April 1, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS - Notre Dame senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) made a name for herself in the Fighting Irish record books as one of the program's most versatile players. On Thursday night, she added one more highlight to her remarkable career.
Competing in her hometown before a boisterous band of supporters that included Notre Dame teammates Melissa Lechlitner, Skylar Diggins and Fraderica Miller, Barlow finished second in the three-point competition at the 22nd annual State Farm College Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championships, which were held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, located adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium, the site of this year's NCAA Men's Final Four. The competition was televised by ESPN on a tape-delayed basis, with additional broadcasts slated throughout the upcoming weekend on the ESPN family of networks.
Barlow's runner-up finish is the best showing ever by a Notre Dame women's basketball player in the made-for-TV event, topping the semifinal performances by Sheila McMillen (1999) and Megan Duffy (2006), the latter coming on the competition's last visit to Indianapolis when it was contested at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. In that same 2006 event, Notre Dame men's basketball player Chris Quinn advanced to the finals, the best finish by a Fighting Irish cager of either gender prior to Barlow's result on Thursday night.
Barlow began her run to this year's three-point finals with a scintillating first-round performance that saw her roll up 20 points to tie her for second among the eight competitors, with the top four advancing to the semifinals. Participants earned one point for every three-point basket made, with a second point given when the shooter converts the "money ball" (the final ball in each of the five racks).
Barlow then went where no Notre Dame women's basketball player had gone before by scoring 19 points in the semifinals, again finishing second in the four-team field. Barlow actually went second in the semifinals and held the top spot before Detroit's Brigid Mulroy went one point better on the next pass. However, when the final shooter -- Loyola-Chicago's Maggie McCloskey -- cooled off after a hot start, Barlow's spot in the finals was secured.
With the lower score of the two finalists, Barlow went first, finishing with 11 points despite attempting only four shots on the third rack (top of the key) when one of the balls slipped off the rack and a replacement was not added in time. When Mulroy started slowly, it appeared Barlow's score might hold up, but Mulroy (who leads the NCAA with a .505 three-point percentage entering this weekend's Women's Final Four) caught fire over the final two racks, hitting five triples, including the final "money ball" to wrest the title from the Fighting Irish senior and slightly dampen the hometown success story.
Barlow recently completed a stellar career that saw her emerge as one of the most versatile players in Notre Dame women's basketball history. She is the only Fighting Irish basketball player (male or female) to amass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 steals in her career under the Golden Dome, and she is one of only three Notre Dame women's players to register at least 60 steals in four consecutive seasons, joining Coquese Washington (1989-93) and current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey (1997-2001) in that exclusive company.
The 5-foot-9 Barlow will graduate with a place among the top 10 on no fewer than 12 of Notre Dame's career statistical charts, including scoring (9th - 1,492 points), three-pointers made (6th - 139), three-point attempts (6th - 403), steals (tied/3rd - 281), steals per game (4th - 2.16 spg.), free throws made (6th - 359), free throws attempted (tied/6th - 444), free throw percentage (5th - .809), games played (tied/5th - 130), minutes played (7th - 3,664), double-figure scoring games (tied/8th - 78) and minutes per game (tied/9th - 28.2). In addition, her career-high 80 steals this year are tied for the ninth-most in a single season in program history, while she made at least one three-pointer in the final 16 games of her career, good for the fourth-longest single-season run in school annals.
A three-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection (and two-time second-team all-league choice), as well as a 2010 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/State Farm All-Region I honoree, Barlow led Notre Dame with a career-high 53 three-pointers this season, and ranked second on the team (seventh in the BIG EAST) with a .363 field goal percentage, just slightly below her career-high .364 three-point percentage from a year ago. She also proved to be a clutch performer numerous times throughout her career, most recently hitting the game-winning three-pointer with 34.2 seconds left in a 74-73 win at Syracuse on Jan. 30, 2010, then sinking the clinching trey with 3:10 to go in a 75-63 win at Rutgers on ESPN2's "Big Monday" national broadcast two days later.
A dedicated student-athlete enrolled in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, Barlow currently is completing work on her bachelor's degree in marketing-entrepreneurship and sociology. She comes from a family with a rich athletic pedigree -- her cousin, Ken, was a standout forward for Digger Phelps' Notre Dame men's basketball squads from 1982-86, serving as team captain his final two seasons while helping the Fighting Irish to two NCAA tournament berths (1985, 1986) and a runner-up finish at the 1984 National Invitation Tournament before being drafted in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. In addition, her brother, David, was an all-conference point guard at IUPUI from 2003-07, while her cousin, Kelsey, recently completed his freshman season on the men's basketball team at Purdue.