Feb. 6, 2016
by Chris Masters
Notre Dame Game Notes
2015-16 ND Women's Basketball: Game 24
#3/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (22-1 / 10-0 ACC) vs. #13/13 Louisville Cardinals (18-5 / 10-0 ACC)
DATE: Feb. 7, 2016
TIME: 2:00 p.m. ET
AT: Louisville, Ky. - KFC Yum! Center (22,000)
SERIES: ND leads 11-4
STREAK: ND - won 8
1ST MTG: UL 80-75 (3/22/91)
LAST MTG: ND 68-52 (2/23/15)
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3/WatchESPN (live) (Pam Ward, p-b-p / Carolyn Peck, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: gocards.com
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TWITTER: @NDsidMasters / @ndwbb
StorylinesNotre Dame will face its seventh ranked opponent this season, having gone 5-1 against Top 25 teams to date.
The Fighting Irish are making their first visit to Louisville since the 2011-12 season.
No. 3 Fighting Irish On Road At No. 13 Louisville Sunday
The top two teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings will square off Sunday afternoon when No. 3 Notre Dame heads south to take on No. 13 Louisville at 2 p.m. (ET) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, while radio coverage will be available on South Bend’s Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and worldwide online via the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
Notre Dame (22-1, 10-0) picked up its 15th consecutive win on Thursday with a near wire-to-wire 82-46 victory over North Carolina State at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish pulled steadily clear, outscoring the Wolfpack, 29-10 in the third period and posting a .526 field-goal percentage for the game.
Graduate student guard Madison Cable tied her career high with 25 points, while sophomore forward Brianna Turner added 14 points to lead five Notre Dame players in double figures.
RankingsNotre Dame is No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 3 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
Louisville is No. 13 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is No. 13 in this week’s WBCA/USA Today poll.
Quick HittersNotre Dame is off to a 22-1 start or better for the fourth time in five years and sixth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14).
The Fighting Irish have registered their 22nd 20-win season in the past 23 years (1993-2016) and the 26th in head coach Muffet McGraw’s 29 seasons at Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish are 5-1 against ranked opponents this season, and also registered a win over UCLA on Nov. 28 in the Bahamas, two days before the Bruins entered the Associated Press poll (UCLA is 14th in this week’s AP poll and 16th in this week’s WBCA/USA Today coaches’ poll).
Despite losing two starters from the lineup that opened last April’s NCAA championship game in Tampa (and missing a third - sophomore forward Brianna Turner - with an injury for six games), Notre Dame has scarcely missed a beat this season, led in large measure by two first-time starters in graduate student guard Madison Cable (scoring up from 6.2 to 14.0 ppg.) and sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld (6.7 to 8.5 ppg.), as well as the reliable production off the bench from freshman guards Marina Mabrey (11.7 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.4 ppg.).
The Fighting Irish feature a very balanced attack with four players currently posting double-figure scoring averages (and two others at 8.5 ppg. or better). Of those six, two are freshmen (Marina Mabrey and Ogunbowale), and two are sophomores (Turner and Westbeld).
Notre Dame’s bench play has been sharp this season, with the Fighting Irish reserves averaging 30.3 points per game, compared to 13.7 ppg. for their opponent’s bench.
Notre Dame ranks among the top 20 in six NCAA statistical categories (as of Friday), including five top-10 rankings — three-point field-goal percentage (1st - .416), field-goal percentage (4th - .491), scoring margin (6th - +20.1 ppg.), assists (8th - 18.3 apg.) and scoring offense (10th - 80.4 ppg.). The Fighting Irish also rank 16th in assist/turnover ratio (1.24), while standing third in the non-statistical measure of win-loss percentage (.957).
Including this week’s No. 3 ranking, Notre Dame has appeared in the Associated Press poll for 168 consecutive weeks (the past 98 weeks in the AP Top 10), extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll, and ranking fifth in the nation among active AP poll appearances.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for 110 of 121 weeks this decade (since 2010-11), ranking second in the nation in that category behind only Connecticut (121).
Every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a top-10 Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (66 of 72 weeks) spent in the top five of the Associated Press poll.
