Dec. 27, 2013
#2/2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. Oregon State Beavers (8-3 / 0-0 Pac-12)
DATE: Dec. 29, 2013
TIME: 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT
AT: Corvallis, Ore. - Gill Coliseum (9,604)
SERIES: First meeting
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Comcast 419 in South Bend/DISH Network 413 or 5453/5454) (live) (Ann Schatz, p-b-p / Mary Murphy, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) / WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: osubeavers.com
TICKETS: (800) 462-3287
No. 2 Fighting Irish Head West For Sunday Matinee At Oregon State
As part of a challenging schedule that spans North America, No. 2 Notre Dame returns from its Christmas break with a trip to the West Coast as it takes on Oregon State at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) Sunday at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks (Comcast Channel 419 in South Bend; DISH Network Channels 413 or 5453/5454), with the Notre Dame Radio Network broadcast available free on WatchND.
The Fighting Irish (10-0) went into their holiday hiatus on a resounding note, defeating Central Michigan, 106-72 on Dec. 22 at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame shot .618 from the field (.710 in the second half) en route to its highest point total of the season (and second triple-digit game).
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd led the way for the Fighting Irish with a career-high 30 points, adding a season-best 11 rebounds for her second double-double this year. Senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride chipped in 18 points, and sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey scored 17 points off the bench for Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Oregon State Series
Sunday will mark the first time Notre Dame and Oregon State have met in women's basketball.
Other Notre Dame-Oregon State Series Tidbits
Notre Dame vs. The Pac-12 Conference
The Fighting Irish are 25-20 (.556) all-time against current Pac-12 Conference teams, with a 14-16 (.467) record away from home (road and neutral sites combined). Notre Dame also has won 22 of its last 29 games against Pac-12 schools since a 93-72 loss at UCLA in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Championship (in what was the first-ever NCAA tournament game for the Fighting Irish).
Notre Dame will be playing its second Pac-12 opponent in a little more than three weeks, having defeated UCLA, 90-48 on Dec. 7 at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish also toppled the Bruins last year, 76-64 in Los Angeles, in what was the program's most recent visit to a Pac-12 campus.
This will mark the second time in three seasons the Fighting Irish have played two Pac-12 teams in the same year. In 2011-12, Notre Dame defeated USC, 80-58 at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas during the regular season, then downed California at home in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
However, this will be the first time the Fighting Irish have played two Pac-12 teams in the same regular season since 2002-03, when they knocked off both USC (69-57) and Arizona State (81-52) on the road. It should be noted in both 2003-04 and 2005-06, Notre Dame played future Pac-12 members Colorado and Utah, respectively (along with USC), but neither school was part of its current conference at the time it faced the Fighting Irish (Colorado was in the Big 12, Utah was in the Mountain West).
Another Present Under The Tree
Notre Dame is 25-11 (.694) all-time in in its first game after the Christmas holiday, with an 11-5 (.688) record away from home (road and neutral sites combined) and a 19-7 (.731) record in the Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present).
The Fighting Irish also have won their last 10 games coming off the Christmas break, including a 74-47 win over 11th-ranked Purdue last season (Dec. 29, 2012, at Purcell Pavilion).
Notre Dame is playing its first post-Christmas game away from home for the first time since Dec. 29-30, 2010, when the Fighting Irish made their most recent trip to the Pacific Northwest for the State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic at Seattle's Key Arena. Notre Dame defeated Gonzaga (70-61) and Loyola Marymount (91-47) to claim the tournament title.
Getting The Jump
At 10-0, Notre Dame is off to the third-best start in the program's 37-year history. The only times the Fighting Irish opened with a better record than this season were in 2000-01 (when they reeled off a school-record 23 consecutive wins en route to a 34-2 final record and the program's first national championship) and 2009-10 (when they started 15-0 on the way to a 29-6 record and spot in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen).
Notre Dame has won a school-record 25 consecutive regular season road games and 32 of its last 37 overall, including the Dec. 14 victory at Michigan. 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).
A Helping Hand
The Fighting Irish entered the week leading the nation in assists at 23.8 per game. Notre Dame has dished out at least 21 helpers in nine games thus far (including a season-high 31 dimes against UCLA on Dec. 7), with the Fighting Irish piling up assists on 67.4 percent of their made field goals this year (238 of 353).
Notre Dame also ranks fourth in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (1.50).
That's Some Sharp Shooting
Notre Dame currently is setting the pace nationally with a .522 field goal percentage, thanks in part to a recent surge that has seen Notre Dame shoot better than 55 percent from the field in its last three games (.563 vs. UCLA, .586 at Michigan, .618 vs. Central Michigan).
It's the first time the Fighting Irish have had three such 55-percent outings since Nov. 20-29, 1997, when they did so in victories over North Carolina State (.565), Bowling Green (.558) and Ohio University (.567).
For the season, Notre Dame has shot better than 50 percent in six games, including three contests where it topped 60 percent from the field.
The Fighting Irish sharpshooting brigade has been led by freshman guard Lindsay Allen, who ranks second in the ACC with a .627 field goal percentage, and sophomore guard Jewell Loyd, who has risen to 13th in the conference with a .536 mark, including a .759 field goal percentage (22-of-29) in her last two games.
