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#2 Irish Set For Inaugural ACC Tournament Appearance

March 7, 2014
HOOSIER SPORTS 365



NOTRE DAME BASKETBALL RELEASE

March 5, 2014

Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

2013-14 ND Women's Basketball: Game 30
Atlantic Coast Conference Championship -- Quarterfinal
#2/2 [#1 seed] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (29-0 / 16-0 ACC) vs. [#8 seed] Miami Hurricanes (16-13 / 8-8 ACC) or [#9 seed] Florida State Seminoles (19-10 / 7-9 ACC)

DATE: March 7, 2014
TIME: 2:00 p.m. ET
AT: Greensboro, N.C. - Greensboro Coliseum (23,500)
SERIES: ND leads UM 15-3 / ND leads FSU 1-0
TV: ACC-RSN/ESPN3 (live) (Tom Werme, p-b-p / Stephanie Ready, color)
RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND (live) (Bob Nagle, p-b-p)
LIVE STATS: theacc.com
TWITTER: @ndwbbsid

Storylines

  • Notre Dame has earned the No. 1 seed in its conference tournament for the third consecutive year, and the eighth time in head coach Muffet McGraw's tenure (since 1987-88).
  • Dating back to 2001, 18 of the past 25 Fighting Irish games in conference tournaments have been decided by 11 points or fewer.
  • No. 2 Fighting Irish Set For Inaugural ACC Tournament Appearance
    Following the first undefeated regular season in program history, No. 2 Notre Dame begins its inaugural appearance at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at 2 p.m. (ET) Friday, when the top-seeded Fighting Irish take on either No. 8 seed Miami or ninth-seeded Florida State in a quarterfinal game at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. The game will be televised live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks and ESPN3/WatchESPN (check local listings or theacc.com for affiliates), while the Notre Dame Radio Network broadcast can be heard free of charge on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.

    Notre Dame (29-0, 16-0) defeated its third consecutive-15 opponent on Sunday with an 84-60 win at No. 13/17 N.C. State. The Fighting Irish shot nearly 70 percent from the floor during the final 33 minutes to secure the win.

    Senior forward/tri-captain Natalie Achonwa had a game-high 19 points, while sophomore guard Jewell Loydadded 18 points.

    Rankings

  • Notre Dame is No. 2 in this week's Associated Press poll and is No. 2 in this week's WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • Miami and Florida State are not ranked.
  • Quick Hitters