Notre Dame also is ranked No. 3 in this week’s Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll, making its 135th consecutive appearance in that survey. It’s also the eighth consecutive season and 14 of the past 18 years the Fighting Irish have appeared in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll.
Notre Dame has a remarkable tradition of success at home inside Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 430-91 (.825) all-time record in 39 seasons at the facility, including a 107-6 (.947) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
Including regular season and postseason play, the Fighting Irish have won 88 of their last 92 games against conference opponents (and a school record-tying 31 in a row at home), dating back to their membership in the BIG EAST.
Since joining the ACC prior to the 2013-14 season, Notre Dame is 48-1 against conference foes (41-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason). The last ACC school to lose only once in regular-season conference play during a two-year span was Duke in 2003 and 2004.
Guards Madison Cable, Hannah Huffman and Michaela Mabrey have helped Notre Dame to a 130-7 (.949) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year’s senior class of Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright as the most successful in Fighting Irish history. Holloway and Wright helped Notre Dame to a 143-10 (.935) record in their four-year careers, with those 143 wins tying for the second-most victories by any four-year class in NCAA Division I history (the Connecticut class of 2011 amassed 150 wins, while the Louisiana Tech class of 1982 also had 143 victories).
Since they first suited up at Notre Dame in 2012-13, Cable, Huffman and Mabrey have paced Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship games and three NCAA Women’s Final Fours (plus three conference regular season titles and three league tournament crowns), as well as a 44-6 (.880) record against ranked teams (24-6 against top-10 opponents).
With 721 victories in her 29 seasons at Notre Dame, head coach Muffet McGraw ranks second on the Fighting Irish athletics all-time coaching wins list (across all sports), trailing only men’s/women’s fencing coach Michael DeCicco (774-80 from 1962-95).
With 809 career wins, McGraw ranks 10th in NCAA Division I coaching history (seventh among active coaches). She also is one of two ACC coaches in the top 10 all-time, along with current North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell (second all-time/first among active with 973 as of Friday).
The Notre Dame-Louisville Series
Notre Dame and Louisville will meet for the 16th time in their series history on Sunday afternoon, with the Fighting Irish holding an 11-4 edge over the Cardinals, including victories in the past eight matchups. Notre Dame also is 4-1 all-time when playing at Louisville, winning on its last three trips to the River City.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Louisville Met
Fourth-ranked Notre Dame blocked five shots in a little over five minutes during a decisive 16-0 second-half run to beat No. 8/7 Louisville, 68-52 on Feb. 23, 2015, at Purcell Pavilion.
Brianna Turner finished with seven blocked shots, six in the second half, 11 points and nine rebounds. The Fighting Irish were led offensively by Jewell Loyd with 20 points and Taya Reimer with 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field.
Louisville went scoreless for 5:40 during the game-turning run, missing eight straight attempts as the Cardinals repeatedly put up bad shots. Bria Smith missed a long jump shot just before the shot clock expired. Then Shawnta’ Dyer put up a shot off the bottom of the backboard, followed by a try by Smith as the shot clock expired that went off the top of the backboard.
Dyer, Sara Hammond and Mariya Moore all finished with 11 points for Louisville, which was held to 33 percent shooting, 29 percent in the second half.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Louisville Met at the KFC Yum! Center
Skylar Diggins scored 21 points and Kayla McBride added 15 to lead No. 3/4 Notre Dame over No. 16 Louisville 68-52 on Feb. 20, 2012, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, and moving the Fighting Irish one step closer to a BIG EAST title.
Antonita Slaughter scored 12 points for the Cardinals, while Brittany Mallory had 13 points, and Devereaux Peters added 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds for Notre Dame, which shot 61.9 percent in the second half to pull away.
The Fighting Irish struggled from the field in the first half before using a 12-4 run early in the second to take their first double-digit lead when Peters had a layup and made two free throws on the next possession to put Notre Dame ahead 44-33.
After Louisville cut it to 46-39 on a layup by Shawnta’ Dyer off a pass from Shoni Schimmel with 8:55 left, Mallory answered with a three-pointer in the left corner following a timeout. She pumped her fist and clapped twice on a play that thwarted a potential run and silenced the Louisville crowd.
