Nov. 17, 2010
#12/12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. #15/15 UCLA Bruins (2-0 / 0-0 Pac-10)
DATE: November 18, 2010
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: UCLA leads 8-4
1ST MTG: UCLA 50-45 (12/5/81)
LAST MTG: ND 99-82 (11/14/98)
WEBCAST: UND.com (free)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
LIVE BLOG: UND.com
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356
No. 12 Irish Host No. 15 UCLA Thursday In Super Six Series
Following a pair of record-setting defensive performances during the opening weekend of the season, No. 12 Notre Dame now faces its first true test of the 2010-11 campaign as 15th-ranked UCLA comes to town Thursday for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest at Purcell Pavilion. The game is part of the inaugural Super Six Series, which pits two teams from the top six leagues in the country in high-profile, early-season matchups.
The Fighting Irish (2-0) looked sharp at both ends of the court in Monday's 91-28 win over visiting Morehead State, holding the Eagles to the third-lowest opponent point total in the program's 34-year history, and the lowest shooting percentage (.175) in nearly 27 years. Notre Dame also matched its second-largest margin of victory on record, and widest spread in more than two decades.
Other Notre Dame Notables
A Quick Look At UCLA
After charging to a 25-9 record, a second-place finish in the Pac-10 Conference (15-3 mark) and a second-round appearance in the NCAA Championship, UCLA is hoping to build for even greater things this season. The Bruins would appear to have the pieces in place with four starters and nine letterwinners back from that club, including a preseason national awards candidate in junior forward Jasmine Dixon.
UCLA is ranked 15th in both major national polls this week after opening the season with a pair of victories. The Bruins tipped off the campaign with a 55-48 win at San Diego State behind a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) from Dixon and a stout second-half defensive effort that allowed just 16 points. UCLA then opened its home slate by defeated UC Santa Barbara, 66-52 on Sunday, led by 12 points each from Dixon and sophomore guard/forward Markel Walker.
Dixon leads the Bruins in scoring (13.5 ppg.) and rebounds (7.0 rpg.) in the early going, while Walker is second in scoring (10.0 ppg.). UCLA also has gotten solid contributions from senior guard Darxia Morris (8.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg.) and senior guard Doreena Campbell (8.5 ppg., 5.5 rpg., 4.5 apg.).
Nikki Caldwell, the 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in her third season at UCLA with a 46-21 (.687) record. Thursday will mark her first-ever matchup with Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-UCLA Series
Notre Dame and UCLA will square off for the 13th time on Thursday night, with the Bruins holding an 8-4 lead in the series. However, the Fighting Irish are 3-2 against UCLA at Purcell Pavilion, and they have won three of the past five games in the series overall (including the last two meetings).
Notre Dame last faced UCLA on Nov. 14, 1998, downing the sixth-ranked Bruins, 99-82, at Purcell Pavilion to earn its first-ever home win over a top-10 opponent. Point guard Niele Ivey (now a Fighting Irish assistant coach) rang up a double-double with 25 points and 11 assists, while Danielle Green added 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Notre Dame.
Maylana Martin did all she could for UCLA, tallying 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Melanie Pearson added 21 points and seven rebounds.
Other Notre Dame-UCLA Series Tidbits
Irish, Bruins Tangle In Super Six Series
Thursday's game is part of the inaugural Super Six Series, a new challenge event developed by the nation's top six conferences (BIG EAST, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC).
The Super Six Series, which is committed to run through at least the 2011-12 season, matches two teams from each of the participating conferences in six high-profile early-season games at on-campus sites. Each conference will have one home and one road game annually in the Series, with games played during the opening two weeks of the season.
The Fighting Irish have been awarded the BIG EAST's home game for this year's Super Six Series, as they welcome Pac-10 member UCLA to Purcell Pavilion on Thursday.
Pittsburgh joined Notre Dame in flying the BIG EAST banner for the 2010-11 Super Six Series, with the Panthers falling at Minnesota, 73-63 on Wednesday night.
Notre Dame vs. The Pac-10 Conference
The Fighting Irish are 18-16 (.529) all-time against Pac-10 Conference teams, with a 9-3 (.750) record at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame also has won 15 of its last 19 games against Pac-10 schools since a 93-72 loss at UCLA in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Championship.
Thursday's game will be the first for the Fighting Irish against a Pac-10 opponent since March 18, 2007, when Notre Dame edged California, 62-59, in the first round of the NCAA Championship at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh.
November To Remember
Notre Dame's success during the past 16 years has been aided by its ability to get off to a good start. To wit -- the Fighting Irish are 63-11 (.851) in November games since they joined the BIG EAST Conference in time for the 1995-96 season.
Notre Dame also owns an active 16-game November winning streak that started on Nov. 20, 2007 with a 94-41 victory at Central Michigan. That win came four days after a 75-59 loss at third-ranked Maryland in the Preseason WNIT semifinals.
