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#2 Irish Take On #14/17 North Carolina State Saturday In ACC Semifinals

March 8, 2014
HOOSIER SPORTS 365



2013-14 ND Women's Basketball: Game 31
Atlantic Coast Conference Championship -- Semifinal
#2/2 [#1 seed] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (30-0 / 16-0 ACC) vs. #14/17 [#4 seed] North Carolina State Wolfpack (25-6 / 11-5 BIG EAST)

DATE: March 8, 2014
TIME: 5 p.m. ET
AT: Greensboro, N.C. - Greensboro Coliseum (23,500)
SERIES: ND leads 2-0
1ST MTG: ND 64-53 (11/20/96)
LAST MTG: ND 84-60 (3/2/14)
TV: ESPNU/WatchESPN (live) (Pam Ward, p-b-p / Debbie Antonelli, 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 advanced to the semifinals of its conference tournament for the fifth consecutive season and the 15th time in the past 26 years.
  • The Fighting Irish will be playing their 10th ranked opponent of the season, and their fourth in the past five games (all against teams from the state of North Carolina that are appearing in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll).
  • No. 2 Fighting Irish Take On No. 14/17 North Carolina State In ACC Semifinals
    After a strong performance in their ACC Championship debut, No. 2 Notre Dame will face yet another tough test as the top-seeded Fighting Irish meet No. 14/17 (and fourth-seeded) North Carolina State in the tournament semifinals at 5 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. The game, which will be the second matchup between Notre Dame and N.C. State in the past six days, will be televised live on ESPNU and the WatchESPN mobile app, while the Notre Dame Radio Network broadcast can be heard live and free of charge on the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).

    Notre Dame (30-0) earned its spot in the ACC semifinals with an 83-57 victory over ninth-seeded Florida State in a quarterfinal contest on Friday afternoon in Greensboro. After spotting the Seminoles the game's first six points, the Fighting Irish erupted, using a 21-0 run midway through the first half and a .654 field goal percentage in the period to seize control, with FSU never getting closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

    Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd led four Notre Dame players in double figures with 17 points, while senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride added 13 points and sophomore guard Michaela Mabreycame off the bench to drop in 12 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers.

    Rankings

  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 2 in this week's Associated Press poll and is No. 2 in this week's WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • North Carolina State is ranked No. 14 in this week's Associated Press poll and is No. 17 in this week's WBCA/USA Today poll.
  • 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 30-0, 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 30-game winning streak is tied for the longest in program history matching last year's 30-game run. It's also tied for the second-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.
  • Notre Dame leads the nation in field goal percentage (.517), 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).
  • 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 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 led Notre Dame to a 131-14 (.903) record in their careers, surpassing last year's senior class of Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner, who 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 656 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 744 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 931).
  • The Notre Dame-North Carolina State Series
    Notre Dame and North Carolina State will be playing for just the third time ever, but the second time in less than a week. The Fighting Irish are 2-0 all-time against the Wolfpack, with Saturday's game being the first between the schools in postseason play.

    The Last Time Notre Dame and North Carolina State Met
    Notre Dame's first run through the Atlantic Coast Conference couldn't have gone any better.

    The second-ranked Fighting Irish polished off a perfect debut season in the ACC by beating No. 13/17 North Carolina State 84-60 on March 2 in Raleigh, N.C.

    Natalie Achonwa scored 19 points and Jewell Loydadded 18 points for the Fighting Irish, who shot 56 percent and led by 30 after an overwhelming second-half run helped them cap the first undefeated regular season for an ACC school since the 2007-08 North Carolina team.

    In the second half, Notre Dame scored 48 points and shot 64.5 percent.

    Miah Spencer had a season-high 18 points for the Wolfpack, who missed 10 consecutive shots shortly after halftime and went scoreless for 7 1/2 minutes as the Fighting Irish turned a tight game into another blowout.

    Kayla McBride and Ariel Brakeradded 12 points for Notre Dame, which in an 11-day span beat each of the four of the North Carolina-based ACC schools by double figures -- and three were in the top 15 at the time.

    They finally gave themselves some separation against N.C. State late in the first half, then really broke it open early in the second by reeling off 17 straight points during the transition-fueled 23-4 run that effectively ended it.

    Kody Burke finished with 15 points and Markeisha Gatling added 12 and 11 rebounds for the Wolfpack.

    Other Notre Dame-North Carolina State Series Tidbits

  • Prior to last weekend's meeting in Raleigh, Notre Dame and North Carolina State had not played in more than 17 years since they squared off in the 1996 Preseason WNIT third-place game (which no longer exists) in Ruston, La., with the Fighting Irish earning a 64-53 win over the No. 8/12 Wolfpack.
  • Notre Dame will be playing a team from the state of North Carolina for the fifth time in its last six games. The Fighting Irish are 20-2 (.909) all-time against North Carolina schools, including an active 10-game winning streak.
  • Notre Dame will be playing in the state of North Carolina for the 11th time in school history (9-1 record, including an active six-game winning streak).
  • In its 37-year history, Notre Dame has had just two North Carolina natives on its all-time roster -- Raleigh product Mary Joan Forbes (1980-81) and Charlotte resident Erica Williamson (2006-10).
  • North Carolina State senior associate athletics director for sports administration & student services Sherard Clinkscales served as pitching coach on the Notre Dame baseball team from 2006-09.

Tags HOOSIER SPORTS 365 • Publisher
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