Mallory’s shot turned out to be a big one. The Cardinals missed 14 of their 16 three-point attempts as Notre Dame surged ahead.
Diggins hit 11 of 12 free throws, and Notre Dame finished 17 of 18 (.944) overall, matching its best shooting performance at the line since Jan. 16, 2008, against Villanova.
Other Notre Dame-Louisville Series TidbitsLouisville is one of six ACC opponents Notre Dame previously had faced when it was a member of the BIG EAST Conference (others are Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia Tech). The Fighting Irish went 9-2 against the Cardinals during their shared BIG EAST membership (2005-06 through 2012-13), posting a 6-2 regular season record and 3-0 mark in the BIG EAST Tournament.
More than half (8) of the 15 games in the series have been decided by 15 points or fewer. When Louisville joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06, the first four series games were decided by 10 points or fewer, before six of the next seven series matchups, all Notre Dame victories, exceeded that margin. The lone exception was a 63-53 Fighting Irish win in the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinals at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
Eight times in the 15-game series has either team scored at least 70 points, and coincidentally, both teams did it in the same game twice. The Cardinals won the first-ever matchup, 80-75, in the 1991 National Women’s Invitation Tournament (NWIT) consolation semifinals at Amarillo, Texas, while the Fighting Irish won in 2008 at Freedom Hall, 82-74. In five of its past eight matchups with Louisville, Notre Dame has topped 70 points, most recently in an 83-59 victory in the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament semifinals at Hartford, Connecticut.
The home team has won only five of the 11 on-campus games in the series, with the Cardinals winning at Freedom Hall in 2006 (61-51) and the Fighting Irish taking contests at Purcell Pavilion in 2007 (64-55), 2011 (80-60), 2013 (93-64) and 2015 (68-52).
Notre Dame sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld was teammates with Louisville sophomore forwards Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore on the East Team at the 2014 McDonald’s High School All-America Game, played at the United Center in Chicago. The East Team dropped an 80-78 decision to the West squad, led by Notre Dame sophomore forward Brianna Turner, who was named the game’s MVP after posting 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Half of the East Team’s roster at the 2015 McDonald’s High School All-America Game was made up of players who now play for one of Sunday afternoon’s participants. Notre Dame freshman guards Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale and Ali Patberg joined Louisville rookies Taja Cole, Asia Durr and Samantha Fuehring in helping the East Team to an 89-87 victory over the West at Chicago’s United Center, with Mabrey, Ogunbowale and Durr all starting, and Mabrey earning co-Most Valuable Player honors.
Turner earned her fifth gold medal with USA Basketball in 2014 at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of Team USA’s assistant coaches on that squad was Louisville head coach Jeff Walz, while Marina Mabrey also suited up for the American side that summer.
Patberg picked up her first USA Basketball gold medal in the summer of 2015 at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Chekhov, Russia, playing alongside Moore and for a staff that included Walz.
Carole Banda, the Director of Olympic Sports Medicine at Louisville, spent 10 years on the sports medicine staff at Notre Dame from 1991-2000, the last four as the athletic trainer for the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team (including Notre Dame’s 1996-97 NCAA Women’s Final Four squad).
Louisville director of performance nutrition Kayla Matrunick spent four years (2011-15) on Notre Dame’s sports nutrition staff, the last as the division’s director, and worked closely with the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team throughout her tenure.
Peaking When It CountsWhen the regular season enters its stretch run in the month of February, Notre Dame historically seems to raise its level of play.
Since 1995-96, the Fighting Irish are 123-28 (.815) in February games (including an active 28-game winning streak), as well as a 69-6 (.920) mark at home.
In the 29-year Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present), the Fighting Irish are 171-43 (.799) in the month of February, including a 91-12 (.883) home record.
In that time, Notre Dame has never posted a losing record in February, and only once did the Fighting Irish end the month at .500 (4-4 in 1988-89, McGraw’s second year in South Bend).
