point percentage (.436). Harry leads the conference in rebounding (9.3 rpg.; 10.9 rpg. in BIG EAST games), while sophomore forward Jasmine Penny is first in the league with a .596 field goal percentage.
Head coach Doug Bruno is in his 26th year at his alma mater with a 504-277 (.645) record, including a 12-10 mark against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-DePaul Series
The Fighting Irish also are 9-6 all-time against DePaul at Purcell Pavilion, including wins in six of the past seven matchups.
The Last Time Notre Dame And DePaul Met
Trailing 65-64 with 1:43 left, Diggins hit a lay-in to give the Irish a one-point lead. After Sam Quigley missed a lay-in, Diggins found Natalie Achonwa for a basket to make it 68-65.
Keisha Hampton got DePaul within one with 27.6 left.
Diggins hit one of two free throws and Brittany Mallory pressured Hampton into a turnover on the next possession. Mallory then hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds left to seal the win.
Hampton scored 31 points for DePaul.
The two teams had met a week earlier and the Blue Demons rallied for a 70-69 victory as Felicia Chester hit a shot with just under 6 seconds left. That gave them the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
The semifinal game was more of the same. Each time one team would make a run, the other responded. There were 11 lead changes in the second half alone.
Notre Dame erased a six-point halftime deficit and took its own six-point lead, 57-51.
DePaul battled back to tie the game at 57 on Hampton's free throw with 7:25 left.
The teams traded leads over the next five minutes.
The Fighting Irish led 61-60 when Becca Bruszewski got fouled on a lay-in. She limped off the court to the locker room and Natalie Novosel made one of the two free throws with 3:39 left to make it a two-point game.
Hampton responded with a three-point play to give the Blue Demons a 63-62 advantage. After Diggins hit two free throws, Hampton had another layup to make it 65-64 with 1:43 left, setting the stage for the frenzied finish.
Bruszewski scored 19 of her career-high 25 points as the Fighting Irish dominated the second half, beating DePaul 90-66 on Feb. 14, 2010, at Purcell Pavilion. The Blue Demons shot 47 percent to keep the game close through much of the first half, but shot just 31 percent in the second half and finished with 25 turnovers.
The Fighitng Irish usually look to Schrader, a 6-foot guard, to get their inside game going. But with Schrader watching from the sidelines in the second half after injuring her ankle when she stepped on a teammate's foot, the 6-1 Bruszewski took over. She was 7-of-9 shooting against DePaul's zone in the second half.
Skylar Diggins added 18 points and helped force DePaul's Sam Quigley into 10 turnovers.
With the game tied late in the first half, Diggins scored eight points during a 12-2 run, including a jumper at the buzzer to give the Fighting Irish a 42-32 halftime lead.
DePaul cut its deficit to 43-36 early in the second half on a jumper by Quigley. But Bruszewski scored inside to spark a 9-2 spurt as Notre Dame went ahead 56-39 and the Fighting Irish continued to pull away.
Keisha Hampton led DePaul with a career-high 28 points and eight rebounds. Felicia Chester added 15 points and Quigley had 12.
Other Notre Dame-DePaul Series Tidbits
Peaking When It Counts
In the 25-year Muffet McGraw era (1987-present), the Fighting Irish are 141-42 (.770) in the month of February, including a 75-11 (.872) home record. In that time, Notre Dame has not had a losing February (including this year's 6-1 record), and only once did the Fighting Irish end the month at .500 (4-4 in 1988-89, McGraw's second season in South Bend).
Start Me Up
In their 2000-01 national championship season, the Fighting Irish opened with a school-record 23-game winning streak, while in 2009-10, Notre Dame won its first 15 games, lost at Connecticut in its 16th outing, then won its next eight in a row.
Beyond The Midpoint
The last time the Fighting Irish opened the conference season with nine consecutive wins was 2000-01 when they began the BIG EAST slate with a 12-0 record on the way to earning a share of their first regular season conference title with a 15-1 record.
