Point guard Lindsay Allen drives top-seeded Notre Dame into Sweet 16

Notre Dame escapes Purdue's upset attempt in OT (0:52)

No. 1 Notre Dame loses Brianna Turner to a knee injury but finds a way to get the win in overtime over No. 9 Purdue 88-82. (0:52)

When the Notre Dame women's basketball team took personality tests earlier this season, Lindsay Allen wasn't surprised by her results.

Her color was green, an appropriate choice -- not just because of the lime shade she and her Irish teammates wear on their fingernails during the NCAA tournament.

"Greens" are eminently disciplined, precise, logical and analytical. They aren't overly expressive or dramatic. "Low-key" is the most fitting description.

"That's Lindsay!" teammate Kathryn Westbeld said. "She's that calm, cool, collected person we all enjoy being around on and off the court."

According to Allen, she was the only "green" on the team.

"I'm the analytical one, the thinker," said Allen, the ACC tournament MVP earlier this month. "I don't ever get emotionally involved with anything. I try to see things rationally. I try to do what makes the most sense."

Coach Muffet McGraw has relied on Allen to run the Irish since the 5-foot-8 point guard was a freshman. Top-seeded Notre Dame will be without All-American Brianna Turner for the rest of the NCAA tournament, but Allen will make her 148th consecutive start when the Irish square off against fifth-seeded Ohio State on Friday in the Sweet 16 of the Lexington Regional (ESPN/WatchESPN, 7 p.m. ET).

"Even as a freshman, she had such poise, and she was surrounded by veterans who really helped her kind of ease her way into the college game," McGraw said. "She just didn't make any mistakes. She did what she was capable of doing.

"This year, she's such a leader for us. We're a little bit out of sync when she's not in the game, just because she directs us. She directs what we're doing defensively, what we're going to get in offensively. We try to keep it really simple when she's not in the game. She does everything for us. She is our MVP."

No player has started more games or passed for more assists at Notre Dame. Allen ranks fourth nationally with 7.6 assists per game, and earlier this month, she became the all-time assists leader in the ACC and at Notre Dame, the latter a record that had stood for 30 years. She has 825 career assists entering the Sweet 16.

Most of the time, the management consulting major is all business on the court. Even as a little girl, she was no fuss, rejecting the frilly frocks her mom picked out with colorful hair bows for "functional play clothes," Lindsay's father, Terrell Allen, recalled.

"Somewhere around third grade, I realized I hated buttons. I don't know why," Lindsay said. "They're a little too much. Anything extra -- I don't want it at all. I hated buttons, so I refused to wear them. I still avoid them at all cost."

That "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality stuck. The same Frosted Cheerios she ate as a child are breakfast today. (Confession: She admits to sometimes subbing in Reese's Puffs.) Her bedroom back home in Mitchellville, Maryland, is still decorated with a Winnie the Pooh theme. The youngster who didn't mind entertaining herself is now content to spend hours behind closed doors listening to Drake, chatting online or binging on "Grey's Anatomy." A Harry Potter buff, Allen loves to read new books -- she recently finished "Seabiscuit" and then dived into three new titles at once -- but she's more reserved with her palate.

Unlike many "greens," she'll try new foods -- just once. If she doesn't like something, it never passes her lips again. When the team nutritionist urged her to consider expanding her snacking options, Allen said no thanks. She'll stick to PB&J with fruit, her after-school meal of choice in high school. String cheese? "It's cheese on a stick," she dismissed. "I can't get into that."

"She was so mature. In on every play. Very unselfish. You graduate Skylar [Diggins], and you need somebody who can come right in and play. She did that." Irish coach Muffet McGraw on Lindsay Allen

Allen is especially fanatical about her routine on game days. On road trips, eggs and hash browns replace Cheerios.

"I never deviate," she said. "I add ketchup and hot sauce with salt and pepper."

On game days, she never naps. A momentary doze throws her off. At the arena, her meticulous nature goes into overdrive.

"I put my socks on left foot, right foot," she said. "I tie [my shoes] left then right. When we walk on court, I wipe my shoes a few times just to make sure they're feeling good. I never use a sticky pad. I was taught to use my hands when I was young, so I stick with that. I talk to Bri [Brianna Turner], and then we're off."

In Allen's four years at Notre Dame, the Irish went nearly unscathed in the ACC, compiling a 74-2 mark that includes four straight tournament titles. They've won 30 or more games each season, and they advanced to the national championship game when Allen was a freshman and sophomore. Last year, however, Stanford upset the top-seeded Irish in a regional semifinal.

Notre Dame is 32-3 this season, having won 16 consecutive games behind an offense it seems Allen could orchestrate in her sleep.

Not that McGraw's system is easy to grasp. With elements of the triangle and Princeton offenses, McGraw's schemes rely on precise passing and slick cuts, along with a generosity not even a doting grandmother could match. In beating Purdue in overtime in the second round, for example, the Irish assisted on 22 of their 34 field goals. Allen finished with eight and did not commit a turnover, despite playing all 45 minutes.

McGraw touts Allen's high basketball IQ as perhaps the biggest reason the McDonald's All-American was able to step out of high school and start for an Irish team that had just graduated Skylar Diggins, the program's most decorated point guard.

"Lindsay makes good decisions. That's the biggest thing I can say about her and noticed when we recruited her," McGraw said. "She was so mature. In on every play. Very unselfish. You graduate Skylar, and you need somebody who can come right in and play. She did that."

Nothing about Notre Dame, 600 miles from home, overwhelmed Allen. It was her dream school dating back to seventh grade. She has been helped, she said, by her relationship with McGraw, who said the two share almost a "mental telepathy."

"Maybe every other practice, there's a time when Coach wants to say something and then she forgets, and I say, 'Maybe you wanted to say this?' And she'll say, 'Oh, yeah. That's it!'" Allen said. "If we're about to go into a media [timeout], I'll say, 'We need to run this.' And she says, 'I see we're on the same page there.' For both of us, it's really cool to see we're thinking the game the same way."

The plan is for everyone to remain on that page for four more games. Before last year, Notre Dame had been to four straight national championship games. The Irish haven't won the title since 2001.

Allen admits it took a long time to recover from last year's early NCAA tournament exit.

"That was a slap in the face, a hard hit, back to reality," she said. "We've been on the other end of that for a whole year."

Whatever happens this weekend and beyond, she's hopeful of remaining in the game as long as possible.

"I plan to play as long as I can, God willing," she said. "After that, I'll figure it out, whether I go back to school and get my master's or just wherever life takes me."