Turner of FortuneSophomore forward Brianna Turner has had a significant effect on Notre Dame’s fortunes throughout her young career, and entered this year as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Thus, when she was sidelined for six games earlier this season with a shoulder injury, the Fighting Irish saw a noticeable change in their productivity, mainly at the defensive end of the court without their 6-foot-3 rim protector.
Through 17 games with Turner in the lineup, Notre Dame has allowed just 54.5 points per game, while holding opponents to a .336 field-goal percentage and .278 three-point percentage, while posting a +5.1 rebounding margin. In fact, just one opponent has scored more than 70 points against the Fighting Irish with Turner in uniform this season (Georgia Tech in an 85-76 Notre Dame win on Dec. 30), and 11 of those 17 foes did not top 60 points.
Conversely, when Turner was out from Nov. 27-Dec. 12, the Fighting Irish allowed 76.8 points per game, while opponents shot .458 from the field, .339 from the three-point line and Notre Dame’s rebounding margin was trimmed to +4.5 rpg.
Allen Is The Iron WomanNotre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw has often noted that she seeks the kind of point guard to whom she can roll the ball out as a freshman and then take it back when that player graduates four years later. As it turns out, junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen is following that notion to the letter.
Allen has started all 100 games of her Fighting Irish career, setting the program record for the longest streak of consecutive games started in Notre Dame history, surpassing Jacqueline Batteast, who started 97 in a row from Jan. 26, 2002-March 21, 2005.
When Allen took the reins for Notre Dame’s 2013-14 season opener against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9, 2013 (a 99-50 win at Purcell Pavilion), she became the first true freshman to start at point guard for Notre Dame in a season opener since Nov. 26, 1994, when Mollie Peirick led the Fighting Irish offense in a 65-60 overtime loss at 25th-ranked Seton Hall.
Allen’s current run of consecutive starts is longer than a pair of recent All-America guards who were poised to challenge the school record in Skylar Diggins (86 from 2011-13) and Jewell Loyd (86 from 2013-15). Diggins twice gave up her starting spot for graduating seniors to start on Senior Day, while Loyd started nearly every game of her three seasons at Notre Dame before forgoing her final year of eligibility in 2015-16 to enter the WNBA Draft.
With Allen at the helm, the Fighting Irish have amassed a stellar 95-5 (.950) record — and when you factor in her final prep season at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., Allen’s teams are a combined 122-6 (.953) in the past four years when she’s been in the starting lineup.
McGraw Earns 800th Career WinWith her team’s 65-55 win on Jan. 3 at Pittsburgh, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw became the 10th NCAA Division I coach to register 800 career victories. McGraw has a 34-year record of 809-263 (.755), including a 721-222 (.765) record in 29 seasons with the Fighting Irish.
McGraw is just the fifth NCAA Division I coach in either men’s or women’s basketball history to amass 800 wins, seven NCAA Final Four berths and five NCAA championship game appearances in his/her career. The other four — all of whom are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — are Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and two men’s coaches — Duke’s current skipper Mike Krzyzewski and the late North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
McGraw became the sixth-fastest Division I coach to reach the 800-win milestone, doing so in 1,063 career games to hit the mark quicker than several other notable coaches including Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (1,064 games), recently-retired Georgia head coach Andy Landers (1,068 games) and North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell (1,074 games), and nearly in lockstep with former Texas head coach Jody Conradt (1,062 games).
Four of the five Division I coaches who reached 800 wins faster than McGraw are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — Auriemma (928 games), Summitt (958 games), Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer (997 games) and Conradt. The lone exception is Montana’s Robin Selvig (1,055 games).
McGraw is among 14 women’s basketball nominees on the ballot for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016, which was announced Dec. 21. The four women’s basketball finalists for this year’s class will be revealed Feb. 12 during NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, with the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 unveiled April 4 during the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. McGraw previously was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Spreading The WealthNotre Dame has had at least four players score in double figures in 14 games this year, going 13-1 in those contests.
Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 131-6 (.956) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 101 of their last 103 such outings.