The school record for the best start to a BIG EAST season is 15-0, set back in 1999-2000.
Notre Dame now has registered 20-or-more wins 22 times in the 25-year Muffet McGraw era and 26 times in the program's 35-year history.
McGraw herself has coached 24 20-win seasons (adding in two during her five-year tenure at Lehigh from 1982-87), placing her ninth all-time among NCAA Division I coaches.
Fighting Irish Scoring Early TKOs
In 12 games this year, the Fighting Irish have charged to a 20-point lead inside the opening 13 minutes of the game, going on to win all 12 of those contests by an average of 50.9 points per game.
Overall, Notre Dame is outscoring its opponents in the first half this season by nearly a 2-to-1 margin (1,000-527), with an average halftime score of 43-23.
Born To Run
Notre Dame also has topped the 100-point mark twice (first time since 1998-99, second time in school history), and has scored at least 90 points in a game eight times this year, tying the school record set last season.
What's more, Notre Dame has done an excellent job of putting teams away, recording 18 20-point wins, and 11 victories by at least 30 points (second-most in school history behind the 12 30-point wins last year).
Prior to this season, the Fighting Irish had never scored more than 113 points in a game (113-35 win over Liberty on Nov. 24, 1989, at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla.), and had scored in triple digits just 13 times in the program's first 34 seasons.
What's more, this marks just the second time Notre Dame has ever posted multiple 100-point games in the same season -- in 1998-99, the Fighting Irish defeated No. 25/23 Illinois, 101-93, on Nov. 24 at Purcell Pavilion, before defeating West Virginia, 111-90, on Jan. 7, also at home.
As one might expect, Notre Dame's two offensive explosions rank as the top two single-game point totals in the nation in 2011-12. Oklahoma is third with a 117-point night against visiting Sacramento State on Nov. 13.
Lock It Up
The Fighting Irish have held 20 of their 23 opponents to 61 points or fewer, with a school record 15 failing to score more than 50 points against Notre Dame -- last year's Fighting Irish squad had 14 games in which it allowed 50 points or fewer.
Notre Dame's defensive effort has extended to smaller increments as well. In their last 35 halves of basketball (dating back to the second half against No. 7/6 Duke on Nov. 26), the Fighting Irish have held their opponents to 25 points or fewer 24 times, including 15 halves when the opposition didn't crack 20 points.
'Tis The Season For Taking
The Fighting Irish wasted little time in setting the tone for their opponents this season, forcing a combined 112 turnovers in their first three games, an average of 37.3 per night, and converting those into 142 points (47.3 ppg.). That run was highlighted by an opponent season-high 46 turnovers against Akron on Nov. 11 at Purcell Pavilion, the third-most takeaways in school history, and second-most in the program's Division I era (49 vs. New Hampshire on Nov. 12, 2010).
The Fighting Irish have been especially hard on opponents in their 12 home games this season, forcing 28.4 turnovers per game and collecting at least 19 in each Purcell Pavilion contest thus far.
The Five-Finger Discount
Highlighting this year's takeaway brigade for Notre Dame was a season-high 29-steal performance in the opening night victory against Akron on Nov. 11 at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish followed that up two days later with 25 thefts in a win over Indiana State, and nabbed 26 steals in a Dec. 28 win over Longwood.
Prior to last season, Notre Dame had posted 23 steals in a game just seven times in the first 33 years (and 991 games) of the Fighting Irish women's basketball program, and only three games with 25-plus steals in that time, none since a then-record tying 29 steals at Saint Louis on Jan. 31, 1991. What's more, Notre Dame had not earned a conference steals title since 1989-90, when it led the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League) with 10.9 spg.
Yet, in the past two years (62 games), the Fighting Irish have had eight 23-steal games, with five outings of at least 25 thefts, and they claimed last year's BIG EAST steals crown with 11.8 steals per game during regular-season league play.
