Nov. 25, 2013
2013-14 ND Women's Basketball: Game 5
#5/6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. #25/RV DePaul Blue Demons (3-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST)
DATE: Nov. 26, 2013
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: Series tied 19-19
1ST MTG: DPU 82-53 (1/30/79)
LAST MTG: ND 84-56 (2/24/13)
TV: WatchND (live) (Ryan Camden, p-b-p)
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 will be facing its second ranked opponent of the season. The Fighting Irish are 28-5 against Top 25 teams in the past three seasons (9-1 at home).
Notre Dame and DePaul are meeting for the 39th time, the second-longest series in school history (41 games vs. Connecticut).
No. 5/6 Fighting Irish Host Former Conference Foe No. 25 DePaul Tuesday Night
It will be a familiar face in an unfamiliar setting for No. 5/6 Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish play host to former BIG EAST Conference foe (and 25th-ranked) DePaul in a non-league contest at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be streamed live and free of charge through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
The Fighting Irish (4-0) successfully navigated their first road trip of the season Saturday, earning a 76-54 win at Penn. Notre Dame led almost wire-to-wire against the Quakers, going up by double digits the entire second half.
Senior guard Kayla McBride led a balanced Fighting Irish attack with 15 points, while freshman forward Taya Reimer and sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey came off the bench to add 14 points and 13 points, respectively.
RankingsNotre Dame is No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll and was No. 6 in last week's WBCA/USA Today poll (new poll released Tuesday).
DePaul is No. 25 in the latest Associated Press poll and was receiving votes in last week's WBCA/USA Today poll (new poll released Tuesday).
Quick HittersNotre Dame has won 27 consecutive regular season games and 14 consecutive home games, both dating back to Dec. 5, 2012 (a 73-61 loss to No. 3 Baylor).
The Fighting Irish have won a school-record 23 consecutive regular season road games (and 30 of their last 35 overall) since a 94-81 loss at top-ranked Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd scored 63 points in Notre Dame's first three games this year. It was the most points by a Fighting Irish player in the season's first three contests since 1998-99, when Danielle Green did so against No. 6 UCLA (23 points), at Butler (23) and against No. 6/4 Duke (20).
Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Notre Dame is 28-5 (.848) against ranked opponents, including a 9-1 record at home.
Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 120 consecutive weeks (including the past 50 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 (70 of 81 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 105-14 (.882) 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.
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 387-90 (.811) all-time record in 37 seasons at the facility, including a 64-5 (.928) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
With 630 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).
With 718 career wins, McGraw needs 21 victories to move into the top 10 on the NCAA Division I career 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).
The Notre Dame-DePaul Series
While they may no longer share the same conference address, Notre Dame and DePaul remain regular (if not friendly) Midwestern rivals, as the two schools prepare to meet for the 39th time on Tuesday night.
The series dates back to the 1978-79 season (the second year of varsity status for the Fighting Irish program), and through nearly 35 years of frequent matchups, the series is all tied at 19-19, although Notre Dame has held the upper hand of late, winning eight of the past nine, including a current four-game series winning streak.
The Fighting Irish also are 10-6 all-time against the Blue Demons at Purcell Pavilion, with Tuesday's game just the second between the clubs in South Bend in the past six meetings over four seasons.
The Last Time Notre Dame and DePaul Met
Skylar Diggins posted her second career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and No. 2 Notre Dame won its 20th straight, beating DePaul 84-56 on Feb. 24, 2013, at McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago.
Jewell Loyd added a game-high 19 points. Kayla McBride scored 16, and the Fighting Irish cruised to another easy victory, winning by 20 or more for the fourth straight game while sending the Blue Demons to their second straight blowout loss.
Notre Dame forced 21 turnovers and held DePaul to 33.3-percent shooting.
Loyd hit 8 of 15 shots. McBride was 7 of 13 from the field. Natalie Achonwa added 14 points and eight rebounds, and Notre Dame beat DePaul for the eighth time in nine games to tie the all-time series at 19 apiece.
Brittany Hrynko scored 15 points but shot just 4 of 19, and the Blue Demons lost for the fourth time in six games.
The Last Time Notre Dame and DePaul Met At Purcell Pavilion
Notre Dame was nearly perfect on offense for a 16-minute stretch against No. RV/23 DePaul.
