Feb. 18, 2016
By Chris Masters
Inside The Game: #2/3 Notre Dame 86, Wake Forest 52
Feb. 18, 2016 – Winston-Salem, N.C. (Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum)
It Was Over When: Freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale knocked down three consecutive jumpers in a span of 1:41 midway through the second quarter, highlighting a 10-0 Notre Dame run that put the Fighting Irish ahead 34-16. Wake Forest would not get any closer than 16 points the rest of the evening.
Game Ball Goes To: Sophomore forward Brianna Turner, who posted her second double-double of the season with game highs of 19 points (including a 7-of-7 night at the free-throw line), 11 rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes. Turner scored 12 points in the first quarter alone, matching Wake Forest’s team output in the opening 10 minutes.
Unsung Hero: Junior forward Kristina Nelson tied her career high with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed four rebounds (one off her personal best) in 13 minutes.
Unofficial Play of the Game: Early in the third quarter, junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen came up with a steal and fired a lead pass for fellow captain and senior guard Michaela Mabrey racing down the right side of the lane. The pass was slightly long, but Mabrey adjusted to track down the pass and as she was drifting towards the baseline, she calmly flipped a blind backhanded pass to Turner streaking down the lane, and the second-year post converted the layup as she was fouled by Wake Forest’s Ariel Stephenson. Turner completed the old-fashioned three-point play after a Demon Deacons’ timeout and Notre Dame had a 49-24 lead with 6:41 left in the third quarter.
Stat Of The Game: With Thursday’s win, Notre Dame clinched a top-four seed and a double-bye for the upcoming ACC Tournament. It also assured the Fighting Irish of finishing in the top four of the conference standings for the 26th time in head coach Muffet McGraw’s 29 seasons at Notre Dame.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame has secured its seventh consecutive 25-win season and 13th in program history (all within the past 20 seasons, beginning with the 1996-97 campaign) … the Fighting Irish are off to a 25-1 start for the third time in four years and fourth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2012-13 and 2013-14) … Notre Dame has won 91 of its last 95 games against conference opponents, including a 51-1 record since joining the ACC in 2013-14 (44-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason), and the Fighting Irish have won 26 consecutive regular season conference games … Notre Dame has won 56 of its last 58 regular season road games … the Fighting Irish are 4-0 all-time against Wake Forest and have won those four meetings by an average of 27.8 points per game … Notre Dame is 32-2 (.941) all-time against North Carolina schools, including an active 21-game winning streak … the Fighting Irish are 19-1 (.950) all-time when playing in the state of North Carolina, going 11-1 in true road games and 8-0 at neutral sites … since 1995-96, Notre Dame is 126-28 (.818) when playing in the month of February, including an active 31-game winning streak in February games … the Fighting Irish also are 174-43 (.802) in the month of February during the 29-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw and have never posted a losing record in February in the McGraw era (a streak that will continue thanks to Thursday’s win at Wake Forest) … Notre Dame is 16-1 this season when it has at least four players score in double figures and has won 104 of its last 106 such games … the Fighting Irish bench scored at least 40 points for the seventh time this year and outscored the opponent’s bench for the 24th time in 26 tries this season … Notre Dame had three reserves score in double figures for the second time this year (also on Nov. 23 at Valparaiso) … the Fighting Irish shot .565 from the floor, their best field-goal percentage since Dec. 21, when they connected at a .590 clip in a win at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.) … Turner’s 7-of-7 free-throw percentage matched the best foul shooting performance by a Notre Dame player this year (graduate student guard Madison Cable also went 7-of-7 at the charity stripe on Feb. 4 in a win over North Carolina State at Purcell Pavilion) … Allen had eight assists in a game for the sixth time this season … Ogunbowale has nine 15-point games this year, including five of her last seven outings … Nelson’s 10 points tied her career high first set at Valparaiso on Nov. 23 … senior guard Hannah Huffman tied her season high with three steals, matching her total from Notre Dame’s win at Pittsburgh on Jan. 3.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame plays its final regular-season road game at 7 p.m. (ET) Monday when it travels to Tallahassee, Florida, to take on No. 10/9 Florida State at the Tucker Center. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and WatchESPN as part of its “Big Monday” package, while radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and free of charge around the world through the official Notre Dame athletics online multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
— ND —
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).