Individually, Notre Dame has 10 different players with double-digit steals this season (including four with at least 40 thefts), led by junior guard Skylar Diggins, who is fourth in the conference at 2.5 steals per game, and fifth-year senior guard Brittany Mallory, who is tied for seventh in the BIG EAST at 2.3 spg.
In the latest NCAA statistics report, the Fighting Irish are second in the nation (and second in the BIG EAST) at 19.7 assists per game, including a season-high 33 assists against Pittsburgh on Jan. 17 (one of 12 games with 20-or-more assists this year, including five with at least 25 assists).
Individually, junior guard Skylar Diggins is 17th in the nation in assists (BIG EAST-best 5.7 apg.) and 14th in the country with a 2.34 assist/turnover ratio (also tops in the conference).
What's more, Notre Dame has assisted on 65.5 percent of its field goals this season (453 of 692), compared to last year when the Fighting Irish registered assists on 60.9 percent of their baskets (669 of 1,099), with 16 games of at least 20 assists.
The foundation of this stable lineup has been the quartet of Diggins, Mallory, Novosel and Peters, who also started 34 of 39 games last year (Mallory missed two games with an ankle injury and came off the bench for two more, while Diggins relinquished her starting spot for Senior Day last year to allow walk-on forward Mary Forr to make the start). In the four games Mallory was not in the lineup last year, McBride earned the first starts of her college career.
Collectively, the current Notre Dame lineup has started 310 games in their careers (Diggins-91, Novosel-66, Peters-65, Mallory-63, McBride-25).
Spread The Wealth
During the past three seasons (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 46-4 (.920) when it has at least four players score in double figures, with two of those losses coming in overtime (March 28, 2010 - 77-72 vs. Oklahoma in NCAA Sweet 16 at Kansas City; Nov. 18, 2010 - 86-83 in double overtime vs. UCLA at Purcell Pavilion) and a third by a single point (Feb. 28, 2011 - 70-69 at DePaul).
The Fighting Irish also have had six different players lead them in scoring this season. Five of the six leading scorers this year also have registered at least one 20-point game to date, while 10 different Notre Dame players (of the 11 healthy Fighting Irish who have seen action to date) have scored in double figures at least once this year.
Improvement Continues On The Glass
In their last 17 games, the Fighting Irish are averaging 44.4 rebounds a night, with an average rebounding margin of +15.6 rpg. Furthermore, Notre Dame has grabbed at least 40 rebounds 15 times in the past 17 games after not reaching that mark once in its first six contests.
According to the latest NCAA statistics report, Notre Dame ranks eighth in the country in rebounding margin (+11.4 rpg.) this year.
Windy City Warrior
Here's a look at some of the rare feats Peters (the Jan. 23 BIG EAST Player of the Week and a member of this week's BIG EAST Honor Roll) has been able to accomplish within the past two weeks:
The Diggins Factor
Upon closer examination, Notre Dame's 15 losses in Diggins' career primarily have been verdicts that could have gone either way, with nine decided by single digits (five that were in doubt inside the final minute), and two that went to overtime.
With Diggins in uniform, the Fighting Irish have posted two of the top 10 most prolific offensive seasons in school history, averaging 77.0 ppg. last year after logging 77.1 ppg. in her freshman season (and Notre Dame is on pace to go well beyond those figures this year).
In addition, thanks to Diggins' penchant for steals (she has a 2.29 spg. career mark), the Fighting Irish have recorded the top two single-season steal marks in program history with 495 thefts last year and 450 steals the season before. Last season also saw Notre Dame post the third-best defensive scoring average in school history, allowing just 56.2 ppg. (the best since the 2000-01 Fighting Irish yielded 55.8 ppg. en route to the national championship).
A Rally To Remember
Nearly three years earlier on Dec. 30, 2008, the Fighting Irish trailed 46-28 at No. 20/19 Vanderbilt with 15:56 left and came back to win, 59-57 at Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tenn.
