Dec. 4, 2010
#16/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-3 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (4-1 / 0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: December 5, 2010
No. 16 Irish Return Home For ESPN2 Sunday Matinee Against Purdue
The Fighting Irish (5-3) continue to live up to their nickname this season, as they put together a determined second-half rally at Baylor, reeling off 12 points in 92 seconds and eventually trimming a 22-point deficit to six with five minutes left, but the Lady Bears hung on for the 76-65 win in Waco, Texas.
Sophomore guard Skylar Diggins scored eight of her game-high 21 points during that 12-point spree, while also adding a game-best five assists (the fifth time this season she's logged at least five assists in a game). Junior guard Natalie Novosel chipped in 12 points for Notre Dame.
Other Notre Dame Notables
A Quick Look At Purdue
The Boilermakers (4-1) currently are receiving votes in both major polls after winning the Preseason WNIT with four victories in less than two weeks, including a 67-58 win over Notre Dame's fellow BIG EAST member DePaul in the championship game. However, an unforeseen medical condition with one of Purdue's players (junior forward Drey Mingo) led to an unscheduled 10-day break in the schedule before the Boilermakers returned to the hardwood Thursday night, dropping a last-second 56-55 decision at home to No. 22 Maryland.
Freshman guard Courtney Moses, who has stepped in to spell injured point guard KK Houser, led four Purdue players in double figures against Maryland with 12 points. Moses is third on the team in scoring this season (11.2 ppg.) with a team-high .538 three-point percentage. With Mingo recovering, junior guard Brittany Rayburn is averaging a team-best 16.2 ppg., while junior guard Antoinette Howard adds 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Head coach Sharon Versyp is in her fifth season at Purdue, sporting a 94-50 (.653) record at her alma mater. Including prior stops at Maine and Indiana, Versyp has an 11-year career mark of 211-115 (.647).
The Notre Dame-Purdue Series
The Last Time Notre Dame And Purdue Met
One year after setting a career scoring high in a victory over the Boilermakers, she did it again. She scored a career-best 20 points, and No. 3 Notre Dame held off Purdue 79-75 on Jan. 4, 2010, at Mackey Arena to remain unbeaten.
Lechlitner, who was averaging 6.2 points per game, made 7 of 15 shots, including four three-pointers.
Skylar Diggins and Lindsay Schrader each scored 15 points, and Ashley Barlow added 13 points and eight rebounds for Notre Dame (13-0), which is off to its best start since winning its first 23 games in 2000-01. It was the final test for the Fighting Irish before BIG EAST play.
Jodi Howell scored 18 points and Chelsea Jones added a career-high 16 for Purdue.
Purdue could have tied the game in the closing seconds, but Devereaux Peters blocked Samantha Woods' three-pointer from the right corner, and Notre Dame rebounded.
Notre Dame recovered from a rough first half to shoot 48 percent after the break.
The Irish had the ball with a 76-73 lead in the final minute. Diggins missed in close as the shot clock wound down, and Purdue gained possession.
Howell made a layup with 12.1 seconds left to make it a one-point game.
The Boilermakers fouled Diggins with 11.8 seconds to play. She made the first free throw and missed the second, but Schrader got the rebound. Schrader made the first free throw, but missed the second to give the Boilermakers a chance.
Other Notre Dame-Purdue Series Tidbits
Notre Dame vs. the Big Ten Conference
What's more, Notre Dame has won 13 of its last 19 games vs. Big Ten schools, following last year's victories at No. 21 Michigan State (68-67) and Purdue (79-75).
The Fighting Irish are 119-32 (.788) all-time against other Indiana schools, with a 59-11 (.843) record at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame also has won 14 consecutive games against in-state foes since a 54-51 loss to Indiana on Dec. 3, 2006, at Purcell Pavilion.
A Grand Occasion
The Fighting Irish played their first game on Dec. 3, 1977, defeating Valparaiso, 48-41 at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame would play its first three seasons as a Division III program in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) before moving up to the Division I level in 1980-81. The following season, the Fighting Irish would begin competing under the NCAA banner.
