Feb 19, 2013, 3:54 PM EDT
The Fighting Irish (24-1, 12-0 BIG EAST) have had a dominant season to say the least. They are currently ranked second in the NCAA behind only Brittney Griner and the Lady Bears of Baylor. Their nearly flawless record is one telling number, but how do their other statistics line up against their toughest opponents?
To start, the Notre Dame women are averaging 80.7 points per game (through 25 games), good for third place behind Connecticut (83.0) and Baylor (81.7). Their scoring defense, 55.8 ppg, doesn’t crack the top 10 this year, but when coupled with their super productive offense, it gives them a scoring margin of +24.9, which is fourth best in the country.
Many of Notre Dame’s totals in the other standard statistics (e.g. field goal percentage, assists per game) are on par with Connecticut and Baylor, but there are couple of areas where the Fighting Irish stand out.
The Notre Dame women are second, nationally, in free throw percentage, with 79.6% made, behind Utah State (80.4%), and none of the other top five teams in the country even crack the top 25 for this statistic. This discrepancy balances out Notre Dame’s lower three-point total, but it seems a smart strategy to take the easy, uncontested shots rather than the low-percentage shots from beyond the arc.
The other stat that the Irish have over Baylor and Connecticut (and most other teams in the NCAA) is rebound margin. With 43.3 rebounds per game and 31.5 opponent rebounds per game, they have a +11.8 margin. Combining that with a positive turnover margin gives the Fighting Irish more opportunities than their opponents to take shots, and when those shots go in with a higher percentage than most teams, you get a +24.9 scoring margin and a number two rank.
The Notre Dame women defeated Marquette this past Sunday, to win their 19th straight game (last time they lost was Dec. 5). They will travel to Chicago next Sunday to take on DePaul for another BIG EAST matchup. On the horizon is their Mar. 4 rematch against the Connecticut Huskies in the final game of the regular season.
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