This year's comeback victory over Duke marked the fourth time in program history Notre Dame has ralled from a deficit of 15 points or more to post a victory, with all four of these comebacks occurring in the past 11 seasons.
Beat The Clock
Novosel's buzzer-beater was the first winning shot at the horn by a Notre Dame player since Jan. 10, 2006, when Megan Duffy scored the last of her career-high 32 points with an off-handed layup at the overtime siren to earn a 67-65 win over Marquette at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame also has had several players nail winning shots in the final minute of games during recent seasons. Prior to Novosel, Ashley Barlow was the last Fighting Irish player to pull off such late-game heroics, canning a three-pointer with 34.2 seconds remaining to help Notre Dame take a 74-73 win at Syracuse on Jan. 30, 2010.
Another notable recent "beat-the-clock" moment for Notre Dame occurred on Dec. 5, 2007, when Charel Allen sank a foul-line jumper with 0.8 seconds remaining in overtime, lifting the Fighting Irish to an 86-84 win at Bowling Green.
The Model Of Consistency
Novosel's 27-game double-digit scoring streak is the second-longest in school history, and was the longest by a Fighting Irish player in 15 seasons.
Katryna Gaither staked an ironclad claim to the school record with a remarkable 76-game double-figure scoring streak from 1994-97.
A Grand Trio
Novosel currently ranks 16th in school history with 1,322 points, while Peters became the 30th member of the Fighting Irish 1,000-Point Club and presently stands 25th with 1,136 points.
Together with junior guard Skylar Diggins (tied for 10th with 1,460 points), Notre Dame has three active players in that elite Fighting Irish club for the third time in school history. In both 2000-01 and 2009-10, Notre Dame also had three 1,000-point players on the roster, with the third reaching that total in her final career game (Kelley Siemon in 2001 NCAA national championship game vs. Purdue, Melissa Lechlitner in 2010 NCAA Sweet 16 game vs. Oklahoma).
The Fighting Irish could have a fourth player reach the scoring millennium later this season -- fifth-year senior guard Brittany Mallory has 882 career points. Should Mallory hit the 1,000-point mark, it would be the first time in the 35-year history of Notre Dame women's basketball that a quartet of active 1,000-point scorers were on the roster at the same time.
What's more, Peters became the seventh player from Notre Dame's 2009-10 NCAA Sweet 16 team to reach the 1,000-point plateau during her career, along with Diggins, Novosel, Lechlitner, Ashley Barlow (ninth at 1,492), Lindsay Schrader (14th at 1,429) and Becca Bruszewski (24th at 1,148) -- and that doesn't even include Mallory, who also was part of that season's 13-player roster.
More Than Tough Enough
Aside from the 2008-09 season that Mallory largely missed after injuring her knee in the seventh game at Michigan, she has missed only three other games in her career to date -- one as a freshman in 2007-08 (at Richmond) due to an acute illness and two last season (at Kentucky, vs. IUPUI) following an ankle injury suffered against UCLA.
Not bad for a player who also was an All-America lacrosse standout coming from the McDonogh School in suburban Baltimore. In fact, head coach Muffet McGraw foreshadowed Mallory's endurance at Notre Dame way back on Signing Day, when she said -- "You know she's going to be tough when she's used to getting beat in the head with a lacrosse stick every day."
Game #23 Recap: Rutgers
The fifth-year senior became the first Fighting Irish player to have three consecutive double-doubles since Jacqueline Batteast did it in the 2004 NCAA tournament.
The Fighting Irish lost only once this season, falling to No. 1 Baylor. They have won 19 consecutive games -- the third longest streak in school history. They ran through Tennessee, St. John's and now Rutgers the last three games.
Skylar Diggins scored 18 points and Natalie Achonwa added 15 as the Fighting Irish had a balanced offense. Kayla McBride had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish controlled the boards against the Scarlet Knights, outrebounding them 52-24.
