March 26, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Drama built during the Lexington Regional final between top-seeded Notre Dame and second-seeded Stanford. The score was tied six times in the fourth quarter – a stanza which would see neither team lead by more than three points and included 13 lead changes. Unfortunately for the Irish (33-4), the final lead change put the Cardinal (32-5) on top for a 76-75 victory at Rupp Arena.
The Irish built up a 14-point lead at halftime behind a near-flawless effort from Arike Ogunbowale who tallied 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting before intermission, capped by a flashy 3-pointer just before halftime. Stanford outscored the Irish 24-12 in the third quarter, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to two at 57-55, and setting the stage for a frantic final 10 minutes.
Ogunbowale finished the game with 25 points, earing regional Most Outstanding Player honors, when paired with her 32-point effort in Friday night’s Sweet 16 win over Ohio State. The 149th and final game of Lindsay Allen’s Irish career saw her record her second straight double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, along with six assists. Marina Mabrey scored 20 points against the Cardinal to earn a spot on the all-regional team alongside Allen and Ogunbowale.
Successful Season Closes
Although it did not end as hoped at the Final Four in Dallas, Notre Dame accomplished several noteworthy feats in 2016-17.
The Irish advanced to the Elite Eight for the sixth time in the past seven years and its eighth consecutive Sweet 16 – the fourth-longest such streak nationally.
Notre Dame won the ACC regular season’s championship outright and also claimed the ACC Tournament title. It is the fourth year in a row the Irish have accomplished this double-headed feat, something only previously done in the ACC by Duke from 2001-04. Including the final days of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame is the only school nationally to win an outright regular season conference title and a conference tournament title each of the past five years.
The Irish won at least 30 games for the seventh year in a row and the ninth in school history. Only UConn has a longer active streak nationally. At 139 victories, this year’s seniors are the third-winningest class in school history.
Along the way to 33 wins, Notre Dame defeated 10 teams which were ranked in the Associated Press’ top 25 at game time with six of the 10 wins coming away from the comforts of Purcell Pavilion.
All Of Allen
With the conclusion of Lindsay Allen’s Irish career, so too are a multitude of records which will remain in her possession for the foreseeable future. Among her final numbers:
Allen had 841 career assists. That number is a school and ACC record while standing 22nd in NCAA history.
Allen had 282 assists this season, a school and ACC record.
Allen had 115 assists in NCAA Championship play alone, leaving her fourth in tournament history, wedged in good company between third-place Skylar Diggins and fifth-place Diana Taurasi and Moriah Jefferson of UConn.
Allen scored 1,319 career points, tying Devereaux Peters for 21st in Irish lore.
Allen had 229 career steals, ranking her seventh in school history.
Allen started all of the 149 games Notre Dame played during her career. The streak of 149 consecutive starts is believed to be an NCAA record. Both her 149 career and total starts are Notre Dame records. She played 4,554 minutes for the Irish, second only to Skylar Diggins’ 4,639. Notre Dame went 139-10 (.933) with Allen in the starting lineup.
“These four years here have been something beyond my imagination,” Allen said after the game. “I could never imagine coming here to Notre Dame and playing for coach McGraw. I just wanted this so bad for my teammates. It’s so sad to end at this moment.
“These four years have been the best years of my life. I’ve had some of the greatest teammates ever. It’s just been a really great experience to play here at this elite level and play for coach McGraw.”
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.