In the past seven seasons, Notre Dame’s only losses when it has fielded at least four double-figure scorers both came against Connecticut - 83-65 in the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinal at New Orleans Arena (now known as the Smoothie King Center), and 91-81 earlier this season on Dec. 5 in the Jimmy V Classic at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.
For the season, Notre Dame currently has four players registering double-figure scoring averages (and two others at better than 8.5 ppg.), three of whom are ranked among the top 30 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (as of Friday) — graduate student guard Madison Cable (13th - team-high 14.0 ppg.), freshman guard Marina Mabrey (25th - 11.7 ppg.; fourth among ACC rookies) and freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (27th - 11.4 ppg.; sixth among ACC rookies). This doesn’t include sophomore forward Brianna Turner (13.9 ppg.), who has not yet played in the minimum 75 percent of her team’s games necessary to qualify for the ACC overall statistical rankings.
Three For The MoneyNotre Dame has heated up from the three-point line in a big way, canning 144 treys this season (6.26 per game).
At their current pace, the Fighting Irish would easily top the single-season program record for three-pointers per game (5.74 in 1998-99). In fact, only once in the past 13 seasons has Notre Dame averaged five treys per game (2013-14, when it made exactly five per contest and a school-record 190 total).
The Fighting Irish tied a school record with 13 three-pointers on Dec. 5 at top-ranked Connecticut. The 13 triples (which Notre Dame last registered on Jan. 2, 2002, at Miami) also matched two UConn opponent records for three-pointers in a single game (overall and Gampel Pavilion).
Notre Dame’s .650 three-point percentage (13-of-20) at UConn was the highest against the Huskies since March 26, 2007, when LSU made 7-of-10 three-pointers (.700) against UConn in the NCAA Fresno Regional final (Elite Eight) in Fresno, California.
The Fighting Irish lead the country in three-point percentage (as of Friday), connecting at a .416 clip from beyond the arc, while graduate student guard Madison Cable (.468) currently ranks as the nation’s No. 3 individual three-point shooter.
The Second PlatoonAnother reason for Notre Dame’s success this season has been the performance of its reserves, who are averaging more than 30 points per game and have outscored the opponent’s bench by more than a 2-to-1 margin (30.3 ppg. to 13.7 ppg.).
The Notre Dame reserves have combined to score at least 30 points in 12 games this year, including five 40-point outings.
The Fighting Irish second unit has outscored the opponent’s bench in 21 games this season, including a season-high 64 points on Nov. 23 at Valparaiso, outscoring the entire Crusader roster by 10 points (not to mention the Notre Dame starters by 18).
The Fighting Irish reserves also outscored the full Virginia Tech roster on Jan. 24, edging the Hokies, 42-41 (and outscoring the Notre Dame starters by four).
In addition to the Valparaiso and Virginia Tech games, the Fighting Irish bench came close to outscoring the entire opposing team on two other occasions — Nov. 18 vs. Toledo (UT 39, ND reserves 32) and Nov. 27 vs. Denver at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas (DU 52, ND reserves 48).
A pair of freshman guards — Marina Mabrey (11.7 ppg.) and Arike Ogunbowale (11.4 ppg.) head up the strong Fighting Irish bench contingent, which has seen at least one reserve score in double figures in 19 games this year (total of 30 double-figure outings).
Streak StatsSince the start of the 2012-13 season, Notre Dame has posted a 130-7 (.949) record.
In that four-year span, six of the seven Fighting Irish losses have come against top-three teams, including the past five against Connecticut — No. 3 Baylor (73-61 on Dec. 5, 2012, at Purcell Pavilion), No. 3 Connecticut (83-65 on April 7, 2013, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals at New Orleans Arena - now known as the Smoothie King Center - in New Orleans, Louisiana), No. 1 Connecticut (79-58 on April 8, 2014, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national championship game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee), No. 3 Connecticut (76-58 on Dec. 6, 2014, in the Jimmy V Classic at Purcell Pavilion), No. 1 Connecticut (63-53 on April 7, 2015, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national championship game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida) and No. 1 Connecticut (91-81 on Dec. 5, 2015, in the Jimmy V Classic in Storrs, Connecticut).
