Feb. 5, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
No. 7/8 Notre Dame will face one of its toughest ACC competitors on Monday night as No. 9/7 Louisville comes to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center for an ESPN2 "Big Monday" game. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
"It's a huge game for both teams," Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women's Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw said. "It's certainly one where we have got to be ready. They have so many great weapons. They have great post play. They're an excellent team. It's going to be a battle.
"There's great parity in the league this year. This is the year that everybody thought anybody could win it and it certainly looks that way right now."
The game is also Superhero Night. Kids should dress up as their favorite superhero. The first 50 kids into the fun zone can watch the halftime act on the court. Spiderman, Ironman, Wonder Woman and Captain America will all be at Purcell Pavilion.
Here are a few more things to know about the game.
About the Cardinals
Louisville enters the game at 20-5 on the season and 7-2 in ACC play on the heels of Thursday night's overtime loss to NC State which the Wolfpack won at the buzzer. Asia Durr leads the ACC in 3-pointers made and is fifth in the league at 16.9 points per game. Preseason ACC Player of the Year Myisha Hines-Allen is second on the team with 13.3 points per game but sat out Thursday's loss to NC State with an "undisclosed injury" and Louisville has not updated her status for Monday night's game.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 12-4, including wins in each of the last nine meetings. Notre Dame is 4-2 against Louisville at home, wining each of the last three meetings. The teams have met four times in the postseason with Louisville claiming a win in the 1991 WNIT (the first-ever game between the schools) and Notre Dame taking three BIG EAST tournament contests.
The active nine-game winning streak against the Cardinals ties for the third-longest by the Irish against any ACC foe, trailing Notre Dame's 17 straight wins over Syracuse and 12 over Duke while matching its active nine-game winning streak over Boston College.
Last year, Madison Cable had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds to help the Irish to a 66-61 win at Louisville. Arike Ogunbowale led the Irish with 15 points off of the bench while Brianna Turner netted 13 and Lindsay Allen poured in 12. The Cardinals led by nine late in the second quarter but the Irish limited Louisville to just 26 second half points to rally back for the win.
Home Court Advantage
When playing at home, Notre Dame has enjoyed its typical home court advantage as provided by its incredibly loyal lime green-glad fans. In the latest NCAA update, the Irish ranked sixth nationally in average attendance (8,333) and also fifth in total (91,658) home attendance. Notre Dame was second nationally for operating at 91.08% of capacity at 9,149 seat Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, narrowly behind Gonzaga's 92.14%.
This advantage has played itself out particularly notably in conference play. Notre Dame has won a school-record 38 consecutive home conference games, beginning with a 66-47 win over Providence College on Feb. 14, 2012, in BIG EAST play.
Notre Dame is 28-0 at Purcell Pavilion in ACC play, going 8-0 in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 while also picking up a 4-0 mark this year following Sunday's win over Virginia.
The Irish offense has been notably more potent at home, averaging 82.3 points per game as opposed to 72.8 on the road. However, Notre Dame's defense has not missed a beat regardless of venue posting remarkably similar numbers. The Irish have held foes to 59.3 points per game and .384 shooting at home while permitting 60.4 points per game and .397 shooting on the road.
Notre Dame's Jan. 29 matinee vs. Virginia drew a sellout crowd of 9,149. It marked the 50th sellout in Irish history and the second this year, joining the Dec. 7 game against UConn.
Rico Makes Hokies Say "Uncle"
In the 41st double-figure scoring game of her career, Feb. 2 at Virginia Tech, Arike Ogunbowale paired it up for her first career double-double. The sophomore paired up her 16 points with a career-high 10 rebounds, plus a career-high six assists, to lead Notre Dame past Virginia Tech, 76-59.
Ogunbowale hit her stride just after halftime and helped Notre Dame maintain its advantage. The Irish came out of the break on an 11-2 run over the first 3:06 of the penultimate quarter, quickly extending a 34-29 halftime lead to 14 points at 45-31. Ogunbowale scored seven points in this spurt while grabbing three rebounds and adding an assist.
The Virginia Tech game was also her team-leading 11th time this year leading the team in scoring.
Allen Assist Chart Watch
Lindsay Allen's continued escalation to the top of the Notre Dame and ACC career assist leader charts will hit a noteworthy rung on Monday. Allen's next assist will be the 745th of her career, matching Skylar Diggins' career total for second place in school history. After that, all Allen will have left to reach the top is Mary Gavin whose record of 778 has stood since 1988 -- Muffet McGraw's first season at Notre Dame.
Allen also needs seven assists to match Kristi Tolliver of Maryland for second in ACC history.
"I don't (follow) but my mom texted me to be sure I average seven assists a game through the NCAA tournament," Allen said. "I was like `wow, no pressure.' I honestly have no idea where I am right now. I'm just continuing to play my game which is dishing the ball, looking for my shot and being at my best for my teammates.
Obviously, it would be a great honor to be able to pass (Diggins) and keep adding to that stat to help the team any way I can."
How to Watch/Listen
ESPN2 will broadcast the game nationally with Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke and Kara Lawson on the call. Games are also available online at WatchESPN.com (formerly branded as ESPN3) or through the WatchESPN app. Streams are free to all ESPN subscribers.
Information on how to access WatchESPN is available here.
For those familiar with the WatchESPN, the direct link to the webcast of the Louisville 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.