Notre Dame preview capsule
WHO: Virginia Tech (6-0, 1-0 ACC) vs. Notre Dame (2-3, 0-1).
WHEN: Thursday, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Purcell Pavilion, Notre Dame.
RADIO: WQLQ (99.9 FM).
NOTING: Junior Dara Mabrey’s set to become just the second-ever Irish player to face her former school when Notre Dame hosts Virginia Tech (Destinee Walker was the first, last season in a win over North Carolina). Mabrey transferred to ND in June. She averaged 11.5 points, 2.3 assists and 41% on 3-pointers over two seasons with the Hokies. She’s at 11.8, 3.2 and 41% this season for the Irish. ... Other ND leaders include freshman Maddy Westbeld (18.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 52% on field goals, 82% on free throws), Anaya Peoples (12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Walker (11.4 ppg, 20-of-22 free throws) and Sam Brunelle (8.0 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 19.1 minutes per game over three contests since returning from injury). ... Center Mikayla Vaughn, back from offseason knee surgery, matched her career high with four blocked shots to go with seven points and six boards in her season debut during Sunday’s 82-67 loss to Georgia Tech. ... The Hokies (21-9, 11-7 last season), who are tied for No. 25 in the coaches’ poll and receiving votes in the AP poll, are coming off their first-ever winning ACC season, spanning 16 years in the conference, and are on pace to improve their overall record for the fifth straight year under Kenny Brooks. ... Tech’s led by 6-5 sophomore center Elizabeth Kitley, the ACC Freshman of the Year last season, at 18.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game to go with 64.5% from the field. ... Senior guard Aisha Sheppard is at 17.8 points and 25-of-57 on 3s for 44%. Three other Hokies are each averaging 11.2 to 12.7 points. ... Tech’s closest game has been an 81-66 win over Liberty, and the Hokies opened league play Sunday with an 88-71 victory over Pittsburgh. ... Tech ranks second in the nation in made 3s per game at 11.7 and 13th in percentage at 42.4. ... The Hokies will be playing their first road game after six straight home contests. ... The Irish will be playing the last five straight scheduled home games, their most in a row at home since the first five games of the 2004-05 season. ... Tech won last season’s only meeting, 68-62, at Notre Dame, with Mabrey scoring 11 points. ... This is the first of two scheduled matchups this season, the other set for Jan. 21 in Blacksburg. ... The Irish lead the all-time series 11-2.
QUOTING: “I think just coming in and not being afraid to compete. ... I’m trying not to back down from the challenge. I want to win, and I’ll do whatever it takes to win.” — Maddy Westbeld,
ND freshman forward, on why she has quickly adapted to collegiate play.