#4/5 Irish Visit #10/11 Penn State Wednesday For Big Ten/ACC Challenge
December 4, 2013HOOSIER SPORTS 3652013-14 ND Women's Basketball: Game 7 Big Ten/ACC Challenge #4/5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0 / 0-0 ACC) vs. #10/11 Penn State Lady Lions (5-1 / 0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: Dec. 4, 2013 TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET AT: University Park, Pa. - Bryce Jordan Center (15,621) SERIES: PSU leads 5-0 1ST MTG: PSU 86-70 (11/22/91) LAST MTG: PSU 75-49 (11/16/06) TV: Big Ten Network (live) (Eric Collins, p-b-p / Stephanie White, color) RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p) LIVE STATS: UND.com TWITTER: @ndwbbsid
- Notre Dame takes part in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time on Wednesday.
- The Fighting Irish will be facing their third ranked opponent of the young season.
- Notre Dame will play a Penn State squad led by former Fighting Irish point guard/assistant coach Coquese Washington ('92, '97).
No. 4/5 Fighting Irish Visit No. 10/11 Penn State Wednesday For Big Ten/ACC ChallengeFrom the reunion of a former player and coach, to simple conference pride, there's likely to be a spot on the emotional spectrum for just about everyone as No. 4/5 Notre Dame visits No. 10/11 Penn State at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesday for one of the marquee games in the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The contest will be televised live from PSU's Bryce Jordan Center on the Big Ten Network.
The Fighting Irish (6-0) will take on their second Pennsylvania school in just over 72 hours (and third of the season) after a wire-to-wire 100-61 win over Duquesne Sunday afternoon in Toronto.
Senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride scored a season-high 22 points and Canadian Olympic Team member Natalie Achonwaadded her first double-double of the year (11 points, 10 rebounds) as Notre Dame shot 60.9 percent from the floor in rolling past the Dukes.
- Notre Dame is No. 4 in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 5 in the latest WBCA/USA Todaypoll.
- Penn State is No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 11 in the latest WBCA/USA Today poll.
- Notre Dame has won 29 consecutive regular season games and 15 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 Greendid 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 29-5 (.853) against ranked opponents, including a 10-1 record at home.
- Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 121 consecutive weeks (including the past 51 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 (71 of 82 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 107-14 (.884) 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 388-90 (.812) all-time record in 37 seasons at the facility, including a 65-5 (.929) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
- With 632 victories in her 27 seasons at Notre Dame, head coach Muffet McGrawranks 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 720 career wins, McGraw needs 19 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-Penn State SeriesNotre Dame and Penn State will be meeting for the sixth time on Wednesday night, with the Lady Lions having won all five prior games in the series, including both previous matchups on the PSU campus (the 1993 game at old Rec Hall and the most recent game between the schools in 2006 at the Bryce Jordan Center).
The Last Time Notre Dame and Penn State MetA poor shooting night on Notre Dame's part and a hot shooting evening for Penn State didn't make for a good combination, as the Fighting Irish took their first loss of the 2006-07 season, 75-49 to Penn State on Nov. 16, 2006, at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.
Notre Dame shot a season-low 26.8 percent (15-of-56) from the field, while the Lady Lions connected at a .488 clip (20-of-41) from the floor and an .879 rate (29-of-33) at the foul line to remain unbeaten on the young season.
Notre Dame guards Tulyah Gaines and Charel Allen scored a team-high 12 points apiece, while rookie guard Melissa Lechlitnercame off the bench to register a season-best 11 points, including 3-of-4 three-pointers.
Tyra Grant led Penn State with 19 points, highlighted by a 10-of-10 effort from the free throw stripe.
Notre Dame never led in the contest, as PSU made its first five shots from the floor and its initial four free throws while bolting out to a 15-2 lead with five minutes gone. From there, the Fighting Irish played the Lady Lions virtually even for the remainder of the half, getting within 26-16 on Allen's jumper with 6:22 left before halftime. However, Penn State answered with six consecutive points and wound up with a 37-22 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, Notre Dame sliced the margin to 13 points on two occasions, the second on Gaines' old-fashioned three-point play at the first media timeout of the period (15:56). But, Grant came back with five straight points for the hosts, and after a three-minute dry spell on both ends, the Lady Lions finished off an 11-3 run that pushed their lead over 20 points midway through the second half.
