Lindsay Allen has been one of a kind for Notre Dame women's basketball

Ken Klimek
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – It was the summer of 2013 and Skylar Diggins had just graduated Notre Dame after three-straight Final Fours.

The Irish women’s basketball team was on a tour in Europe. A point guard was needed to replace Diggins for the upcoming season.

“We were training different people like Whitney Holloway and Kayla McBride,” said associate head coach Niele Ivey. McBride, of course, starred and flourished at the wing position.

“One game, Coach (Muffet McGraw) said we will start LA (Lindsay Allen), “ said Ivey. “Coach said I need you to run A, B and C. Lindsay went on the floor and just ran them perfectly. We looked at each other and it was like ‘We have our point guard.

“We were ecstatic. That gave her and Coach a ton of confidence heading into the season.”

McGraw gave Allen the ball, and she ran with it.

“I think her first year was so amazing," McGraw said. "To come in to a team so highly regarded, take over the reins from Skylar and then take us undefeated into the final game. We could not have asked for anything better."

Thursday night, Allen and teammate Diamond Thompson, along with senior managers, will be honored on Senior Night prior to the home game against Boston College.

And since that first game, Allen has started every one over her four years. She has set or is about to set many Notre Dame records. She already owns the mark for most consecutive starts - 140. She is three away from Diggins’ overall mark of 144 at Notre Dame. For Thompson, it will be her first start in four years. For Allen it will be start 141.

Notre Dame can’t afford to get too emotional on that ceremonial night. A victory gives the Irish at least a tie for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. It would be their fourth straight title. They can earn the crown outright by winning Thursday, then again Sunday at home against Florida State.

Allen doesn't plan to be emotional. Not yet.

“It might hit me in a week or two,” she said.

Allen knows the Irish have at least two more games on her home floor.

Thompson, from Wheaton, Ill., has scored 55 points in her career, but never considered leaving for another team where she may have gotten more playing time.

“It has been an incredible four years," she said. "Being here with this great coaching staff and teams has been an amazing experience. I look forward to coming in here every day and competing and bonding with these ladies.”

McGraw will miss Allen when the season finally does end.

“LA makes my job so much easier,” said McGraw. “She is a coach on the floor. She has a great mind for the game – tremendous vision. It’s a gift you don’t appreciate as much until she is not in the game.”

Allen currently leads the ACC with 202 assists this season. She needs 18 to become the all-time assist leader at Notre Dame, 25 to become the ACC’s all-time assist leader. Allen currently has 761. Former Virginia standout Sharnee Zoll has the record is 785.

Allen also leads the ACC in assist to turnover ratio (3.3). She currently is tied with Letitia Bowen for 25th on the all-time Notre Dame scoring list with 1,219 points.

Basketball likely will remain in Allen’s future. The WNBA may be her next home.

“I get calls all the time about her," Ivey said. "I think she has impressed every scout. She has positioned herself to be one of the best point guards in that league."

Notre Dame will be without Mychal Johnson on Thursday. She suffered a leg injury in Sunday's victory at Syracuse. Junior Kathryn Westbeld continues to nurse a long-standing ankle injury and did not practice Wednesday. Her availability is uncertain.

Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen (15) drives down the court during the Connecticut at Notre Dame women’s basketball game at Purcell Pavilion Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA)

WHO: No. 5 Notre Dame (25-3, 12-1 ACC) vs. Boston College (9-18, 2-12).

WHERE: Purcell Pavilion, (9,149)

WHEN: Thursday at 7 pm.

TICKETS: Available.

INTERNET: WatchESPN.com (formerly ESPN 3) or through the WatchESPN app.tv

RADIO: Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)

TELEVISION: None

NOTING: Notre Dame leads the series with Boston College, a former Big East colleague, 19-5. The Irish have won the last nine meetings. . . Boston College is coached by Erik Johnson, who is 60-89 in his four years with the Eagles. Mariella Fasoula, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, leads the Eagles in scoring (15.9). She is also the team’s leading rebounder at 7.4 an outing. Kelly Hughes, a 5-11 senior, also is in double figures at 11.2 per game. . . Fans hoping to watch Senior Day activities are asked to be in their seats by 6:40, 20 minutes prior to the 7 p.m. tip.