Nov. 10, 2013
2013-14 ND Women's Basketball: Game 2
#6/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. #20/18 Michigan State Spartans (0-0 / 0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: Nov. 11, 2013
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: MSU leads 8-6
1ST MTG: MSU 76-45 (2/26/81)
LAST MTG: ND 68-67 (11/19/09)
TV: WatchND (live) (Ryan Camden, p-b-p / Courtney LaVere, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356; UND.com/buytickets
StorylinesNotre Dame is 27-5 (.844) against ranked opponents in the past two seasons, including an 8-1 record at home during that time.
The Fighting Irish will hold several in-game Veterans Day recognition events, as they play on Nov. 11 for just the second time in program history (81-61 home win over Akron in 2011).
Top-20 Test On Tap Monday As No. 6/7 Fighting Irish Host No. 20/18 Michigan State
The first challenge of the 2013-14 season for No. 6/7 Notre Dame comes Monday night when the Fighting Irish play host to No. 20/18 Michigan State at 7 p.m. (ET) at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be streamed live and free of charge on the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
As they have done for nearly the past two decades, the Fighting Irish opened with a victory, leading wire-to-wire in a 99-50 win over visiting UNC Wilmington on Saturday. Notre Dame shot .629 from the field and outrebounded the Seahawks, 54-24 to capture the win.
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd tallied her second career double-double (19 points/11 rebounds) for the Fighting Irish, while classmate Michaela Mabrey added a career-high 19 points and senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride chipped in 17 points.
RankingsNotre Dame is No. 6 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the preseason WBCA/USA Today poll.
Michigan State is No. 20 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the preseason WBCA/USA Today poll.
Quick HittersThis year's No. 6 ranking in the AP poll represents the 14th time in the past 15 years (starting with the 1999-2000 campaign) Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason media poll, something only seven schools in the nation have done -- Connecticut, Duke and Tennessee have shown up in all 15 during that span, while Georgia, Oklahoma and Stanford join the Fighting Irish with 14 preseason AP poll berths.
With their No. 7 ranking, this marks the fifth consecutive season the Fighting Irish have appeared in the preseason WBCA-USA Today poll, as well as the fourth time in five years Notre Dame has opened the season ranked in the top 10 in both national polls.
Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 117 consecutive weeks (including the past 47 weeks in the AP Top 10), extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll, and ranking sixth in the nation among active AP poll appearances. What's more, every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a ranked Notre Dame squad during her career, with the vast majority of that time (67 of 78 weeks) spent in the AP Top 10.
Senior forwards Natalie Achonwa and Ariel Braker, and senior guard Kayla McBride have helped Notre Dame to a 102-14 (.879) record in their careers, putting them on pace to challenge last year's senior class of Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner, who helped Notre Dame to 130 wins in their careers.
In their first three seasons, Achonwa, Braker and McBride have paced Notre Dame to two NCAA national championship games and three NCAA Women's Final Fours (plus two BIG EAST regular-season titles and the 2013 BIG EAST Championship crown), as well as a 31-13 record against ranked teams (16-11 against AP Top 10).
Of the 14 losses suffered by the current Fighting Irish senior class, eight were decided by single digits (and three others by 10-13 points).
Notre Dame aims to continue its remarkable success at Purcell Pavilion, with the Fighting Irish owning a 385-90 (.811) all-time record in 37 seasons at the facility, including a 62-5 (.925) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
With 627 victories in her 27 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).
McGraw needs 24 victories to move into the top 10 on the NCAA Division I career wins list. She currently stands 12th behind two former ACC coaches -- Virginia's Debbie Ryan (739) and the late North Carolina State coach Kay Yow (737).
Other Notre Dame NotablesNotre Dame is among the nation's winningest programs during the past 18 seasons (1996-97 to present), ranking fourth with 445 victories.
Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in average attendance annually since 2000-01 (including top-five rankings the past four years), most recently placing fifth in the nation last season with a school-record 8,979 fans per game, topping the previous year's mark (8,571) and setting a new school record for the fourth year in a row. The Fighting Irish also have drawn at least 5,000 fans to 191 of their last 193 home games (including an active streak of 34 consecutive contests with 8,000 fans), logging 36 Purcell Pavilion sellouts, including 30 since the start of the 2009-10 campaign and a school-record 11 sellouts last year.
The Fighting Irish have become a regular fixture in the WNBA Draft in recent years, as 10 Notre Dame players have been selected in the past 13 seasons. Skylar Diggins was the most recent Fighting Irish player to be chosen, going to the Tulsa Shock in the first round (third overall pick) of the 2013 WNBA Draft. It marked the second consecutive year Notre Dame had a player selected No. 3 overall (Devereaux Peters went third to Minnesota in 2012), making the Fighting Irish just the second program to field lottery choices in consecutive seasons.
