The ACC tournament gets underway today in Greensboro, N.C., and top-seeded Notre Dame looks to win the title in its first year as a member. The Irish won the regular-season title with a 16-0 conference record and earned a double-bye. They open with a quarterfinal game on Friday. In anticipation of their ACC tournament debut, here are five key facts about their season:
1. Notre Dame completed its first undefeated regular season (29-0) in the program's 37-year history after winning its final game on Sunday against No. 13 North Carolina State.
2. The Irish have gone undefeated in conference play the last two seasons, with a 16-0 mark during their final season in the Big East in 2012-13.
3. Notre Dame is the eighth team in ACC women's basketball history (1977-78 to present) to have a perfect record in conference play and is the first team since North Carolina did it in 2007-08.
4. Notre Dame was 9-0 against ranked opponents this season, with an average margin of victory of 17.3 points.
5. Notre Dame's senior class (Natalie Achonwa, Ariel Braker and Kayla McBride) has tied the program record for most wins by a senior class, improving to 130-14 during their four-year careers. Their win total is currently tied with the 2013 class (Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner), which went 130-20.
No. 2 Notre Dame (18-0) looks to keep its undefeated season alive as it takes on No. 6 Maryland (16-2) in College Park (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN). Here are five fast facts about the rivalry.
1. Maryland leads the series 4-2. The Terps won the first meeting 84-62 in January of 1983.
2. The teams last met in the Elite Eight of the 2012 NCAA tournament. Notre Dame won 80-49 and advanced to its second consecutive Final Four. After beating UConn in the semifinal, the Fighting Irish fell to Baylor in the championship game.
3. Maryland beat Note Dame the last time the Irish visited College Park, 75-59 in the Women’s Preseason NIT in November of 2007. It was the schools' first meeting in more than 20 years. Maryland tied a school record with 12 3-pointers in that win.
4. This is Notre Dame’s second straight week playing on “Big Monday.” The Irish beat the Tennessee Lady Vols 86-70 in Knoxville last Monday. Led by Kayla McBride’s 22 points, Notre Dame erased its largest deficit of the season (12) to remain undefeated.
5. The game features four players on the recently released Wooden Award’s Midseason Top 20 list -- Natalie Achonwa, Jewell Loyd and Kayla McBride of Notre Dame and Alyssa Thomas of Maryland.
This weekend largely marks the end of the nonconference portion of the women’s basketball season. And while matchups like UConn-Stanford, UConn-Duke and Tennessee-Stanford were a great way to tip off the season, here are our elite eight conference games before March that we can’t wait to see.Jan. 5: Maryland at North Carolina, ESPNU
Jan. 27: Notre Dame at Maryland, ESPN2
Feb. 2: Notre Dame at Duke, ESPN
Feb. 2: Stanford at Cal, ESPN2
Feb. 9: Louisville at UConn, ESPN
Feb. 10: North Carolina at Duke, ESPN2
Feb. 16: Kentucky at Tennessee, ESPN
Feb. 23: Duke at Notre Dame, ESPN
But if you just can’t get enough of the nonconference showdowns, there are two more next month that are perfectly acceptable to start popping the popcorn for.Jan. 13: UConn at Baylor, ESPN2
Jan. 20: Notre Dame at Tennessee, ESPN2