Game #2 Recap: Morehead State
Freshman guard Kayla McBride had 14 points and six rebounds, junior guard Natalie Novosel added 13 points and No. 12 Notre Dame routed Morehead State 91-28 Monday night at Purcell Pavilion.
McBride finished a miss by junior forward Erica Solomon with 11:44 remaining in the first half to give the Fighting Irish an 18-2 lead. The Eagles were held to seven points in the first half on 2 for 20 shooting.
Freshman forward Natalie Achonwa and sophomore guard Kaila Turner each scored 10 points for Notre Dame (2-0). Sophomore preseason All-America guard Skylar Diggins had nine points and eight assists, one shy of her career high.
Chynna Bozeman led with Morehead State (0-2) with 12 points, but she had 10 turnovers.
Noting The Morehead State Game
Notre Dame is ranked 12th in this week's Associated Press poll. That marks the 60th consecutive AP poll appearance for the Irish, setting a new program record and surpassing the old standard set from 1998 (preseason poll) to Dec. 3, 2001.
This year's No. 12 preseason ranking also represented the 11th time in the past 12 years (starting with the 1999-2000 campaign) that Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason AP poll, something only eight schools in the nation have done -- Connecticut, Duke and Tennessee have shown up in all 12 during that span, while Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Stanford join the Irish with 11 preseason AP poll berths.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP poll for 199 weeks during the program's 34-year history, with every one of those appearances coming in the Muffet McGraw era (since 1987-88). McGraw ranks 13th among all active NCAA Division I head coaches for weeks in the AP poll, and also is 22nd all-time in that category.
In addition, the Fighting Irish are ranked 12th in the latest ESPN/USA Today/WBCA coaches' poll. Notre Dame now has been ranked in the coaches' survey for 60 of the past 61 weeks, falling just outside the Top 25 in the final poll of the 2008-09 season. Nevertheless, the Fighting Irish have appeared in the coaches' poll for a total of 191 weeks during their history (all coming during McGraw's tenure).
More Polling Data
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is one of 28 people in NCAA Division I women's basketball history who have both played for and coached a team that has appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Besides her 199 AP poll appearances while coaching at Notre Dame, McGraw was the starting point guard at Saint Joseph's (Pa.) as a senior in 1977, helping the Hawks rise to No. 3 in the nation.
Of the 28 people on this list, 15 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart), including former Fighting Irish point guard and assistant coach Coquese Washington ('92), who helped Notre Dame to its first-ever AP poll ranking in 1990-91, and is in her third season as head coach at Penn State, guiding the Lady Lions into the AP poll at No. 23 on Jan. 25, 2010.
Six of the 16 active coaches in this group -- including McGraw -- led their teams to this year's NCAA Championship, while McGraw and Baylor's Kim Mulkey are the only active skippers to play for and coach a team in the AP poll, and also coach that team to a national title (McGraw in 2001, Mulkey in 2005).
Notre Dame Picked Fourth In 2010-11 BIG EAST Coaches' Preseason Poll
Notre Dame was selected to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in 2010-11, according to a preseason vote of the league's 16 head coaches released on Oct. 21 during the annual BIG EAST Women's Basketball Media Day at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.
The Irish picked up 177 points in the balloting (coaches may not vote for their own teams), placing behind only two-time defending national champion Connecticut, which was a unanimous choice to win the conference title with 225 points, West Virginia (207 points, one first-place vote) and Georgetown (186 points) -- St. John's rounded out the top five with 173 points.
Diggins Earns 2010-11 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honors
Along with picking Notre Dame to finish fourth in the conference this year in their preseason poll, the BIG EAST coaches unanimously voted sophomore guard Skylar Diggins to the 10-player Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
A preseason candidate for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, as well as a consensus preseason All-American by most major media outlets, Diggins is coming off one of the finest rookie seasons in Fighting Irish women's basketball history as the first freshman in 17 seasons to lead Notre Dame in scoring and the first rookie in 16 years to top 100 assists in her debut season. What's more, she finished as just the third player in program history (and the first freshman) to log 400 points, 100 assists and 75 steals in a single season, joining a pair of All-Americans and Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (top senior in the nation 5-foot-8 and under) recipients -- current Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey (2000-01) and Megan Duffy (2004-05) -- in achieving that distinction.
A 2009-10 honorable mention All-America selection by both the Associated Press and WBCA, Diggins led Notre Dame in scoring (13.8 ppg.), steals (2.6 spg.) and assists (tied - 3.2 apg.) last season, while ranking third on the squad in three-point percentage (.350) and free throw percentage (.782). She also chalked up a team-high 24 double-digit scoring games, including seven 20-point outings, capped by a season-high 31 points against Vermont in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion. That scoring effort was the highest ever recorded by a Fighting Irish rookie in NCAA postseason play, while her 13 field goals made tied the program record for an NCAA tournament game.
