Skylar Diggins will lead Notre Dame against Ohio State in the Carrier Classic Friday aboard the USS Yorktown. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. (Leader photo/File)

Archived Story

Irish take on Buckeyes aboard USS Yorktown

Published 5:18pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Senior All-American Skylar Diggins will lead the No. 7-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team into its season opener against No. 19 Ohio State Friday.

The Irish and Buckeyes will play aboard the USS Yorktown as part of the Carrier Classic. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. and the game can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network.

Notre Dame, which is coming off back-to-back appearances in the NCAA title game, is 27-8 all-time in season openers, including 22-3 under coach Muffet McGraw.

This will be the second meeting between Notre Dame and Ohio State. The Irish lost the first meeting 74-67 in 1997, but defeated the Buckeyes 66-62 in 2004.

This is the first time since 2008-09 that the Fighting Irish have opened the season against a ranked opponent.

Irish notes

• Notre Dame is ranked No. 7 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the initial ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. It marks the fifth consecutive season the Fighting Irish have appeared in the preseason AP poll (and fourth consecutive preseason coaches’ poll appearance), as well as the third time in four years Notre Dame has opened the season ranked in the top 10 in both major national polls.

• With its No. 7 preseason ranking in the AP poll, Notre Dame has appeared in the media poll for 97 consecutive weeks, extending a program record that dates back to the 2007-08 preseason poll. In fact, every current Fighting Irish player has competed for a ranked Notre Dame squad throughout her career, with the vast majority of that time (46 weeks) spent in the AP Top 10.

• The Fighting Irish now have been made the preseason AP poll in 13 of the past 14 years (since 1999-2000), something only six other schools in the country can match.

• Notre Dame could play as many as nine of the other 24 teams in the preseason AP poll if they meet No. 15 Texas A&M at the World Vision Classic in Las Vegas (Dec. 19-21).

• Senior guards Diggins and Kaila Turner have helped Notre Dame win 95 games to date, easily the most victories by a Fighting Irish class in its first three seasons, surpassing the one-player 2001-02 senior class of Ericka Haney, who was a part of 87 wins through the end of her junior year (including the 2001 national championship).

• With 591 victories in her first 25 seasons at Notre Dame, 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).

• Notre Dame is among the nation’s winningest programs during the past 17 seasons (1996-97 to present), ranking fourth with 409 victories.

• Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in attendance annually since 2000-01 (including top-five rankings the past three years). Last season, the Fighting Irish ranked fifth in the nation with 8,571 fans per home game, setting a school record for average attendance for the third consecutive season. The Fighting Irish also have drawn 5,000-or-more fans to 176 of their last 178 home games, logging 25 Purcell Pavilion sellouts, including 19 in the past three seasons, and a school-record eight in 2011-12 (most recently on Feb. 25, 2012, vs. South Florida).

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