Dialing Long Distance
Although not usually a primary part of the Notre Dame arsenal, the Fighting Irish have found the three-point shot much to their liking this season. Notre Dame currently leads the nation with a .449 three-point percentage, with four different players connecting at better than 40 percent from beyond the arc (three at over 50 percent).
Sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey has connected on a team-high 20 three-pointers this season, including a career-high four treys in each of her last two games and at least two triples in her last seven outings. She ranks sixth in the ACC with a .417 three-point percentage, while the other three Fighting Irish players hitting over 50 percent from distance -- freshman guard Lindsay Allen (.571), junior guard Madison Cable (.529) and senior guard Kayla McBride (.500) -- haven't made the minimum 1.0 3FG/game to qualify for ACC ranking (although all three are within 1-2 three-pointers of meeting the standard).
The Fighting Irish connected on 10-of-17 three-pointers in their Dec. 7 victory over UCLA, their highest production from the arc in nearly four years, dating back to a similar 10-triple performance on Jan. 30, 2010, at Syracuse.
Spreading The Wealth
Notre Dame has had at least four players score in double figures in eight games this year, going 8-0 in those contests. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Fighting Irish are 83-5 (.943) when they have four or more players reach double digits in the scoring column, including wins in 53 of their last 54 such outings (the lone loss coming in last year's NCAA Women's Final Four national semifinal against Connecticut).
Irish Join The 800-Win Club
Notre Dame's 106-72 victory over Central Michigan on Dec. 22 at Purcell Pavilion was a milestone for the Fighting Irish, who became the 27th program in NCAA Division I women's basketball history (and fourth Atlantic Coast Conference school) to record 800 victories. The Fighting Irish have posted a 800-316 (.717) record in their 37 seasons of varsity competition, dating back to the 1977-78 campaign.
Prior to Notre Dame reaching the milestone, the last school to reach the 800-win mark was LSU (which did so on Nov. 25, 2012, at Florida International). Along with the Fighting Irish, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are the other three ACC members in the 800-victory club (with Duke and North Carolina State expected to follow later this year).
Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd has continued her development as one of the top young talents in the country this season, building on last year's selection as the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year.
The Lincolnwood, Ill., product currently ranks sixth in the ACC in scoring (18.5 ppg.), 13th in field goal percentage (.536) and 14th in rebounding (7.1 rpg.), sporting career-high marks in all three areas. She also has four 20-point games thus far (including a career-high 30 points against Central Michigan on Dec. 22) after scoring 20 points twice during her rookie campaign.
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).
Notre Dame's 1,000-Point Scorers
Senior tri-captains Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa will spend their final season at Notre Dame steadily climbing the program's all-time scoring list, after both entered the Fighting Irish 1,000-Point Club last year.
McBride currently ranks 17th in program history with 1,351 career points, having moved up one spot on Dec. 7 with her 12 points against UCLA to pass former teammate Devereaux Peters (1,319 from 2007-12).
Meanwhile, Achonwa stands 27th in Notre Dame history with 1,142 points, with the next player above her on the program's career scoring ladder being a former teammate -- Becca Bruszewski had 1,148 points from 2007-11.
Coming Up Aces
Senior forward/tri-captains Natalie Achonwa (nicknamed "Ace") also is making her way up Notre Dame's career charts in both rebounds and double-doubles. She currently ranks 10th in both categories with 767 rebounds and 22 double-doubles, taking over sole possession of the 10th position on both charts after tallying 21 points and 10 rebounds in the Dec. 4 win at No. 10/11 Penn State.
Achonwa continues to remain among the top 10 in school history with a .544 career field goal percentage, presently ranking ninth in program annals.
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.
Allen has not disappointed in her debut campaign, averaging 8.9 points and 4.1 assists per game (the latter ranking ninth in the ACC). She also is second in the ACC with a .627 field goal percentage and fifth with a 2.28 assist/turnover ratio.
The Second Platoon
Another reason for Notre Dame's success this season has been the performance of its reserves, who are averaging better than 32 points per game and have outscored the opponent's bench by nearly a 2-to-1 margin (32.1 ppg. to 16.2 ppg.).
In fact, only one Fighting Irish opponent to date has finished with a bench scoring advantage against Notre Dame -- No. 19/18 Michigan State held an 18-11 edge, but the Fighting Irish posted an 81-62 win on Nov. 11 at Purcell Pavilion.
Sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey (11.1 ppg.) and freshman forward Taya Reimer (10.2 ppg.) head up the strong Notre Dame bench contingent, which has seen players score in double figures 10 different times, including six by Mabrey.
Call Her Mabrey
While the season is only one-third over, certainly an early favorite as the nation's most improved player would have to be Notre Dame sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey. The Belmar, N.J., resident has emerged as a key reserve for the Fighting Irish, averaging 11.1 points and 3.9 assists per game, while ranking second in the ACC with a 2.60 assist/turnover ratio, after logging 3.0 ppg. and 1.3 apg. with a 1.06 A/TO mark last year.
What's more, Mabrey already has scored in double figures six 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.
Next Game: South Dakota State
Notre Dame will ring in the new year with a three-game homestand, beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) Jan. 2, when the Fighting Irish play host to South Dakota State at Purcell Pavilion. The contest, which will be the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and SDSU, will be streamed live and free of charge on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director