In 2009-10, Diggins set Notre Dame freshman records for steals (90), free throws made (111), free throws attempted (142) and minutes played (1,028), while ranking among the top five on the Irish rookie charts for points (3rd - 484), scoring average (tied/4th - 13.8 ppg.), field goals made (3rd - 169), field goals attempted (3rd - 385), three-point field goals made (4th - 35), three-point attempts (5th - 100), three-point percentage (5th - .350), assists (3rd - 112), steals per game (2nd - 2.6 spg.), games started (tied/2nd - 30), games played (2nd - 35) and minutes per game (5th - 29.4).
McGraw Is Simply Legendary
The announcement on July 10, 2010, may have made it official, but it really only confirmed what Notre Dame fans have known for a very long time -- head coach Muffet McGraw is a Hall of Famer.
McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of more than 600 games in her illustrious career, was one of six people -- and the lone coach -- named to the 2011 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class, as announced in Uncasville, Conn., during the "WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game" that was televised live nationally on ESPN from Mohegan Sun Arena.
The others in McGraw's Hall of Fame class include former Olympic gold medalists Ruthie Bolton (Auburn) and Vicky Bullett (Maryland), as well as Val Ackerman, the first WNBA president (1996-2005) and first female president of USA Basketball (2005-08), and a pair of three-time All-America players from the pre-NCAA era, Pearl Moore (Frances Marion) and Lometa Odom (Wayland Baptist).
The '11 class offically was introduced at the 2010 State Farm Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., before the Connecticut-Baylor game (McGraw was not able to attend due to NCAA regulations). The group will be enshrined June 10-12, 2011, during the 13th annual Induction Weekend at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.
McGraw becomes the first Notre Dame selection for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The Irish skipper also is the third BIG EAST Conference coach chosen for the honor, joining Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (2001) and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (2006) in that elite company. First-year Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan also was a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1999, going in primarily for her accomplishments as a player at Old Dominion.
McGraw also will be the ninth active college head coach to enter the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on the basis of her success on the sidelines. Besides Stringer and Auriemma, the others on this notable list are: Pat Summitt (1999 - Tennessee), Van Chancellor (2001 - LSU), Tara VanDerveer (2002 - Stanford), Sylvia Hatchell (2004 - North Carolina), Andy Landers (2007 - Georgia) and Debbie Ryan (2008 - Virginia).
Riley's Double Zero Goes To The Rafters
Ruth Riley, a three-time All-America center at Notre Dame during her storied career from 1997-2001, and the 2001 consensus national player of the year, was inducted into Notre Dame's Ring of Honor on Nov. 12 during a pre-game ceremony before the Fighting Irish opened their 2010-11 season against New Hampshire at Purcell Pavilion.
A banner honoring Riley's number 00 was unveiled and now permanently hangs in the rafters of Purcell Pavilion, making her the first women's basketball player added to the Ring of Honor, and the second player overall following last spring's induction of men's basketball All-America forward Luke Harangody.
Beginning in 2010-11, the Notre Dame Athletics Department plans to honor annually additional former and present men's and women's basketball and volleyball players who have made distinguished and noteworthy contributions during their career while student-athletes at the University. A committee that will consist of Fighting Irish coaches and administrators will be formed to determine future inductees.
The only player in Notre Dame women's basketball history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds, Riley ranks as the program's all-time leader in seven categories, including rebounds (1,007), blocked shots (370 - fifth in NCAA history) and field goal percentage (.632 - 11th in NCAA history). What's more, the Macy, Ind., native ranks third in school history with 2,072 points, and holds the Fighting Irish single-game scoring record with 41 points in a January 1998 win over Providence. Riley also played a pivotal role in Notre Dame's run to the 2001 NCAA national championship, earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors after scoring 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the title game victory over Purdue, capped by her gamewinning free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining.
A 10-year WNBA veteran (the past four with the San Antonio Silver Stars), two-time WNBA champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Riley was back on campus with the other members of the 2001 championship team for ceremonies honoring the 10th anniversary of that milestone achievement in Notre Dame athletics history.
Half And Half
During the past decade, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Fighting Irish are 190-17 (.918) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 118 of their last 129 such contests.
Notre Dame has led at the break in each of its first two games this year, after doing the same in 25 games last season (earning victories each time).
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense...
During the past 16 seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season (Notre Dame's first in the BIG EAST Conference), the Fighting Irish have an amazing 210-15 (.933) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game, including victories in each of their first two contests this season.
...But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. During the past 16 seasons (since 1995-96), the Fighting Irish are 142-4 (.973) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are a pair of overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995, a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998, and an 81-80 loss to DePaul in 2008.
