March 18, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
It was not Notre Dame's first choice, but the Irish were hardly surprised when their NCAA second round game against Purdue on Sunday was slated for a marquee 9 p.m. tipoff on ESPN2. It is a matchup of two major conference foes and in-state rivals who have not played in five years. Notre Dame and Purdue is a rematch of the 2001 national championship game, won by the Irish, and is the fifth time the teams have met under the bright lights and pressure of "the big dance."
Ranking sixth in the nation in attendance during the regular season, the late tip off understandably is not conducive to many in the large crowds which regular help push the Irish onwards to victory. So, getting into the timeframe as best as the school can, Notre Dame women's basketball will be hosting a pajama party for the 9 p.m. tipoff.
Taking advantage of local schools being of on Monday, the first 500 children who come to the game in pajamas will get a voucher for a free hot dog and soda from the arena's concession stands. Also, the first 500 fans will get a voucher for a free cup of coffee.
Fans of all ages should be treated to a fun game as well. Big Ten Tournament runner-up and ninth-seeded Purdue has won nine of its last 10 games and will aim to snap a seven-game skid against the Irish to advance to the Sweet 16.
Here are some more things to know about the game.
About the Boilermakers
Purdue stood at 14-11 on Feb. 11 and in danger of missing the NCAA field but has been one of the nation's hottest teams since. The Boilermakers have won nine of their last 10, advancing to the championship game of the Big ten Tournament in Indianapolis in the process. Dynamic guard Ashley Morrissette leads Purdue with 16.6 points per game while racking up 162 assists and 81 steals. Two other Boilermakers average double figures in scoring, Dominique Oden (10.7) and Bridget Perry (10.1). Sharon Versyp is 354-196 in her 17-year head coaching career with a 237-131 mark in her 11 years at Purdue. She is 0-8 against the Irish, 0-7 with the Boilermakers and 0-1 while serving as head coach at Indiana.
Purdue leads the all-time series with the Irish, 14-12, but Notre Dame won the most meaningful of the 26 contests, beating the Boilermakers, 68-66, in the 2001 NCAA championship game. Of teams that have played the Irish at least 10 times, only Purdue, Rutgers, Tennessee, UCLA and UConn lead their series against Notre Dame.
The teams last played in 2012 and Notre Dame has won each of the last seven meetings, the longest run for either side in series history.
Notre Dame and Purdue are 2-2 in NCAA Championship meetings with the Irish winning games in the 1996 first round and 2001 national championship game while the Boilermakers claimed 1998 and 2003 Sweet 16 wins.
This marks the second year in a row the Irish have played host to a No. 9 seed from the Hoosier State in the second round, defeating Indiana, 87-70, last year.
Notre Dame is 2-0 this year against Big Ten teams, beating Iowa, 73-58, on Nov. 30 in Iowa City and Michigan State, 79-61, on Dec. 20 in East Lansing.
Notre Dame is on a 17-game winning streak against Big Ten teams (at game time), dating back to a loss to Minnesota in the 2009 NCAA Championship. That run extends to 25 games if counting wins against Maryland and Rutgers when they competed in the ACC and BIG EAST, respectively.
Allen Reaches NCAA-Level Records
Lindsay Allen has been rewriting the Notre Dame and ACC record books all season. She is now on the cusp of making some national history as well.
With her six assists on Friday night against Robert Morris, Allen now has 91 assists in her 16 NCAA Championship games, ranking eighth in tournament history. She needs one assist against Purdue to tie a pair of legends for sixth place -- Virginia's Dawn Staley and Old Dominion's Ticha Penicheiro. Other luminaries ahead of Allen include Teresa Weatherspoon, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins.
Meanwhile, with 817 career assists after Friday night's efforts, Allen is just nine shy of tying Penn State's Tina Nicholson for 25th place in NCAA history with 826 and 12 shy of the 24th-place position of Claire Faucher of Portland State. The NCAA record is 1,307 amassed by Penn State alumna (and current Pitt head coach) Suzie McConnell from 1985-88.
Notre Dame is currently riding a 41-game winning streak on Sundays.
The Irish are 10-0 on Sunday's this year including some of its biggest victories of the season. The Irish downed Washington on Sunday, Nov. 20, to claim the Preseason WNIT title. Notre Dame beat Florida State on Sunday, Feb. 26, to claim the outright ACC regular season championship. The irish also beat Duke on Sunday, March 5, in the championship game of the ACC Tournament. The Irish also have ranked wins on Sundays this year over Miami (Jan. 8) and Syracuse (Feb. 19).
The last time Notre Dame lost a game played on Sunday was April 7, 2013, when UConn beat the Irish in New Orleans in the NCAA Final Four.
How to Watch/Listen
The game will be broadcast on ESPN with Paul Sunderland and Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault handling the call. It will also be streamed online at WatchESPN.
Information on how to access WatchESPN is available here.
For those familiar with the WatchESPN, the direct link to the webcast of Sunday'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.