Notre Dame (22-1, 9-0 BIG EAST) completed a perfect January for the fifth time under head coach Muffet McGraw and the first since 2001.
Trailing 9-8 early on, Notre Dame went on a 22-6 run over the next seven minutes to take control. The Fighting Irish hit five three-pointers during the spurt, including three by Diggins.
They led by 17 at the half and blew Rutgers away in the second half, winning by the largest margin in the series' history.
Beyond The Box Score -- Rutgers
Notre Dame received six first-place votes in the 2011-12 AP preseason poll (and four the following week), the first time it received consideration for the top spot since March 11, 2001, when the Fighting Irish earned five first-place votes (they were ranked No. 2 after falling at Connecticut, 79-76 in the BIG EAST tournament final). The previous week, Notre Dame had 33 first-place votes in its sixth week with the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll.
This week's No. 2 ranking marked the 90th consecutive AP poll appearance for the Fighting Irish, extending the program record that started with the AP preseason poll in 2007-08 (the old record was 59 consecutive weeks from 1998-2001). In fact, every current Notre Dame player has competed for a ranked Fighting Irish squad throughout her career, spending more than half (52) of those appearances in the AP Top 10.
This year's No. 2 preseason ranking also represents the 12th time in the past 13 years (starting with the 1999-2000 campaign) that Notre Dame has appeared in the initial AP poll, something only nine schools in the nation have done -- Connecticut, Duke and Tennessee have shown up in all 13 during that span, while Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Stanford join the Fighting Irish with 12 preseason AP poll berths.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP poll for 229 weeks during the program's 35-year history, with every one of those appearances coming in the Muffet McGraw era (since 1987-88). McGraw ranks 11th among all active NCAA Division I head coaches for weeks in the AP poll, and 20th all-time in that category.
In addition, the Fighting Irish are No. 2 in this week's ESPN/USA Today/WBCA coaches' poll, holding that spot for the fourth consecutive week after they also held it for the first two weeks of the season. Like the AP poll, Notre Dame earned its best-ever preseason ranking (second) in the coaches' poll, topping its No. 5 placement to begin the 2000-01 campaign. The Fighting Irish also collected five first-place votes in this year's preseason coaches' survey (and two a week later), their first nods for the top spot since the final '00-01 balloting, when they received all 40 first-place votes after winning the national championship.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the coaches' poll for 91 of the past 92 weeks, falling just outside the Top 25 in the final poll of the 2008-09 season. Nevertheless, the Fighting Irish have appeared in the coaches' poll for a total of 222 weeks during their history (all coming during McGraw's tenure).
This marks the fourth consecutive season Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the ESPN/USA Today/WBCA poll, as well as 10 of the past 14 campaigns (1998-99 to present).
More Polling Data
Besides her 229 AP poll appearances while coaching at Notre Dame, McGraw was the starting point guard at Saint Joseph's (Pa.) as a senior in 1977, helping the Hawks to No. 3 in the nation.
Of the 31 people on this list, 16 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart), with McGraw and Baylor's Kim Mulkey are the only active skippers to play for and coach a team in the AP poll, and coach that team to a national title (McGraw in 2001, Mulkey in 2005).
Half And Half
What's more, in the past three seasons (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 73-1 (.986) when leading at the half, with the only loss coming on April 5, 2011, in the NCAA national championship game at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (Notre Dame led Texas A&M, 35-33 at intermission before falling 76-70).
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense...
...But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
In the past three years (2009-10 to present), Notre Dame is 41-2 (.953) when topping the 80-point mark, having reached that level in 12 games this season and winning 11 times.