In addition to this year's first two games, Notre Dame was 17-0 last season when it scored at least 80 points, including four games when it topped the 90-point mark.
Now That's A Home Court Advantage
One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame's success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Fighting Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 191 of their last 216 games (.884) at the 9,149-seat Purcell Pavilion, including winning streaks of 51 and 25 games in that span. Notre Dame also has a 106-18 (.855) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the former Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game league winning streak at home before it ended with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the '02 home finale.
The Fighting Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 87 of their last 94 non-BIG EAST contests (.926) at Purcell Pavilion, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the seven losses in that span came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents (four by 12 points or less) -- Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54), Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT), Indiana in 2006 (54-51) and Minnesota in 2009 (79-71) -- with the other two defeats coming to Tennessee in 2005 (62-51) and 2008 (87-63). The Purdue loss also snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak which began after the UW setback.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the former Joyce Center, posting a 341-86 (.799) record at the venerable facility. Three times (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Fighting Irish went a perfect 15-0 at home, which was the school record for home victories in a season prior to last year, when Notre Dame went 16-1, capped by an 84-66 triumph over Vermont on March 23, 2010, in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Irish Are The Hottest Ticket In Town
The 2009-10 season saw an unprecedented surge in fan support for Notre Dame women's basketball, as the Fighting Irish set new program records for the highest year-end NCAA attendance ranking (fourth), highest average attendance (8,377 fans per game) and most sellouts (six) in a single season. And, as the old saying goes -- "you ain't seen nothin' yet."
For the second consecutive preseason, Notre Dame fans have all but exhausted the program's season ticket packages (close to 7,500) and are snapping up single-game ducats at a rate that will have the Fighting Irish challenging their freshly-minted single-season average attendance record in 2010-11.
Notre Dame has wasted little time in getting started with that challenge, averaging 8,188 fans for its first two home games this season.
Part of the appeal of Notre Dame women's basketball can be traced to the renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, which has yet another new feature this season with the addition of a four-sided LED video scoreboard high above center court, as well as LED auxiliary scoreboards above all four court-level entrance ramps and at the scorer's table.
Irish On Your Radio Dial
Beginning with the 2008-09 athletics year, the Notre Dame athletics department announced it had partnered with the LeSEA Broadcasting Network, making Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) the new radio home of Notre Dame women's basketball in the South Bend market.
LeSEA originates all Notre Dame women's basketball games, with those events carried on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), marking a return to the FM side of the dial for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Combined, these two stations blanket the nation's No. 91 media market (South Bend-Elkhart), covering a 21-county area in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan that contains more than 1.35 million listeners (better than 800,000 in the greater South Bend area alone). All told, Notre Dame's women's basketball network stretches from Kalamazoo, Mich., to the north, North Judson, Ind., to the west, Macy, Ind., (home of former Irish All-America center Ruth Riley) to the south, and LaGrange, Ind., to the east.
Women's basketball game broadcasts also continue to be streamed live and free of charge on Notre Dame's official athletics web site (www.UND.com) through the Fighting Irish All-Access multimedia package.
Bob Nagle, the voice of Notre Dame women's basketball from 1996-97 through 1998-99 (including the program's first NCAA Final Four berth in 1997), returns for his third season in his second stint as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame On The Small Screen
Notre Dame will have at least 21 regular season games televised during the 2010-11 season. Highlighting this year's broadcast schedule are seven nationally- or regionally-televised Fighting Irish women's basketball contests, including the program's fourth-ever appearance on network television (Jan. 8 vs. Connecticut on CBS), two showings on the ESPN family of networks, and three others on CBS College Sports.
In addition, Notre Dame continues to expand its broadcast reach globally on the Internet. All Fighting Irish regular-season home games not selected for commercial TV coverage will be webcast live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com, via the site's free multimedia package, Fighting Irish All-Access.
This year's TV slate continues an emerging trend that has seen the Fighting Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01 and continuing through Monday's Morehead State contest, Notre Dame has played in 169 televised games, including 115 that were broadcast nationally.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Senior forward Becca Bruszewski and senior guard Brittany Mallory will serve as Notre Dame's team captains for the 2010-11 season. Both players received the captain's honor for the first time in their respective careers following a vote of their teammates prior to the season.
Next Game: Kentucky
Notre Dame heads out on the road for the first time this season on Sunday when it travels to Lexington, Ky., for a 1 p.m. (ET) game at No. 9/10 Kentucky. The contest will be televised live on Fox Sports South, with WHME-TV (Channel 46 in South Bend) simulcasting the game live back to the Michiana viewing area.
Fresh off a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight last season, UK is 2-0 this season with victories over Morehead State (82-48) and at Miami-Ohio (84-71) to tip off the campaign.
Sunday's game will be the first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and Wildcats on the hardwood.