  • Notre Dame has clinched the outright ACC regular season title in its first season in the conference. It's the first time the Fighting Irish have won three consecutive outright regular season conference titles (following BIG EAST crowns in 2011-12 and 2012-13), and just the second time they have won three consecutive regular season conference titles in the program's 37-year history (they shared the 1988-89 Midwestern Collegiate/Horizon League championship before claiming the top spot outright the following two seasons).
  • Notre Dame is the ninth ACC school to go undefeated in conference play and first since North Carolina in 2007-08, as well as the first to go 16-0 in ACC play since Duke in 2002-03.
  • Notre Dame is the fourth ACC school to win the conference regular season title by at least four games, and the first since Duke in 2001-02.
  • Notre Dame is the first school to win the ACC regular season women's basketball title in its first year in the conference since the ACC began sponsoring the sport in 1977-78.
  • Notre Dame and Middle Tennessee (Conference USA) are the first NCAA Division I programs to win consecutive conference titles in different leagues since 2000-01, when both TCU and Louisiana Tech did so.
  • At 29-0, Notre Dame is off to the best start to a season in program history, surpassing the 23-0 debut by the 2000-01 club.
  • The current Fighting Irish 29-game winning streak is the second-longest in program history beyond only last year's 30-game run. It's also tied for the third-longest winning streak by any Notre Dame team (regardless of sport) since 1950.
  • Notre Dame has won 26 consecutive home games, dating back to Dec. 5, 2012 (a 73-61 loss to No. 3 Baylor). The 26-game home winning streak is the second-longest in school history and tied for the second-longest active run in NCAA Division I.
  • The Fighting Irish have won a school-record 26 consecutive road games (and 42 of their last 47), tying the fourth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history and dating back to a 94-81 loss at No. 1 Baylor on Nov. 20, 2011, in the Preseason WNIT title game.
  • Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Notre Dame is 36-5 (.878) against ranked opponents (14-2 on the road).
  • Notre Dame stands at No. 2 in the AP and WBCA/USA Today polls, the third consecutive season that the Fighting Irish have earned the second position in both surveys.
  • Notre Dame leads the nation in field goal percentage (.514), part of seven NCAA statistical categories that the Fighting Irish rank among the top 10 (not including won-loss percentage, for which they are one of two remaining teams in the nation without a loss).
  • Notre Dame has appeared in the AP poll for 134 consecutive weeks (including the past 64 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 (84 of 95 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 130-14 (.903) record in their careers, matching last year's senior class of Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner, who also helped Notre Dame to 130 wins from 2009-13.
  • 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 399-90 (.816) all-time record in 37 seasons at the facility, including a 76-5 (.938) record since the arena was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season.
  • Notre Dame ranks fourth in this week's NCAA attendance rankings (8,683 fans per game), and is one of only two schools in the country (along with Gonzaga) to fill its arena to better than 90 percent capacity, something the Fighting Irish have done each season since 2009-10.
  • With a 106-72 victory over Central Michigan on Dec. 22, the Fighting Irish became the 27th NCAA Division I women's basketball program to record 800 all-time wins.
  • With 655 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 743 career wins, McGraw has moved into 10th place on the NCAA Division I career list. She is one of two ACC coaches in the top 10 along with current North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell (second with 930).
  • The Notre Dame-Miami Series
    Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Miami, 15-3, and has won the past three matchups with the Hurricanes. Should they meet in Friday's quarterfinal, it would be the second time they have tangled in the postseason (the Fighting Irish downed UM, 67-52 in the 2000 BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals in Storrs, Conn.

    The Last Time Notre Dame And Miami Met
    Second-ranked Notre Dame is making a habit of overcoming slow starts.

    Three days after coming back from 12 points down to beat Tennessee going away, the Fighting Irish started 1 for 13 from the field against Miami and fell behind by six before coming back to beat the Hurricanes 79-52 on Jan. 23 at Purcell Pavilion.

    The veterans were the ones struggling early as Natalie Achonwa was 1 for 5 from the floor with three turnovers in the first five minutes and Kayla McBride missed her first seven shots. Achonwa finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, Lindsay Allenadded a season-high 16 points and McBride had 15 as the Fighting Irish got their 21st straight home win.

    After the slow start, Notre Dame made 10 of its final 19 shots of the first half to open a 35-26 lead the break, then began the second half with a 10-0 run to take control.

    Jassany Williams and Adrienne Motley led Miami with 10 points apiece as the Hurricanes shot a season-low 30.6 percent.

    Other Notre Dame-Miami Series Tidbits

  • Of the 18 games in the series, six have been decided by single-digit margins (Notre Dame has won four of those six close affairs).
  • Miami has scored more than 70 points against Notre Dame four times in their 18-game series (once in the past 10 outings). Conversely, the Fighting Irish have topped the 70-point mark 12 times in their history with the Hurricanes, all in the past 16 games.
  • Notre Dame has had eight Florida natives suit up in the program's 37-year history, with its most recent Sunshine State product being 2010 graduate Alena Christiansen (Fort Lauderdale/Cardinal Gibbons HS).
  • Sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey played for Miami head coach Katie Meier on the 2012 USA Basketball Under-18 National Team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Mabrey appeared in all five games (starting four times) for Team USA at the tournament, averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game with a .500 three-point percentage and .489 overall field goal percentage. She also scored in double figures four times (incuding 14 points against Brazil in the gold medal game), and led all players in the eight-team tournament in assists, assist/turnover ratio (2.67) and three-pointers per game (3.2).
  • Notre Dame assistant athletic trainer Anne Marquez also served on Meier's staff with the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team.
  • Meier also coached a future Notre Dame player (2014-15 incoming freshman forward Brianna Turner) on last summer's USA Basketball U19 National Team that won the FIBA U19 World Championships in Lithuania. As the second-youngest player on the American roster, Turner played in all nine games for Team USA at the tournament, averaging 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with a .500 field goal percentage.
  • The Notre Dame-Florida State Series
    Notre Dame won its only previous meeting with Florida State, 81-60, earlier this season. FSU was the last of five first-time opponents on the 2013-14 Fighting Irish regular season schedule.