Now That's A Home Court Advantage
The Fighting Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 101 of their last 109 non-BIG EAST contests (.927) at Purcell Pavilion, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the eight losses in that span came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents (four by 12 points or less) -- Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54), Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT), Indiana in 2006 (54-51) and Minnesota in 2009 (79-71) -- with the other defeats coming to Tennessee in 2005 (62-51) and 2008 (87-63), and to UCLA in 2010 (86-83 in 2OT). The Purdue loss also snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak which began after the UW setback.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the former Joyce Center, posting a 366-88 (.806) record at the venerable facility. Three times (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Fighting Irish went a perfect 15-0 at home, which was the school record for home victories in a season prior to the 2009-10 campaign, when Notre Dame went 16-1, capped by an 84-66 triumph over Vermont in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Irish Are The Hottest Ticket In Town
For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame fans exhausted the program's season ticket packages (7,500) and have snapped up single-game ducats at a rate that helped the Fighting Irish already sell out five games (Dec. 18 vs. Kentucky, Dec. 28 vs. Longwood, Jan. 7 vs. Connecticut, Jan. 21 vs. Villanova, Jan. 23 vs. Tennessee), and put several others (Feb. 5 vs. DePaul, Feb. 12 vs. West Virginia and Feb. 25 vs. USF) within striking distance of a sellout.
What's more, through its first 12 home games this season, Notre Dame is averaging 8,749 fans per game, including those aforementioned five sellouts (9,149). The Fighting Irish now have posted 16 sellouts in the past three seasons and 22 in program history.
While some additional tickets may be available on the day or week of the game for individual contests this season (depending on returned inventory by visiting teams and other constituencies), it's entirely possible that Notre Dame will flirt with a sell out for every one of its home games during the 2011-12 regular season.
Fighting Irish On Your Radio Dial
LeSEA originates all Notre Dame women's basketball games, with those events carried on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), marking a return to the FM side of the dial for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Combined, these two stations blanket the nation's No. 91 media market (South Bend-Elkhart), covering a 21-county area in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan that contains more than 1.4 million listeners (better than 800,000 in the greater South Bend area alone). All told, Notre Dame's women's basketball network stretches from Kalamazoo, Mich., to the north, North Judson, Ind., to the west, Macy, Ind., (home of former Fighting Irish All-America center Ruth Riley) to the south, and LaGrange, Ind., to the east.
Women's basketball game broadcasts also continue to be streamed live and free of charge on Notre Dame's official athletics web site (www.UND.com) through the Fighting Irish Digital Media package.
Bob Nagle, the voice of Notre Dame women's basketball from 1996-97 through 1998-99 (including the program's first NCAA Final Four berth in 1997), is now in the fourth season of his second stint as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame On The Small Screen
In addition, Notre Dame continues to expand its broadcast reach globally on the Internet. For the sixth consecutive season, all Fighting Irish regular-season home games not selected for commercial TV coverage (as well as the Nov. 2 exhibition vs. Windsor) will be webcast live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com, via the site's free Fighting Irish Video Channel.
This year's TV slate continues a trend that has seen the Fighting Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01 and continuing through the Jan. 31 game at St. John's (televised live on CBS Sports Network), Notre Dame has played in 218 televised games, including 162 that were broadcast nationally.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Irish Fans Crave Another Big Mac Attack
In the five-year history of the promotion (and counting exhibition games), Notre Dame has hit the 88-point mark 33 times, most recently in the Jan. 17 win over Pittsburgh.
It should come as no surprise that in the short history of the promotion, the Notre Dame player with the most "Big Mac" baskets shares the same initials with the tasty burger -- fifth-year senior guard Brittany Mallory, who has sent the crowd home happy (and presumably with full bellies) five times, including four during the promotion's inaugural run in 2007-08.
And for those tracking such things (or perhaps falling under the heading of "the media relations director has way too much time on his hands"), 19 different players have converted the "burger ball", including eight current members of the Fighting Irish roster.
What's more, of the 33 Big Mac games to date, 15 have been reached on two-point baskets, 13 on free throws, and five on three-pointers.
Next Game: Syracuse
The Orange (14-9, 3-6) are coming off a sharp 80-54 win at Providence last Tuesday night. Syracuse is playing host to USF on Saturday afternoon before the Fighting Irish come to central New York next week.