No. 1 Seed Notre Dame (32-3) vs. No. 5 Seed St. Bonaventure (31-3)
Sweet 16 | Regional Semifinal | Sunday, March 25 | 2:30 PM
ESPN2 – National Coverage | PNC Arena – Raleigh, N.C.
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A pregame reception will be held at the Backyard Bistro, located across the street from the arena. More information can be found here.
Also, Fr. Dan Riley will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning at 10 in the Embassy Suites on Harrison Oaks Boulevard in Cary - the team hotel.
Making its first Sweet 16 appearance in its NCAA Tournament debut, the fifth-seeded St. Bonaventure women's basketball team faces top-seeded Notre Dame in the Raleigh Regional Semifinal Sunday afternoon.
The Bonnies and Irish are meeting for the first time. SBU advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA tourney by virtue of wins over Florida Gulf Coast (72-65 OT) and Marist (66-63) in the opening rounds in Florida, while ND remained at home to defeat Liberty (74-43) and California (73-62). The winner advances to the Elite 8 with a trip to the Final Four on the line Tuesday night at 9 against either second-seeded Maryland or third-seeded – and reigning national champion – Texas A&M.
With an enrollment of just 2,000, St. Bonaventure is the smallest school in Division I women's basketball history to advance to the Sweet 16. Outside of Gonzaga, the Bonnies are the only team left in the tournament that is not a member of a BCS conference.
St. Bonaventure also has the youngest coaching staff left in the tournament, combining to average just 29 years and 6 months of age. Jim Crowley (41 years, 5 months, 21 days) is one of the youngest head coaches remaining in the field, while all three of his assistants are under the age of 26 (Kate Achter: 25 years, 10 months, 25 days; Priscilla Edwards: 25 years, 6 months, 11 days; Ryan Gensler: 24 years, 11 months, 12 days).
Bona is grouped in the Raleigh Region with three former national champions. Notre Dame won the title in 2001, while Marlyand claimed the 2006 crown and Texas A&M emerged victorious last year against Notre Dame in the championship game.
Bonaventure is just the third Atlantic 10 school to advance to the Sweet 16, joining George Washington (four appearances) and Xavier (two appearances). The Bonnies are the lone A-10 women's team still playing as Temple fell to Syracuse in the WNIT Thursday night.
Notre Dame and St. Bonaventure share three common opponents this year (Villanova, St. John's, West Virginia). The Irish defeated Villanova and St. John's, while the Bonnies split with those two – winning at St. John's. Bonaventure defeated West Virginia, 56-48, on the road in November, while the Mountaineers handed Notre Dame its lone Big East loss, 65-63, at home last month.
The Fighting Irish average 79.2 points per game – second-best in the nation – while the Bonnies enter with the country's 22nd-best defense (53.7 points per game). Bonaventure has not allowed a team to score 70 points in a game all season (season high is 69 by George Washington), while ND has cracked the 70-point threshold 27 times, including 120- and 128-point games.
Redshirt senior Armelia Horton is saving some of her best offensive games donning the Brown and White when they matter most. Over the tournament's first two games, Horton has gone a collective 11-18 from the field. The 11 makes are the most over a two-game stretch of her career. The Harlem native went 6-12 en route to a 17-point performance in the First Round against Florida Gulf Coast before following that up with a 5-6 showing and 10-point effort versus Marist.