Some other notable landmarks along the way have been:
Happy Birthday, Coach
The Five-Finger Discount
Highlighting this year's takeaway brigade for Notre Dame was a school-record 36-steal performance in the season-opening victory against New Hampshire on Nov. 12 at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish followed that up three days later with 26 thefts in a win over Morehead State, and also logged 23 steals in a Nov. 26 home victory against IUPUI.
Prior to this season, Notre Dame had posted 23 steals in a game just seven times in the first 33 years of the Fighting Irish women's basketball program (and only three games with 25-plus steals in that time, none since a then-record tying 29 steals at Saint Louis on Jan. 31, 1991).
Individually, Notre Dame has eight different players with double-digit steals this season, led by sophomore guard Skylar Diggins, who has registered 20 thefts (2.5 per game).
Novosel Named To BIG EAST Honor Roll
Novosel was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Classic last weekend after averaging 18.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.3 assists per game with a .533 field goal percentage (16-of-30), a .385 three-point percentage (5-of-13) and an .818 free throw percentage (18-of-22) while leading Notre Dame to wins over IUPUI, Wake Forest and Butler at Purcell Pavilion and the tournament championship.
Novosel scored better than 20 points in two of the three Fighting Irish victories, including a career-high 23 points (with a career-best 11-of-12 effort at the free throw line) in a 92-69 win over Wake Forest last Saturday. She currently leads Notre Dame (and is tied for fourth in the BIG EAST) in scoring this season at 17.0 ppg., while adding 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
Game #8 Recap: Baylor
Pope had 20 points with 14 rebounds and got her three assists on baskets by Griner, and the Lady Bears withstood a quick second-half surge by No. 16 Notre Dame for a 76-65 victory Wednesday night in Waco, Texas.
Griner finished with 21 points. She and Pope combined to score Baylor's first 15 points in the game, putting the Lady Bears (8-1) ahead to stay.
When Pope made a layup with 11:18 left, they led 56-37. Notre Dame (5-3) then scored 12 consecutive points in 79 seconds before Pope ended that stretch with a jumper.
Griner, the preseason AP All-American, added eight rebounds and four blocks in her fifth consecutive 20-point game -- she averaged 29.8 points her previous four games.
Pope and Griner were among five Baylor players scoring in double figures. Kimetria Hayden had 14 points, including her own 7-0 run in the first half, while Odyssey Sims had 11 and Melissa Jones 10.
Skylar Diggins had 21 points for Notre Dame (5-3), whose other losses this season were to ninth-ranked Kentucky and No. 13 UCLA.
It was the closest home game of the season for Baylor, which won its previous seven by an average margin of 42 points. The smallest margin had been 26 points over then-No. 25 Michigan State.
Noting The Baylor Game
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 201 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 16th in the latest ESPN/USA Today/WBCA coaches' poll. Notre Dame now has been ranked in the coaches' survey for 62 of the past 63 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 193 weeks during their history (all coming during McGraw's tenure).
More Polling Data
Besides her 201 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 fourth 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 15 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
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
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
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
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
The Fighting Irish have been up at the break in five games this year, including all three games at last weekend's WBCA Classic, when they led for all but 1:37 during the entire tournament.
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense...
...But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Notre Dame has topped the 80-point mark in six of seven games this year (5-1 record) after going 17-0 last season when it scored at least 80 points, including four games when it topped the 90-point mark (a plateau the Fighting Irish already have attained four times in their first seven games this season).
Now That's A Home Court Advantage
The Fighting Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 90 of their last 98 non-BIG EAST contests (.918) at Purcell Pavilion, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the eight 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 defeats coming to Tennessee in 2005 (62-51) and 2008 (87-63), and to UCLA in 2010 (86-83 in 2OT). 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 344-87 (.798) 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
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 8,270 fans for its first six 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
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
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 a 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 last Sunday's Butler contest, Notre Dame has played in 174 televised games, including 120 that were broadcast nationally.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Next Game: Providence
PC (5-5) had its two-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 73-56 loss to Florida in the championship game of the Brown Bear Classic in Providence, R.I.