Peters went on to earn her first WNBA Championship with the Lynx (and fifth by a Notre Dame alum, who defeated the Atlanta Dream (and former Fighting Irish All-American Ruth Riley) in the WNBA Finals. Riley previously had won a pair of crowns with the Detroit Shock (2003 Finals MVP, 2006), while Coquese Washington toiled for the 2000 Houston Comets, while Jacqueline Batteast was Riley's teammate on the 2006 title-winning squad in Detroit.
For the seventh year in a row, the Fighting Irish posted a perfect 100-percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to figures released by the NCAA in October. What's more, Notre Dame was one of only four schools in the previous six years to record a 100-percent GSR and play for a national championship in the same season (and the only program to do it twice, pulling off that feat in 2011 and 2012).
The Notre Dame-Michigan State Series
Notre Dame and Michigan State will square off for the 15th time on Monday night, with the Spartans holding an 8-6 edge on the Fighting Irish, including a 4-3 record at Purcell Pavilion.
MSU won six of the first eight games in the series from 1981-95, but since then, Notre Dame has had the upper hand, winning four of the past six, including both ends of a home-and-home series in 2008 and 2009.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Michigan State Met
Ashley Barlow scored 18 points and hit a tiebreaking free throw with 10 seconds left, lifting fifth-ranked Notre Dame to a 68-67 victory over No. 21 Michigan State on Nov. 19, 2009, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
The Spartans had a chance to win after Barlow's late foul shot, but Aisha Jefferson missed a jumper from the lane with four seconds to go.
Allyssa DeHaan led MSU with 20 points.
Michigan State trailed 45-35 when DeHaan, a 6-foot-9 senior, limped off the court with an apparent ankle injury early in the second half. The Spartans, sparked by their defense and forcing turnovers, went on a 15-2 tear immediately afterward to grab a 50-47 lead with 11:52 remaining.
DeHaan returned and increased Michigan State's lead to 56-51 with a basket with about 10 minutes to go.
But the Fighting Irish regained the lead with an 8-0 run capped by Erica Williamson's layup with 8:41 left.
Michigan State tied the score at 67 on a free throw by Porsche Poole with 55 seconds left.
A foul by Michigan State after a missed free throw by the Fighting Irish put Notre Dame in the double bonus. Barlow missed her first free throw with 10 seconds left, but sank her second opportunity to put the Fighting Irish in front.
Lindsay Schrader had 12 points and 14 rebounds for Notre Dame, while Lykendra Johnson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Michigan State.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Michigan State Met At Purcell Pavilion
Notre Dame couldn't do much against Michigan State's Aisha Jefferson defensively, so freshman forward Kellie Watson got the No. 14/10 Fighting Irish going offensively.
Watson made five consecutive three-pointers in the first half and finished with six from long range, igniting a sluggish Notre Dame offense in a 78-72 victory on Nov. 29, 2008, at the Joyce Center. The freshman attempted six three-pointers in her team's first four games of the season.
Watson, who had 18 points, helped the Fighting Irish overcome a 34-point effort by Jefferson, who scored 22 in the first half. That surpassed her previous career best of 20 points set three years earlier against Iowa. She also had 11 boards as the 24th-ranked Spartans outrebounded the Fighting Irish, 48-32.
The last two of Watson's consecutive three-pointers were part of a 13-6 run that gave Notre Dame a 39-34 halftime lead. The Fighting Irish then opened the second half with a 7-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play by junior guard/co-captain Ashley Barlow, who finished with 14 points and six assists. They went ahead 46-34 on a 15-foot jumper by senior guard/co-captain Lindsay Schrader, who scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half.
The Fighting Irish stretched the lead to 55-40 when Barlow hit three of four free throws after MSU head coach Suzy Merchant and forward Kalisha Keane were called for technical fouls seven seconds apart with 13 minutes left. The Spartans played better after the technicals and closed to 75-72 on a layup by Keane with 27 seconds left but couldn't get any closer.
The Irish held Michigan State's 6-foot-9 center Allyssa DeHaan to 2-of-10 shooting. The only other player in double figures for the Spartans was Keane with 10.
Other Notre Dame-Michigan State Series TidbitsThe cumulative scoring margin in the series has been fairly tight, with Michigan State having scored 989 points in 14 games (70.6 ppg.), and Notre Dame piling up 949 points (67.8 ppg.).
More than half (8) of the 14 series games have been decided by single digits, incluing the past three meetings. What's more, two series contests went to overtime, with MSU winning both (87-83 in 1995 in East Lansing, and 82-73 in 2004 at Purcell Pavilion).
Senior forward/tri-captain Ariel Braker hails from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., located about 100 miles east of the Michigan State campus in East Lansing. Braker is the latest of 17 Michigan natives on Notre Dame's all-time roster, second only to Indiana (20).
