ND Women’s Basketball
Boston College matchup serves as Senior Night for Allen, Thompson
Benjamin Padanilam | Thursday, February 23, 2017
As the regular season winds down to its close, No. 5 Notre Dame will honor its seniors Thursday when it hosts Boston College for its Senior Night game.
For the Irish (25-3, 13-1 ACC), guard Lindsay Allen and center Diamond Thompson will be honored for their contributions to the program. Forward Kristina Nelson is also a senior, but she will not be recognized after Irish head coach Muffet McGraw announced Monday that Nelson would be returning as a graduate student for a fifth season.
For Thompson, Thursday’s game against the Eagles (9-18, 2-12 ACC) will be her first career start for the program in her four years. McGraw called it a great way to reward her for all she has done for the program.
“It’ll be my first start on Senior Night. I’m really excited to start with the four other great ladies and contribute in any way I can,” Thompson said. “ … I think I just got to do my best out there and whatever happens, happens. Hopefully the game comes to me — I know it’s going to be really fast-paced, but I’m ready and can’t wait to start.”
Allen, on the other hand, will be making her 141st career start in an Irish uniform, as she has taken the court for the opening tipoff in each and every game Notre Dame has played since she has been a member of the program. In those four years, both Allen and McGraw have appreciated their time together and the way they have impacted one another, they said.
“Having Lindsay has made my job so much easier, and she is such a coach on the court,” McGraw said of Allen. “She’s just got a great mind for the game, tremendous vision. I think it’s a gift that sometimes you don’t appreciate as much until she’s not in the game … just phenomenal.”
“This has been really a dream come true for me, playing for Coach McGraw and playing for this historic program and making it to two Final Fours — just really being in the position that I am today has been a dream come true,” Allen said.
Thursday’s contest will not only be Senior Night, however; it will also be the first game the Irish have played since the NCAA tournament selection committee announced Monday that Notre Dame had moved up to the No. 4 slot overall, returning the Irish to the No. 1-seed line as it enters the season’s stretch run.
Despite the recognition, however, the Irish remain focused on playing their game and taking the end of the season one opponent at a time, Allen said.
“Not really much,” Allen said of what it means for the committee to put the Irish back into position for a No. 1 seed. “We still control our own destiny from here, so we’re only worried about just playing our best game and winning out the ACC regular season and into the ACC tournament. … Just really focusing on ourselves, and not really focusing on the outside pressures.”
McGraw added that she does not pay much attention to the seeding, but she, like Allen, is happy to see the team back in a position from which it controls its own destiny.
“I’m glad that we’ve worked our way back to it and … I think we’ve put ourself in a really good spot,” McGraw said. “I think this is where we want to be: in control of our own destiny, which is where we’ve been every year. We should be very comfortable in this position, [and] we got to take care of business starting tomorrow. Can’t look ahead to Sunday.”
And with the ACC tournament — as well as a potential winner-take-all game for the ACC regular season title Sunday against No. 8 Florida State — looming, the Irish are well aware that they will only face opponents at their fiercest going forward as the squad pursues another ACC championship.
“I think for sure the level of intensity has ratcheted up a little bit, so we know that the end is coming. We’re getting into the end of the regular-season ACC, and we’re getting into the ACC tournament … so we’re going to get everyone’s best shot from here on out,” Allen said.
The Irish and Eagles are set to tip off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Purcell Pavilion, with the Senior Night ceremony slated to start approximately 20 minutes beforehand.