Feb. 15, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
The No. 7/6 Notre Dame women's basketball team will conclude the road portion of its 2016-17 schedule with a pair of away games this week, starting off with a 7 p.m. tilt on Thursday night at Clemson. ACC Network Extra will provide a live webstream of the contest.
The Irish will have a short roster for the contest as Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women's Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw told the media on Wednesday that Kathryn Westbeld is doubtful for the game with her ankle injury, she also does not expect Ali Patberg (flu) to play and Mychal Johnson (shoulder) is questionable at best. This potentially leaves Notre Dame with just eight people to face the Tigers, creating little margin for error in an ACC road game. Thankfully, the Irish are 57-4 on the road over the past five years, but nothing in sports is assured as two of those losses have come this season (at NC State and at Tennessee).
Here is some more information about the game:
About the Tigers
Clemson holds a 14-12 record on the season and a 3-10 mark in ACC play, going 11-2 in non-league action. The Tigers have won two of their last three games, downing North Carolina and Pitt before falling on Sunday at Miami. The Tigers are 9-6 this year at their newly-renovated Littlejohn Coliseum home floor. Nelly Perry tops the Tigers at 12.0 points per game while Aliyah Collier averages 10.8 points per game. Collier also leads Clemson at 8.5 rebounds per game. Audra Smith is in her fourth year as head coach at Clemson (40-78) and stands at 178-216 overall in her 13-year head coaching career after spending nine years at UAB.
The Irish have won all three meetings against the Tigers. This will be Notre Dame's second visit to Littlejohn Coliseum, claiming a 74-36 victory there on Jan. 24, 2015.
Clemson is the only ACC school which the Irish had never faced prior to joining the conference for the 2013-14 season. The Tigers are one of four ACC schools the Irish have never lost to, joining Florida State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. Clemson is one of 12 ACC teams yet to beat the Irish in league play (all but Miami and NC State).
Last year at Notre Dame, the Irish claimed a 71-52 victory. Arike Ogunbowale led the Irish with 16 points while Brianna Turner added 14 points and eight rebounds as the Irish claimed their 20th victory of the year and clinched at least a share of their third consecutive ACC regular season title, a crown they would later earn outright two days later with a win over Boston College.
"They have a whole new team from last year," McGraw said. "It seems like this is a different team. They are getting a lot of confidence now. They're a young team just figuring things out. They're a dangerous team at home."
Allen Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist
Senior Lindsay Allen is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, announced on Wednesday. The honor recognizes seniors who excel both on and off of the basketball court.
Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website through March 20. Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winners.
Fans can vote for Allen online at seniorCLASSaward.com.
Young Reclaims ACC Rookie of the Week
For the second time this season, Jackie Young was named the ACC's Rookie of the Week on Monday after helping guide the Irish to conference victories over No. 12 Louisville and Georgia Tech.
On ESPN2's "Big Monday," Young scored 16 points while snaring seven rebounds as the Irish picked up a crucial, 85-66, win against Louisville in ACC play. The 16 points were Young's best showing of the season in an ACC game and her second-best scoring output of the season overall, trailing just her 20-point day against Valparaiso on Dec. 4. Young would be Notre Dame's second-leading scorer in the win over the Cardinals (Arike Ogunbowale scored 22) while the seven rebounds were one off of her career high.
Young would set a career high with her five assists while not committing a turnover in Sunday's 90-66 win over Georgia Tech. Young also tied her career high as she grabbed eight rebounds against the Yellow Jackets.
She had previously received the elite league's weekly rookie accolade on Dec. 5 after her 20-point showing against Valparaiso and making significant contributions to Notre Dame's Nov. 30 road win at Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"Lately, her rebounding has been strong at both ends," McGraw said. "At the offensive end, she's been getting some big rebounds. She's aggressive going after it, but she's really been steady and doing a lot of good things. Her shot selection has been really good. She's shooting a little more - which I like. I want her to shoot even more. Defensively she continues to get better. I've seen a lot of improvement."
11 Would Be Heaven
The Dec. 20 game at Michigan State and the Dec. 27 game at Chattanooga have been the only two this season in which Notre Dame's entire roster was available to play - and all 11 did in each contest.
The most recent player to miss time for injury and/or illness is Mychal Johnson who hurt her shoulder in practice on Jan. 25 and has been out since.
Johnson's loss overlapped with the return of Kathryn Westbeld who hurt her ankle in practice on Jan. 18 and missed the Boston College (Jan. 19) and North Carolina (Jan. 22) before returning to the lineup against Duke (Jan. 26). She has played off the bench since based on need.
Additionally, Jackie Young has missed five games due to knee and ankle injuries while being limited in several other midseason contests as she recovered from the ankle injury. Fellow former Indiana Miss Basketball Ali Patberg missed 10 games with a virus and also saw limited action in a few midseason games as she continued to regain her strength. She also missed the Georgia Tech game with the flu.
Senior Diamond Thompson has missed seven games this year due to a combination of injury and illness.
How to Watch/Listen
The first official steps towards the creation of an ACC Network began this summer in conjunction with ESPN. Most non-televised ACC road games will now be streamed under the banner of ACC Network Extra, similar to all of Notre Dame's non-televised home games. Games are 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 Thursday'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.