Yet after the game, coach Muffet McGraw was more concerned about the team's defense in the second-ranked Fighting Irish's 90-70 win over the visiting Blue Demons on Feb. 5, 2012, at Purcell Pavilion.
The offense couldn't get much better during that 16-minute stretch. Notre Dame didn't miss many shots during its 56-point first half. The Fighting Irish shot a blistering 72 percent from the field. From the 13:54 mark of the first half to the 17:18 mark in the second half, they hit 22 of their 24 shots to build a 34-point lead.
McGraw started subbing liberally and the Blue Demons rallied behind Jasmine Penny's 24 points and Katherine Harry's 20.
DePaul was coming off an 86-61 rout of No. 14/12 Louisville six days earlier. The Blue Demons, who were down to only seven healthy players because of injuries, had a much tougher time against Notre Dame.
Natalie Novosel scored 17 of her 21 points in the first half. Skylar Diggins had a double-double (11 points, 10 assists), Brittany Mallory scored a season-high 14, Devereaux Peters 11, and reserve Natalie Achonwa added 16.
Other Notre Dame-DePaul Series TidbitsEight of the past 15 series games between Notre Dame and DePaul have been decided by single digits, including six of the past 11.
Despite the long history of the Notre Dame-DePaul series (38 games since 1978-79), the aggregate point totals for the two teams are extremely close, separated by just 30 points -- the Fighting Irish have scored 2,609 points (68.7 ppg.), while the Blue Demons have tallied 2,579 points (67.9 ppg.).
In 14 of the past 19 series games, the winning team has scored at least 75 points. The only exceptions have been the second matchups in 2007-08 and 2008-09 (66-64 Notre Dame win in Chicago in 2008; 62-59 Fighting Irish win at Purcell Pavilion in 2009), as well as both games in 2010-11 (70-69 DePaul win in Chicago; 71-67 Notre Dame win in BIG EAST semifinals at Hartford) and most recently the 2012 BIG EAST quarterfinal (a 69-54 Fighting Irish victory in Hartford).
The Fighting Irish have held DePaul to 70 points or fewer in the past nine series games after not having held DePaul to that mark only once in the previous seven series contests.
With Tuesday's tipoff, the DePaul series will surpass Marquette as the second-most frequent in Notre Dame history, with this being the 39th game between the clubs. The only longer series in Fighting Irish annals is against Connecticut, with those two sides having played 41 times.
DePaul's 19 series wins are the third-most by one Fighting Irish opponent, exceeded only by Connecticut (30) and Tennessee (20).
Notre Dame and DePaul have been members of the same conference twice, as part of both the North Star (1983-88) and BIG EAST (2005-13) conferences. Combining those two league memberships (regular season and conference tournament games), Notre Dame is 15-10 against DePaul, but when the two schools meet as non-conference opponents, the Blue Demons are 9-4 against the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame has had 15 players come from the state of Illinois (third-most from any state behind Indiana's 20 and Michigan's 17), including 14 from the Chicagoland area. Junior guard Whitney Holloway (Plainfield/Montini Catholic HS), sophomore guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood/Niles West HS) and freshman center Diamond Thompson (Wheaton/Wheaton Warrenville South HS) are the latest additions to a list that includes NCAA career three-point percentage record holder Alicia Ratay (Lake Zurich/Lake Zurich HS), two-time honorable mention All-America guard Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett/Bartlett HS) and 1,000-point scorer/2004 Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green (Chicago/Roosevelt HS).
Both head coaches -- Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw and DePaul's Doug Bruno -- have ties to the old Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL) which existed from 1978-81; McGraw was a point guard for the California Dreams in 1979 (the franchise's only year of existence), while Bruno was the head coach and director of player personnel for the Chicago Hustle throughout its incarnation from 1978-80.
Notre Dame vs. The BIG EAST Conference
Even with the ever-changing landscape of college athletics, Notre Dame finds itself quite familiar with the new BIG EAST Conference lineup, which is made up of not only many of the same schools who comprised the Fighting Irish home from 1995-2013, but also a pair of schools (Butler and Xavier) with whom Notre Dame was a league member as part of the North Star and Midwestern Collegiate conferences during the 1980s and early 1990s.
The Fighting Irish are 204-54 (.791) all-time against the current BIG EAST alignment, including their last 17 in a row since a 70-69 loss at No. 12/11 DePaul on Feb. 28, 2011.
