Feb. 20, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Pending approval of the Faculty Board on Athletics, Notre Dame’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw announced Monday night on her weekly radio show that senior Kristina Nelson is expected to return to the program next season and compete as a graduate student in her fifth season of eligibility. Nelson sat out the 2014-15 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Listed as a senior for 2016-17, Nelson will not join Lindsay Allen and Diamond Thompson in the Senior Night recognition slated for pre-game on Thursday night as the fifth-ranked Irish play host to Boston College. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:40 p.m. to take part in the senior tribute ceremony.
Nelson has played in 27 of the team’s 28 games this season for a career-high total of 308 minutes (11.4 per game). Nelson has scored 104 points (3.9 per game) and grabbed 83 rebounds (3.1 per game) on the season - both career highs as well. Nelson’s contributions off of the bench have helped lift the Irish to their lofty 25-3 overall record and 13-1 mark in ACC play. She was most recently called upon critically for a 21-minute, eight-point stint in relief of foul trouble-saddled Brianna Turner on Thursday night as the Irish staved off a fierce upset attempt on the road at Clemson.
Often referred to by McGraw during preseason as one of the team’s most improved players during the offseason, Nelson started the season with eight points and a career-high nine-rebound performance on opening night against Central Michigan on Nov. 11. She has been a lineup regular ever since, including pouring in a career-high 13 points against Pittsburgh on Jan. 12. Nelson showed her ability to pass out of her post position against Wake Forest on Jan. 5 when she had a career-high five assists, joining six points and six rebounds, in an Irish win over the Demon Deacons.
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.