Dec. 12, 2015
By Chris Masters
Inside The Game: #3 Notre Dame 88, TCU 72
Dec. 12, 2015 – Fort Worth, Texas (University Recreation Center)
It Was Over When: Freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale converted a tough layup on the baseline to give Notre Dame a 68-46 lead with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter. Ogunbowale’s basket capped a stretch that saw the Fighting Irish make 10 of 11 shots during a 4:34 span early in the second half and break the game wide open, as TCU wouldn’t get closer than 20 points until the closing stages of the fourth quarter.
Game Ball Goes To: Sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld registered her second career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds (plus a career high-tying four assists) in just 23 minutes of action. Westbeld’s work on the glass helped a shorthanded Notre Dame squad finish with a 37-33 rebounding edge.
Unsung Hero: Sometimes the play of a veteran can do wonders to keep a team focused and calm in a hostile environment, and senior guard/co-captain Michaela Mabrey played that role to perfection on Saturday, collecting 15 points and a career-high eight assists (all in the first half). Mabrey knocked down 4-of-7 three-point attempts (including all three in the opening 20 minutes) as Notre Dame jumped out to a 15-3 lead and never looked back en route to the victory.
Unofficial Play of the Game: Playing for the final shot of the first half, Notre Dame executed brilliantly in the halfcourt set. As clock wound under 10 seconds, junior guard/co-captain Lindsay Allen dribbled to her right before passing to freshman guard Marina Mabrey on the right wing. Mabrey took a dribble and paused to draw a defender before whipping a pass to her older sister, Michaela, who was open in the deep right corner. Michaela Mabrey immediately hoisted a three-pointer that snapped the twine with two seconds left in the period and the Fighting Irish would go to the locker room with a 49-32 halftime lead.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame earned its first win in the state of Texas since March 15, 1998, when the Fighting Irish defeated No. 6/5 Texas Tech, 74-59 in the second round of the NCAA Championship (Midwest Region) at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. As was the case on Saturday at TCU, Notre Dame was led in scoring by a freshman on that March 1998 afternoon in Lubbock – an up-and-coming center by the name of Ruth Riley, who scored a game-high 23 points.
Additional Notes: Notre Dame was playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for only the second time in program history, and first since a 64-63 loss at SMU on Jan. 15, 1984 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish have won both series meetings against TCU, having first defeated the Horned Frogs almost exactly 25 years earlier on Dec. 13, 1990 (78-67 at Purcell Pavilion) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame evens its all-time record against Texas schools at 11-11, having won its last four games against teams from the Lone Star State ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ when factoring in postseason tournaments (NCAA and the old NWIT), the Fighting Irish now are 11-14 (.440) when playing in the state of Texas (their last game “deep in the heart” before Saturday’s visit to TCU came on Nov. 20, 2011 ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” a 94-81 loss at top-ranked Baylor in the Preseason WNIT championship game) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame has won its last seven games against current Big 12 Conference teams and is 34-12 (.739) all-time against current Big 12 members, including a 20-10 (.667) record away from home (road/neutral sites combined) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ the Fighting Irish have won 48 of their last 50 road games since that November 2011 loss at Baylor ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Ogunbowale scored a career-high 21 points (previous was 16 on two occasions, including this past Wednesday against No. 18/17 DePaul) and she is the fifth different Notre Dame player to score 20 points in a game this season, as well as the second in the past three games to do so coming off the bench (Marina Mabrey had 23 points at No. 1 Connecticut on Dec. 5) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Westbeld’s double-double was her first since Nov. 25, 2014, when she collected 10 points and a (then) career-high 12 rebounds in a 112-52 win over Quinnipiac at Purcell Pavilion ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ Notre Dame continues to show balanced scoring, with five double-figure scorers for the fourth time in five games (and the fifth time overall) this season.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame enters a season-long nine-day break for final exams before returning to the hardwood for its last game before the Christmas holiday at 7 p.m. (ET) Dec. 21 when the Fighting Irish travel to Philadelphia to take on head coach Muffet McGraw’s alma mater, Saint Joseph’s (Pa.) at Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena. The game will not 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).