Nov. 15, 2013
#6/6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. Valparaiso Crusaders (0-2 / 0-0 Horizon League)
DATE: Nov. 16, 2013
TIME: 2:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: ND leads 24-0
1ST MTG: ND 48-41 (12/3/77)
LAST MTG: ND 94-43 (12/20/10)
TV: WatchND (live) (Ryan Camden, p-b-p / Gary Paczesny, 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
No. 6 Fighting Irish Host Valparaiso Saturday
She has always considered herself an Indiana girl, and so it seems fitting that as Skylar Diggins goes in Notre Dame's Ring of Honor on Saturday, her now-former Fighting Irish teammates will be playing an Indiana school, as No. 6 Notre Dame closes out its season-opening three-game homestand at 2 p.m. (ET) against Valparaiso at Purcell Pavilion. The game (and Diggins' pregame Ring of Honor induction) will be streamed live and free of charge on the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
The Fighting Irish (2-0) are coming off an 81-62 win over No. 19/18 Michigan State on Monday night at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame used a strong post game to fuel the win, outrebounding the Spartans, 52-29, and converting 24 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points.
The Notre Dame-Valparaiso Series
It would be impossible to find a series in Notre Dame women's basketball history that goes back further than the one between the Fighting Irish and Valparaiso. That's because the Crusaders were Notre Dame's first opponent in the program's debut season (1977-78) and have been a nearly annual foe since 1995-96.
Saturday's game will be the silver anniversary (25th) meeting between Notre Dame and Valparaiso, with the Fighting Irish having won each of the first 24 matchups, including all 11 prior contests at Purcell Pavilion.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Valparaiso Met
Natalie Novosel scored 18 points while Natalie Achonwa and Brittany Mallory added 12 apiece to help No. 17 Notre Dame easily beat Valparaiso 94-43 on Dec. 20, 2010, at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Ind.
Notre Dame had 24 steals and led by as many as 50 in the second half.
The Fighting Irish, who had a tradition of slow starts against the Crusaders, jumped out to a 10-2 lead at the first media time out and never looked back.
They built the lead to 34-11 with 6:45 left in the first half before subbing liberally.
Novosel and Mallory had 10 points each at halftime for Notre Dame, which also recorded 14 steals and four blocked shots at the intermission.
The second half was more of the same as the Fighting Irish built their lead as high as 54 points in the final five minutes.
Stefanie Lang was the only Valparaiso player to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points to lead the Crusaders.
The Last Time Notre Dame and Valparaiso Met At Purcell Pavilion
Notre Dame got off to a fast start. Brittany Mallory made sure the third-ranked Fighting Irish didn't let up.
Notre Dame was ahead 13-2 when Mallory came off the bench five minutes into the game. She made her first five baskets, scoring 13 points in just over four minutes to help the Fighting Irish extend the lead to 31-10 with a three-pointer midway through the first half. She finished with a career-high 22 points in 20 minutes of play to lead the Fighting Irish to an 88-47 win over Valparaiso on Dec. 12, 2009, at Purcell Pavilion.
The Crusaders went on a 10-2 run to close to 33-20 on a three-point play by Raegan Moore with 6:12 left before intermission. But Valparaiso missed its last nine shots of the half and trailed 45-22 at halftime.
The Fighting Irish pulled away throughout the second half. Betsy Adams, Valparaiso's leading scorer at 17.1 points a game, was held scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.
Valparaiso shot 29 percent and had 29 turnovers and just six assists.
Moore led the Crusaders with 16 points and Lauren Kenney had 12 points. Becca Bruszewski had 11 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes of play for the Fighting Irish, Ashley Barlow had 11 points and Natalie Novosel added 12 points off the bench.
Other Notre Dame-Valparaiso Series Tidbits
Notre Dame vs. The Horizon League
Notre Dame is 67-5 (.931) all-time against the current Horizon League membership, including a 34-1 (.971) record at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish have won 42 consecutive games against the present Horizon League alignment, a streak that began following a 69-65 loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 4, 1987 (the third game of head coach Muffet McGraw's 27-year career at Notre Dame).
Saturday's matchup is the first for the Fighting Irish against a Horizon League opponent since the last time they faced Valparaiso on Dec. 20, 2010 (a 94-43 Notre Dame victory).
The last Horizon League team to visit Purcell Pavilion was Cleveland State, which Notre Dame defeated 86-58 on March 21, 2010, in the first round of the NCAA Championship. It was the 32nd consecutive home win for the Fighting Irish against the current Horizon League configuration, stretching back to the program's lone home loss at the hands of a present Horizon League member on Jan. 18, 1981, a 78-61 loss to Illinois-Chicago.
Valparaiso is the lone in-state opponent on Notre Dame's schedule this season.
The Fighting Irish are 124-32 (.795) all-time against other Indiana schools, with a 62-11 (.849) record at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame also has won 19 consecutive games against in-state foes since a 54-51 loss to Indiana on Dec. 3, 2006, at Purcell Pavilion.
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 in recognition of her contributions to the program and the University. 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.
Notre Dame collected at least 50 rebounds in each of its first two games, nabbing 54 rebounds against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9, followed by 52 caroms against No. 19/18 Michigan State two nights later.
This marked the first time the Fighting Irish have had consecutive 50-rebound games since Dec. 12 & 22, 2001, when they did so in home wins over Western Michigan (56 rebounds) and Marquette (54 rebounds).
Firing Out Of The Blocks
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd has stormed out of the gates this season, piling up 41 points in Notre Dame's first two games, wins over UNC Wilmington (19 points) and No. 19/18 Michigan State (22 points).
Loyd's point production is the highest for a Fighting Irish player in the opening two contests of a season since 2000-01, when another sophomore guard, Alicia Ratay, had 46 combined points at Valparaiso (20) and at home against Arizona (26) early in Notre Dame's first national championship season.
Freshman Lindsay Allen got the call from head coach Muffet McGraw to start at point guard in Notre Dame's season opener against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9 at Purcell Pavilion. Allen finished with 11 points in her debut game, including the team's first five points of the season.
It was the first time a Fighting Irish rookie point guard started the season opener since Nov. 26, 1994, when Mollie Peirick cracked the lineup and played 38 minutes (two points, five rebounds, three assists) in a 65-60 overtime loss at No. 25 Seton Hall.
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 78-14 (.848) in November games since 1995-96 (when they joined the BIG EAST Conference).
Notre Dame also has won 15 of its last 16 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.
Next Game: Penn
Notre Dame embarks on its first road trip of the 2013-14 season, heading to Philadelphia Nov. 23 for a 3 p.m. (ET) matchup with Penn at the famed Palestra. It will be the second time the Fighting Irish will play in the legendary arena (but the first since 1980).
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director