The other loss came on Jan. 8, 2015, with a 78-63 setback at Miami. That defeat ended Notre Dame’s 61-game winning streak against unranked opponents in the Associated Press poll, the second-longest active run in the nation (research for this note provided by STATS via the AP).
Conference ConquestsIncluding postseason tournament results (league and NCAA), Notre Dame has won 88 of its last 92 games against conference opponents, dating back to the start of the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Tournament.
Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference prior to the 2013-14 season, the Fighting Irish are 48-1 against league opponents, going 41-1 in the regular season and 7-0 in the postseason (including a win over then-ACC member Maryland in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals).
Notre Dame’s only loss to an ACC opponent since joining the conference came on Jan. 8, 2015 — a 78-63 defeat at Miami that ended a school-record streak of 38 consecutive wins in regular season conference games. Since then, Notre Dame has won its last 23 regular season games against ACC opponents.
The Fighting Irish also have won 31 consecutive home games against conference opponents, a streak that began on Feb. 14, 2012, with a 66-47 win over Providence. The current run ties the school record set from 1998-2002 during the program’s BIG EAST membership.
Poise Under PressureNotre Dame has won its last 25 games decided by single digits and/or in overtime, including six times this season.
The Fighting Irish last dropped a single-digit decision on March 6, 2012, falling 63-54 at No. 4 Connecticut in the BIG EAST Conference Tournament championship game at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
Notre Dame has been sharp when pushed to overtime, winning six in a row and eight of its last 11 when going to an extra session.
Visiting Century CityNotre Dame’s 110-51 victory at Valparaiso on Nov. 23 was its 13th 100-point game since the start of the 2011-12 season (and 10 other games of 95-99 points), a remarkable offensive explosion considering Notre Dame had 13 triple-digit games in the first 34 years of the program’s existence — and just four in the 12 seasons prior to its current run.
Road WarriorsNotre Dame has enjoyed remarkable success on the road in recent seasons, having won 54 of its last 56 (and 61 of its last 68) regular season road games.
The only blemishes for the Fighting Irish in this current run (which dates back to the early portion of the 2011-12 campaign) are a 78-63 loss at Miami on Jan. 8, 2015, and a 91-81 defeat at top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 5, 2015, in the Jimmy V Classic.
The loss in Miami snapped Notre Dame’s NCAA Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak. It was an amazing string of results in hostile territory, a streak that lasted exactly three years (Jan. 4, 2012-Jan. 4, 2015) and left Notre Dame tied with Connecticut for the NCAA Division I all-time mark in that category.
One of the more notable highlights of Notre Dame’s sensational recent road run came on Jan. 5, 2013, when Notre Dame edged No. 1 Connecticut, 73-72, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut, earning its fourth all-time win over a top-ranked opponent and first-ever victory on the road.
Nearly In A Class By ThemselvesFor the fifth consecutive season, a Notre Dame senior class is threatening to set the bar in terms of career wins by one group. The current class of tri-captain Michaela Mabrey, plus Madison Cable and Hannah Huffman, is tied for third all-time with 130 wins (130-7, .949), trailing only the past two senior classes (2014-15) and tying the one before that (2013).
Last year, the Fighting Irish two-player senior class of Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright posted the best four-year record (143-10, .935) in program history and tied for the second-most wins by one senior class in NCAA Division I history (Connecticut’s 2011 class had 150 victories, while the 1982 Louisiana Tech seniors also had 143 wins).
Holloway and Wright’s feat topped the Notre Dame’s Class of 2014 (Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride), which had previously the best four-year record (138-15, .902) in school history, topping the win total (130) compiled by the prior year’s seniors (Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner).
The year before Diggins and Turner departed, Notre Dame’s Class of 2012 (Brittany Mallory, Fraderica Miller, Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters) rang up 117 wins to set the early benchmark in this current era of Fighting Irish women’s basketball success.
Prior to the 2011-12 season, the highest four-year win total by a senior class was 109, set by the Class of 2001 that capped their careers with the program’s first NCAA national championship and included (among others) consensus national player of the year and 13-year WNBA veteran Ruth Riley, as well as current Fighting Irish associate coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey.
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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).