Nov. 3, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — It may have been an exhibition game officially, but the No. 1/2 Notre Dame women’s basketball team brought regular-season intensity to the Purcell Pavilion floor on Thursday night, coming away with a 129-50 win over Roberts Wesleyan before 7,675 Irish fans.
Although just an exhibition and against a lower-division foe, the 129 points would have broken the school’s regular season game high-water mark of 128 points set on Dec. 30, 2011, at Mercer and matched on Dec. 31, 2012, at home against St. Francis (Pa.).
Most of the major statistical categories were as lopsided as the 79-point margin of victory would imply. The Irish shot 61.5% from the floor (56-of-91) while holding the Redhawks to a 25.0% clip (16-of-64). Notre Dame produced 38 assists (including 10 from Lindsay Allen) against just four turnovers. The Irish had 19 steals (led by four each from Kathryn Westbeld and Marina Mabrey) while having the ball stolen from them just once on the night.
Player of the Day
Picking a player of the game is a treacherous proposition when six players hit double figures in scoring with three reaching the 20-point plateau in Mabrey (28), Kristina Nelson (24) and Erin Boley (22). Allen had 10 assists against just a single turnover, plus three steals and five rebounds.
But, while just an exhibition game, few could match the exhibition put on by freshman Jackie Young in her first appearance for the Irish. Young recorded a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. She had five assists with no turnovers, blocked a shot and recorded three steals showing off a defensive prowess which could surprise many accustomed to being blinded by the reigning Indiana Miss Basketball’s gaudy high school scoring totals.
Play of the Day
If the top-ranked Irish is to be as successful as pundits have prognosticated in 2016-17, it will be due to the team’s depth of both talent and experience fusing together succinctly. Notre Dame’s blend of experience and youth in particular was put tellingly on display late in the first quarter.
With 3:21 left in the stanza, Young stole the ball at the top of the key. She then deftly flipped it to Allen who pushed the ball down-court for a fast break before dishing it off to Boley for an easy layup basket. It gave the Irish a 22-7 lead and forced the Redhawks to call timeout while Notre Dame enjoyed a 9-0 run.
In Our Prayers
The Notre Dame ushers are a tight-knit group and an integral portion of the repeatedly-praised friendly Notre Dame gameday experience. Prior to the game, the women’s basketball team and Breyan Tornifolio led a prayer for a healthy recovery for John Jurek who was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver on Monday.
Prior to the game, Notre Dame’s players warmed up in long-sleeved T-Shirts commemorating McGraw’s 30th season at Notre Dame. The shirts will be available for sale at Hammes Notre Dame Bookstores starting on Friday.
Up Next: Opening Night
The Irish will open the 2016-17 regular season on Friday night, Nov. 11, when they play host to Central Michigan in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT. Tickets remain available for the contest which tips off at 7 p.m.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.