    The Last Time Notre Dame And Florida State Met
    Natalie Achonwa scored 24 points and Jewell Loydadded 18 to lead No. 2 Notre Dame to an 81-60 victory at Florida State on Feb. 6.

    Kayla McBridechipped in 14 points for Notre Dame, while Cheetah Delgado scored a career-high 18 points and Natasha Howard finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for Florida State.

    A 24-5 run in the second half allowed Notre Dame to run away after the Seminoles cut it to 34-33 shortly after halftime.

    Notre Dame jumped out to a 27-13 lead thanks to a 15-2 run sparked by Achonwa, who scored 15 first-half points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field. Florida State adjusted and was able to work the ball to Howard as the Seminoles closed the half with a 16-5 run. Howard scored eight consecutive points during the spurt.

    The Seminoles trailed 32-29 at halftime after Delgado hit a runner with six seconds remaining. A jumper by Delgado brought Florida State within one point early in the second half, but the Fighting Irish ran away with a heavy dose of Loyd, who scored 14 of her 18 after the break. The 24-5 run that put the Seminoles away was highlighted by an alley-oop from Michaela Mabreyto Loyd.

    Other Notre Dame-Florida State Series Tidbits

  • Notre Dame freshman guard Lindsay Allen and freshman forward Taya Reimer were teammates with Florida State freshman center Kai James on the East Team at the 2013 McDonald's High School All-America Game, played at Chicago's United Center (the West defeated the East, 92-64).
  • Allen, Reimer and James also were teammates on the 2012 USA Basketball Under-17 National Team that went a perfect 8-0 and won the gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Also on that United States roster was future Notre Dame forward Brianna Turner, who signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University last fall and will suit up for the Fighting Irish beginning next season.
  • Notre Dame senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride and Florida State senior forward Natasha Howard were teammates on the East Team at the 2010 McDonald's High School All-America Game, played at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio (the West defeated the East, 84-75).
  • Notre Dame associate head coach Carol Owens and Florida State head coach Sue Semrau have a friendship that dates back more than two decades to their days at Northern Illinois, when Owens was completing her career at NIU in 1990 (and subsequently returning to campus to train when she was playing professionally overseas) and Semrau was arriving on the DeKalb, Ill., campus as an assistant coach (1991-94). The pair also have previously served together on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Board of Directors, with Semrau currently the WBCA President.
  • Semrau was an assistant coach on the 2010 USA Basketball Under-18 National Team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs. McBride was a starter on that squad, averaging 8.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
  • Florida State director of athletics Stan Wilcox is a 1981 Notre Dame graduate and was a four-year monogram recipient on the Fighting Irish men's basketball team, playing for legendary coach Digger Phelps and helping Notre Dame to its first NCAA Final Four appearance in 1978. Wilcox later returned to his alma mater as deputy athletics director from 2005-08.
  • Two of the more memorable moments in Notre Dame athletics history occurred against Florida State. On Nov. 13, 1993, the No. 2 Fighting Irish football team defeated the No. 1 Seminoles, 31-24 at Notre Dame Stadium in what was termed a "Game of the Century." Then on June 10, 2002, the 11th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team defeated No. 1 FSU, 3-1 in the decisive third game of the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional, earning the Fighting Irish their first College World Series berth in 45 years.

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