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    NCAA Tournament Pits NU Against Notre Dame Saturday

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Tewaaraton Award finalist Taylor Thornton ranks in the top 10 all-time at NU in ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Tewaaraton Award finalist Taylor Thornton ranks in the top 10 all-time at NU in ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    May 10, 2012

    2012 NCAA Tournament -- First Round
    (2) Northwestern (17-2, 4-1 ALC) vs. Notre Dame (13-4, 6-2 BIG EAST)
    Saturday, May 12 • 3 p.m. CT
    Lakeside Field • Evanston, Ill.
    Live Stream: Big Ten Digital Network (BTN Tape Delay Airing: 4:30 p.m. CT, Monday)
    Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
    Audio: WNUR 89.3 FM
    Gametracker: NUsports.com

    2012 Division I NCAA Women's Lacrosse Bracket

    WATCH: WTTW Chicago Tonight Northwestern Lacrosse Feature

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- With four victories standing between the Wildcats and the program's seventh national championship, second-seeded Northwestern opens NCAA Tournament play at 3 p.m. Saturday when it hosts regional rival Notre Dame at Lakeside Field with a trip to the national quarterfinals on the line.

     

     

    Awaiting the winner of Saturday's contest in Evanston will be either seventh-seeded Duke or the University of Virginia, who square off Sunday in the tournament's first round.

    Tickets to the game are available at the entrance to Lakeside Field on the day of the game ($8 adults, $5 youth and senior citizens). All Northwestern students in attendance will receive free admission courtesy of NU head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. Parking at Lakeside Field is free for all spectators.

    Following the 'Cats
    NU's first-round matchup against the Fighting Irish will stream live online on the Big Ten Digital Network and re-air on tape delay on the linear Big Ten Network at 4:30 p.m. CT Monday. During the game, fans also will be able listen live WNUR's radio broadcast, track live stats via Gametracker or follow in-game updates on Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE).

    Setting the Standard
    Northwestern enters the 2012 NCAA Tournament looking to improve on its all-time postseason winning percentage of .806 (29-7), the best for any school in Division I women's lacrosse history. NU's mark of 28-2 in the national tournament under Kelly Amonte Hiller makes Amonte Hiller the winningest coach in the sport's history by postseason winning percentage (.933) and leaves her one win shy of tying Cindy Timchal (Northwestern/Maryland/Navy) and Chris Sailer (Princeton) for most career NCAA Tournament wins.

    Scouting the Fighting Irish:
    2012: 13-4, 6-2 BIG EAST, 5-2 away, No. 8 IWLCA
    Last Three Games: L vs. Loyola (11-9); W vs. Cincinnati (22-2), L at Northwestern (17-7)
    Head Coach: Christine Halfpenny (Virginia Tech '99); 13-4 at Notre Dame (first season)
    Key Players: Maggie Tamasitis (Sr., A): 22 goals, 57 assists, 15 ground balls; Jaimie Morrison (Jr., A): 34 goals, 14 ground balls; Margaret Smith (So., M): 35 ground balls, 47 draw controls, 29 caused turnovers
    In Goal: Ellie Hilling (Jr.): 10.8 goals against average, .459 save pct.; 141 saves

    • After beginning the 2012 campaign with an 8-0 mark, Notre Dame finished 5-4 in its final nine games, most recently an 11-9 setback to Loyola (Md.) in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament. It was Notre Dame's first game without second-leading goal-scorer Lindsay Powell, who suffered a torn ACL in practice on April 30 and will miss the remainder of the season. Senior Maggie Tamasitis has continued her tremendous scoring pace, however, racking up 57 assists to rank third nationally in that category. Defensively, Notre Dame has benefited from a unit that ranks ninth in the country with 9.47 caused turnovers per outing.

    Series Information
    Northwestern's 17-7 victory over then No. 6 Notre Dame in the regular season extended the Wildcats' winning streak in the series to 12 games, a stretch that includes three NU victories in the NCAA Tournament. Kelly Amonte Hiller's first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament came at the expense of Notre Dame, a 10-8 victory at Lakeside Field back on May 13, 2004, while the most recent postseason matchup was NU's dominant 19-7 first-round win on May 15, 2010. Shannon Smith and Erin Fitzgerald, then a sophomore and a freshman, respectively, combined for seven goals and five assists in that 2010 win while Taylor Thornton collected five draw controls for NU.

    Thornton Named a Tewaaraton Award Finalist
    One week after being voted the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year, Northwestern junior defender Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School) has been named one of five finalists for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award, presented annually to the most outstanding performer in both men's and women's collegiate lacrosse. Thornton, whose contributions at both ends of the field make her one of the game's top all-around players, will be in attendance for the announcement of this year's winner at the Tewaaraton Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 31. Thornton is the first Tewaaraton Award finalist -- men's or women's -- to hail from the state of Texas since the program's inception in 2001. Her fellow finalists for the honor are: Florida midfielder Brittany Dashiell, North Carolina attacker Becky Lynch, Maryland attacker Katie Schwarzmann and Syracuse attacker Michelle Tumolo.

    'Cats Receive All-Tournament Team Honors in Gainesville
    Following the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament last week, a trio of Wildcats received All-Tournament team recognition for their performances. Junior Taylor Thornton drew All-Tournament team accolades for the third time in three years after notching two goals each in the semifinal and championship game outings, while midfielders Alex Frank and Gabriella Flibotte garnered their second and first All-Tournament team honors of their respective careers.

    Record Book Rewrite
    The Northwestern Lacrosse record book continues to evolve thanks to the production by a few of the 2012 squad's veteran leaders, especially on the defensive end. Senior midfielder Alex Frank recently became just the second NU player to surpass 100 career caused turnovers and is on the cusp of becoming the fourth ever to reach 200 career draw controls (198). Her classmate, Lacey Vigmostad, stands fourth in NU history in caused turnovers (81) and eighth in ground balls (127), while Taylor Thornton -- who still has one full year remaining in her career -- already ranks eighth in draw controls (141) and caused turnovers (68) and ninth in ground balls (120).

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