PSU kept the Fighting Irish at bay the remainder of the contest behind potent free throw shooting, with 14 of the final 20 points for the home side coming from the line.
Other Notre Dame-Penn State Series Tidbits
- Penn State is one of only three opponents Notre Dame has yet to defeat with a minimum of three games played, the others being Baylor (0-4) and Colorado (0-3).
- Penn State head coach Coquese Washington is a "Double Domer", having earned both her bachelor's degree in history ('92) and her juris doctorate ('97) from Notre Dame. As a player for head coach Muffet McGrawfrom 1989-93, Washington started 89 of her 113 games played, averaging 8.9 points, 4.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. She also served as team captain her final two seasons (1991-92 and 1992-93) and helped the Fighting Irish to their first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in 1992. To this day, Washington still holds the school record for career steals average (2.7), while also ranking third in career steals (307), fifth in career assists average (4.9) and sixth in career assists (554).
- Washington returned to her alma mater in 1999 and began an eight-year run as assistant coach (and later associate head coach) on McGraw's staff, splitting time during the early part of that stretch with her continuing professional career in the WNBA. During her coaching tenure at Notre Dame, Washington worked closely with the Fighting Irish point guards, most notably Notre Dame All-American and current Fighting Irish assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey. Notre Dame posted a 188-69 (.732) record during Washington's eight-year stay, winning the 2001 NCAA national championship and advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen four times in that span.
- Washington remains close friends with all of the members of the Notre Dame coaching staff, particularly Fighting Irish associate head coach Carol Owens, who is godmother to both of Washington's children, Quenton and Rhaiyna.
- Ninth-year Notre Dame associate director of operations & technology Angie Potthoffshould be no stranger to Penn State fans. Potthoff was a three-time All-America forward for the Lady Lions during her career from 1993-97, helping PSU to two Sweet Sixteen berths and a spot in the 1994 Elite Eight. Also a three-time first-team all-Big Ten selection, Potthoff led the Lady Lions in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage during each of her final three seasons, winning a share of the Big Ten scoring title and finishing second in rebounds as a senior in 1997, months before she graduated from the University with her bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science. Potthoff remains a fixture on several of Penn State's career records lists, including field goal percentage (2nd - .574), double-doubles (2nd - 47), rebounding average (4th - 8.3), rebounds (6th - 918), scoring average (7th - 15.5), field goals made (7th - 709) and total points (9th - 1,725).
- Senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa.) and junior guard Madison Cable(Mt. Lebanon, Pa.) should be quite familiar with the Bryce Jordan Center, as the arena was the site of some of their greatest high school moments. Between them, the pair played in seven Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) state championship games on PSU's home court, winning their last five. McBride's Villa Maria Academy squad lost its first Class AA final in 2007, and Cable's Mt. Lebanon team also fell in its first Class AAAA title-game appearance the following year (2008). However, both returned with their teams to claim state championships in both 2009 and 2010, with Cable and Mt. Lebanon adding a third consecutive crown in 2011 (the first AAAA school to win three in a row since the classification was added in 1984, and just the seventh in any classification in state history).
- McBride and Cable also earned Gatorade Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons, winning the award in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
- Although they didn't play against one another in high school, McBride and Penn State's Maggie Lucas were teammates (and roommates) for the East squad at the 2010 McDonald's High School All-America Game in Columbus, Ohio. The East Team lost to its West counterpart, 84-75, with Lucas notching three points and two assists and McBride chipping in two points and three assists.
- Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd was a teammate of PSU's Candice Agee on the West Team at the 2012 McDonald's High School All-America Game in Chicago. The West lost to the East (which included Notre Dame sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey), 79-78, with Loyd collecting four points, eight rebounds and three steals, while Agee had seven points and seven rebounds and Mabrey tallied three points.
- Mabrey and Agee were teammates (and Notre Dame athletic trainer Anne Marquez served in that same capacity) on the 2012 USA Basketball Under-18 National Team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Puerto Rico. Mabrey averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game with a .500 three-point percentage during the tournament, while Agee logged 5.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
- Penn State associate athletics director/senior woman administrator Charmelle Green worked as Notre Dame from 2001-11, first as an assistant softball coach, and then as senior assistant athletics director for student welfare & development.