In her final game at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School in 2010, MSU senior forward Annalise Pickrel helped her school to the Michigan Class B state title. One of her teammate on that championship squad was current Notre Dame senior women's basketball student manager Kelly Harmon, who played two years with the team in addition to being a standout prep golfer.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten Conference
Notre Dame is 46-49 (.484) all-time against the Big Ten Conference, with a 25-18 (.581) record at home. The Fighting Irish also are 39-34 (.534) against the Big Ten in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
Of note, Notre Dame has won 18 of its last 24 games vs. Big Ten schools, including a current string of seven in a row since Minnesota ended the 2008-09 Fighting Irish season with a 79-71 win in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion.
Last year, Notre Dame went 3-0 against Big Ten opponents, defeating No. 19/21 Ohio State (57-51 in the Carrier Classic aboard the USS Yorktown at Mount Pleasant, S.C.) and No. 11 Purdue (74-47 at home) in the regular season before going on the road to defeat Iowa (74-57) in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Notre Dame has played 50 times when it has had a short one-day break (or less) between games.
When faced with such a tight turnaround, the Fighting Irish have risen to the occasion in recent seasons, going 41-9 (.820) on the back half of these two-game (or more) blitzes during the past six years.
Last season, Notre Dame went 13-0 in the second game of these tight turnarounds, a record highlighted by trio of wins on ESPN2's "Big Monday" (over Tennessee, Louisville and Connecticut), BIG EAST tournament victories (over Louisville and Connecticut), and NCAA tournament wins (over Iowa and Duke).
North Of The Border
Monday's game is the first of three this season for Notre Dame against a team from the state of Michigan, with matchups still to come at Michigan (Dec. 14) and at home against Central Michigan (Dec. 22).
Notre Dame is 55-20 (.733) all-time against Michigan schools, with a 35-8 (.814) mark against the Great Lakes State in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
The Fighting Irish also have won 12 of their last 13 games against Michigan schools, with their only loss in that span being a 63-59 overtime setback at Michigan on Dec. 10, 2008.
November To Remember
Notre Dame's success during the past 19 seasons was aided by its ability to get off to a good start. To wit -- the Fighting Irish are 77-14 (.846) in November games since 1995-96 (when they joined the BIG EAST Conference).
Notre Dame also has won 14 of its last 15 games in the month of November, with the lone exception being a 94-81 loss at top-ranked Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
Diggins To Be Inducted Into ND Ring Of Honor
Skylar Diggins, a four-time All-America guard who led the Fighting Irish to three consecutive NCAA Women's Final Fours from 2011-13, will be the latest person inducted into Notre Dame's Ring of Honor when the South Bend native is celebrated during a pregame ceremony Saturday before the Fighting Irish take on Valparaiso at 2 p.m. (ET) at Purcell Pavilion.
A banner honoring Diggins' number 4 will be raised to the rafters at Purcell Pavilion, where it will hang permanently. Diggins will be the second Fighting Irish women's basketball player added to Notre Dame's Ring of Honor following Ruth Riley's induction in 2010, and the fifth player overall, joining men's basketball players Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley and Luke Harangody in the prestigious circle (former Notre Dame men's basketball coach Digger Phelps will follow Diggins into the Ring of Honor on Jan. 19).
In April, Diggins completed a remarkable college career that saw her rewrite the Fighting Irish record books, leaving campus as the holder (or co-holder) of no fewer than 32 game, season or career records at Notre Dame. She also ranks among the top five on an astounding 105 of the program's game, season or career charts, including school records for career points (2,357), steals (381), games started (144) and double-figure scoring games (121), just to name a few.
What's more, Diggins is the only player (of either gender) in Notre Dame basketball history to register 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in her career.
Diggins also is the only player in program history to be a four-time All-America selection, earning consensus first-team honors during her final two years to join Riley as the only Fighting Irish cagers to pull off that feat. In addition, she broke new ground as a three-time NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player (2010-Dayton, 2011-Raleigh, 2012-Norfolk), a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year and two-time recipient of the Nancy Lieberman Award (making her just the third two-time honoree in the award's history), along with being the 2013 recipient of the Dawn Staley Award.
Once her college career ended, Diggins was chosen with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock, and became the first Notre Dame player to earn WNBA All-Rookie Team honors after averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game as a rookie in 2013, helping Tulsa to its highest win total (11) since the franchise relocated from Detroit in 2010.
Next Game: Valparaiso
Notre Dame wraps up its season-opening three-game homestand at 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday, playing host to Valparaiso at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be streamed live and free of charge on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
Prior to the game, Notre Dame will induct four-time All-America point guard and 2013 graduate Skylar Diggins into its Ring of Honor. The South Bend native will be the second Fighting Irish women's basketball player to join the Ring, and first since Ruth Riley in 2010.
Valparaiso has one starter and seven letterwinners returning from last year's club that went 11-20. The Crusaders will visit Notre Dame at the end of a three-game season-opening road trip that began Sunday at Saint Louis and continues Tuesday at Illinois.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director