Feb. 6, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
As No. 7/8 Notre Dame women’s basketball’s marketing team celebrated Superhero Night, the 8,325 lime green clad fans and atmosphere they created helped to prove akin to kryptonite for No. 12/7 Louisville as a 31-point second quarter propelled the Irish to an 85-66 win over the Cardinals on Thursday night at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
The Cardinals were powerless to take the ball from the Irish as Notre Dame tied a school record by committing just three turnovers in the game. The Irish also handed the ball over just three times at Maryland on Nov. 16, 2007. Tonight, the Irish did not commit a single turnover until there was 1:24 left in the third quarter. Prior to tonight, Notre Dame’s season low for turnovers was 10
Offensively, Arike Ogunbowale scored 22 points to lead five Notre Dame players in double figures. Freshman Jackie Young scored 16 points in the second-best offensive showing of her promising but young Irish career while adding seven rebounds. Lindsay Allen scored 15 points, Kathryn Westbeld 14 and Brianna Turner tallied 11 while finishing just one rebound shy of a double-double.
Asia Durr scored almost half of Louisville’s points, tallying 31, the most scored against the Irish in over two years.
Notre Dame’s 85 points were the most yielded by the Cardinals this season and came on the strength of a 50-point first half which saw Notre Dame take a 22-point edge into the locker room at 50-28. With the win, the Irish (22-3, 10-1 ACC) stay tied for first place in the league with No. 5 Florida State with both clubs two games ahead of their nearest conference competitors. Louisville, which got just one minute of action from injured ACC Preseason Player of the Year Myisha Hines-Allen, dips to 20-6 overall and 7-4 in the league.
Play of the Day
Notre Dame’s 23-4 run between the end of the first quarter and start of the second quarter broke the game irrevocably open. Notre Dame’s ball-handling skills were on full display a minute into the second frame with a dazzling array that ended in three points and a 24-16 lead.
Jackie Young held the ball at the top of the key and swung it a quarter of the way around the 3-point arc to Erin Boley. Boley gave the ball to Brianna Turner in the paint. Tightly covered, Turner one-touch bounce-passed the ball to a wide open Lindsay Allen on the baseline. Allen, with no angle to shoot and the defense collapsing upon her, immediately spotted Arike Ogunbowale wide open by 10 feet back across the court behind the arc. Ogunbowale drained the uncontested triple as all five Irish players touched the ball within five seconds for the bucket.
As the run continued, a runner-up candidate for Play of the Day emerged as Ogunbowale found Turner for an alley-oop that put the Irish up 28-16 and finally forced a Louisville timeout to stop the bleeding.
Bench Scoring Pivotal
The Irish only saw seven players go more than two minutes on Monday night but those who did not start made a significant impact on the game.
Jackie Young played 25 minutes and scored 16 points, trailing only her 20 in the Dec. 4 rout of Valparaiso for her best offensive day. Her seven rebounds were one off of her career high while Young connected on 6-of-8 from the floor and all four of her foul shots.
Kathryn Westbeld, who continues to battle her sore ankle, gutted her way through 29 minutes of action, scoring 14 points. Despite not starting either contest, Westbeld has now enjoyed her best two-game span of the year when her 14 is combined with her season-high 15 points on Thursday night at Virginia Tech. Tonight, Westbeld missed just one shot out of her eight while also collecting three rebounds with four assists and a pair of steals.
Allen Continues To Climb Assist Charts
Lindsay Allen had eight assists tonight, basically matching her ACC-leading average of 7.7 per game that ranked third nationally coming into tonight. The eight give her 752 on her Irish career and vault her past a couple of the game’s greats.
On the Notre Dame career charts, Allen surpassed Skylar Diggins tonight to move into second place. Diggins racked up 745 assists from 2009-13. The only hurdle left for Allen is the 30-year old record of 778, held by Mary Gavin since 1988.
On the ACC career chart, Allen surpassed Maryland’s Kristi Toliver’s 751 from 2005-09 for second place as well. The final rung on the ladder for Allen in the conference is Virginia’s Sharnee Zoll’s 785 assists collected from 2004-08.
Now with 193 assists on the season, Allen is seven shy of becoming the second Notre Dame player to post three 200-assist seasons in her career, joining her 205 from 2014-15 and 204 from 2015-16. Gavin posted a trio of 200-assist seasons while Skylar Diggins also had two double centuries. With five regular season games, plus the ACC and NCAA tournaments to go, Allen would need 54 assists to tie Niele Ivey’s single-season school record of 247.
Notre Dame will have Thursday off and return to action at 1 p.m. on Sunday by playing host to Georgia Tech. The game is Notre Dame’s annual Pink Zone Day, raising awareness of and funding for breast cancer. For more information on Pink Zone events all weekend long, go to UND.com/pinkzone.
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.