Jan. 10, 2016

Recap | Box Score | Quotes | USATSI Photo Gallery

By Chris Masters

Inside The Game: #3 Notre Dame 88, North Carolina 54
Jan. 10, 2016 – Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

It Was Over When: Junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen canned a mid-range jumper with 7:26 left in the second quarter, giving Notre Dame a 34-17 lead and forcing North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell to burn her second timeout of the first half. Allen’s basket was part of a 13-0 Fighting Irish run that broke the game open, as Notre Dame never led by fewer than 14 points the rest of the way, stretching the margin over 30 points for much of the fourth quarter.

Game Ball Goes To: Freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale, who provided a healthy spark off the bench with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The Milwaukee native scored 10 of her points in the first half and helped lead a Notre Dame second platoon that outscored the North Carolina bench, 42-10, for the game. Ogunbowale then capped her performance with a fadeaway jumper from the right baseline with 56 seconds remaining to push Notre Dame to the magical 88-point mark, resulting in McDonald’s Big Macs for the 8,942 fans in attendance.

Unsung Hero: Junior forward Kristina Nelson was another of the Fighting Irish reserves who turned in a strong performance, collecting eight points while tying her career highs with five rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes of action. Three of Nelson’s five rebounds came in a 25-second span less than one minute after she entered the game in the second quarter and helped Notre Dame turn the tide in the rebounding column, finishing with a 46-31 edge over the Tar Heels on the glass.

Unofficial Play of the Game: On Notre Dame’s first possession of the second quarter, the Fighting Irish tried to lob a pass into sophomore forward Brianna Turner. The ball was slightly high and Turner had to jump to save the ball from going over the baseline. Turner whipped the ball back inbounds on the left wing to Allen, who jumped and deftly flipped a touch pass to freshman guard Marina Mabrey. The rookie didn’t hesitate and drained the top-side three-pointer to give Notre Dame a 26-17 lead, sparking the hosts’ game-turning 13-0 run.

Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame has held five of its last six opponents to 61 points or fewer, including the past three to 55 points or fewer. This six-game run just happens to coincide with Turner’s return to action following a six-game hiatus due to a right shoulder injury.

Additional Notes: Notre Dame extends its winning streak to a season-long eight games ââ’¬¦ the Fighting Irish are 42-1 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents (35-1 regular season, 7-0 postseason) since joining the league prior to the 2013-14 season ââ’¬¦ dating back to its BIG EAST Conference membership and the end of the 2010-11 season, Notre Dame has won 79 of its last 83 games against conference opponents, including 28 in a row at home ââ’¬¦ Notre Dame is off to a 15-1 start for the fourth time in five years and the sixth time in program history (also 2000-01, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14) ââ’¬¦ the Fighting Irish improve to 5-1 all-time against North Carolina, including a 2-0 record at home, and have won the past three series games against the Tar Heels ââ’¬¦ Sunday’s margin of victory was the largest by either side in the series, topping a 100-75 Notre Dame win over UNC on Feb. 27, 2014, at Purcell Pavilion ââ’¬¦ North Carolina’s 54 points were the fewest it has scored in the six-game series against the Fighting Irish, one less than in a 78-55 Notre Dame win on Dec. 3, 2000, at the Honda Elite 4 Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida ââ’¬¦ the Fighting Irish are 28-2 (.933) all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina (10-0 at home) and have won their last 18 games against North Carolina schools ââ’¬¦ Notre Dame had four players score in double figures for the 10th time this season, moving to 9-1 in those contests this year, as well as 127-6 (.955) since the start of the 2009-10 season and wins in 97 of their 99 such outings ââ’¬¦ the Fighting Irish bench outscored its opposite number for the 15th time in 16 games this year (all but Dec. 30 vs. Georgia Tech) and tallied at least 30 points for the 10th time this season ââ’¬¦ with Ogunbowale’s game-high 16 points, this marked the fourth time this season a Notre Dame reserve ended up earning game-high scoring honors – Marina Mabrey pulled off that feat three times in wins at Valparaiso (18 points on Nov. 23), against Denver at the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas (19 points on Nov. 27) and at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.) (18 points on Dec. 21) ââ’¬¦ Notre Dame shot better than 50 percent from the field for the eighth time this year, while holding its opponent to 30-percent shooting or lower for the third time (and second consecutive game) ââ’¬¦ Turner tied her career high with three steals and tied her season highs with nine rebounds and five blocks ââ’¬¦ Nelson matched her career bests with five rebounds and two assists.

Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame heads back out on the road Thursday for a 7 p.m. (ET) matchup against Boston College at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Thursday’s game, the first of two this season between the Fighting Irish and Eagles, is not scheduled to be televised, although 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).