What's more, Notre Dame is 102-16 (.864) against present BIG EAST members at home, with an active 21-game winning streak since an 81-80 loss to No. NR/25 DePaul on Jan. 22, 2008.
Notre Dame comes into Tuesday's game with DePaul leading the nation in rebounding margin at +21.5 rebounds per game. What makes that total even more remarkable is the fact that spread has been done largely without returning senior All-America forward Natalie Achonwa, who missed the first three games of the campaign and played sparingly last Saturday at Penn as she recovers from preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.
The Fighting Irish 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).
Notre Dame nearly made it three for three on the boards, finishing with 49 caroms in its most recent outing on Nov. 16 against Valparaiso. The last time the Fighting Irish had three consecutive 50-rebound contests was Jan. 15-29, 1992, in wins over Louisville (56) and at Butler (50), followed by a home loss to Detroit (54).
A Helping Hand
The Fighting Irish also have the (very) early national lead in assists, averaging 23.8 assists per game through the first two weeks of the season. Notre Dame has dished out at least 22 helpers in each of its four games thus far, with the Fighting Irish piling up assists on 67.9 percent of their made field goals this year (95 of 140).
Firing Out Of The Blocks
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd stormed out of the gates this season, piling up 63 points in Notre Dame's first three games, wins over UNC Wilmington (19 points), No. 19/18 Michigan State (22 points) and Valparaiso (22 points).
Loyd's point production was the highest for a Fighting Irish player in the opening three contests of a season since 1998-99, when Danielle Green had 66 combined points in wins against No. 6 UCLA at home (23 points), at Butler (23) and No. 6/4 Duke at home (20).
Call Her Mabrey
Another Notre Dame sophomore guard who has sparkled early this year is Michaela Mabrey. The Belmar, N.J., resident has emerged as a key reserve for the Fighting Irish, averaging 10.8 points and 3.3 assists per game with a 2.17 assist/turnover ratio through the first four contests of the season, after logging 3.0 ppg. and 1.3 apg. with a 1.06 A/TO mark.
What's more, Mabrey already has scored in double figures three times this year (including a career-high 19 points in the season opener against UNC Wilmington) after doing so three times in 30 games last 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 80-14 (.851) in November games since 1995-96 (when they joined the BIG EAST Conference).
Notre Dame also has won 17 of its last 18 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.
Notre Dame has won a school-record 23 consecutive regular season road games and 30 of its last 35 overall, including last Saturday's road opener at Penn. The Fighting Irish last tasted defeat on the road in the regular season on Nov. 20, 2011, a 94-81 setback at No. 1 Baylor in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
The highlight of this current run came on Jan. 5, 2013, when Notre Dame edged No. 1 Connecticut, 73-72, in Storrs, Conn., earning its fourth all-time win over a top-ranked opponent and first-ever victory on the road.
Prior to the past two-plus years, the school record for consecutive regular season road wins was held by Notre Dame's 2000-01 national championship team that won its first 10 road outings before a 54-53 loss at No. 11/14 Rutgers on Feb. 17, 2001.
The Fighting Irish also have won a school-record 16 consecutive conference regular season road games, with their last loss coming as part of the BIG EAST Conference on Feb. 28, 2011 (a last-second 70-69 loss at No. 12/11 DePaul).
The previous school record for consecutive regular season conference road wins was seven, set numerous times, most recently crossing between the 2001-02 and 2002-03 campaigns.
The previous Notre Dame record for consecutive regular season road victories in any conference was 15, which the Fighting Irish set from Feb. 25, 1989-Feb. 14, 1991 during their time in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (Horizon League).
Next Game: Duquesne
Notre Dame opens the month of December in a very unique place, as the Fighting Irish will head north of the border to take on Duquesne at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday from the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ontario. It will be Notre Dame's sixth regular-season game outside the continental United States in the past five seasons, following prior trips to the U.S. Virgin Islands (three games at the 2009 Paradise Jam) and the Bahamas (two games at the 2011 Junkanoo Jam).
The game, which was organized as a homecoming for Fighting Irish senior forward (and Guelph, Ontario, native) Natalie Achonwa, as well as four Duquesne players, will be streamed live and free of charge by the host institution, Ryerson University, with a link to that stream provided through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director