March 5, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
CONWAY, S.C. – Four years in the ACC and the No. 3 Notre Dame women’s basketball team now has a fourth tournament championship to accompany its four outright regular season championships. The Irish went on a 20-2 run in the third quarter to run away from No. 13/11 Duke, 84-61, in the ACC Tournament title game on Sunday afternoon at Coastal Carolina’s HTC Center.
Lindsay Allen set a career high and tied the ACC Tournament record with 13 assists, while also chipping in 11 points for her second-straight double-double and, with it, Tournament MVP honors. Arike Ogunbowale led all scorers with 21 points while Brianna Turner chipped in 18 and freshman Erin Boley scored 14 off of the bench in one of the best efforts of her promising Irish career.
Allen racked up 33 assists in the three-game event, breaking a 37-year old tournament record of 30 by Maryland’s Debbie Lytle, set in 1980.
MVP, All-Tourney Team
Lindsay Allen earned Tournament Most Valuable Player honors and a spot on the all-tournament first team. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale. Brianna Turner claimed a spot on the all-tournament second team.
Fast First Minute
Notre Dame charged out of the gate in the game’s opening minute and put Duke on its heels early, leading to a Blue Devil timeout just 1:14 into the game and already staring down a 7-0 deficit.
For the 28th time in 33 games this year, Brianna Turner controlled the opening tip. It went right to Arike Ogunbowale who read Kathryn Westbeld’s rush to the basket which the junior completed with a layup just four seconds into the game. Notre Dame’s second possession saw Lindsay Allen kick one out to Marina Mabrey for an open triple and a 5-0 Irish edge.
Back on defense, Allen intercepted a Blue Devil pass in the corner and heaved it the length of the court for a fast-breaking Westbeld. The junior calmly laid it in for a 7-0 lead at the 8:46 mark and forcing the Duke timeout.
It added up to a 27-18 Irish lead after 10 minutes of play – the most points surrendered by Duke in the first quarter all season. The Irish have led after the first quarter in 28 of their 33 games this year.
Allen Reaches Above Sky and Climbs Ivey
Lindsay Allen made her 145th career start on Sunday, surpassing Skylar Diggins’ previous school record for the most games started of 144. Allen’s 145 consecutive games started has long since established a school record, passing the 97-game run of Jacqueline Batteast.
Allen’s 13 assists give her 252 on the season, breaking the school’s single-season record of 247, set by her position coach, Niele Ivey, during the 2001 run to the national championship. The 252 is second in ACC history behind only Kristi Toliver of Maryland’s 275 in 2007-08.
Allen tied a school record by posting double digit assists in three straight games after having 10 against both Virginia in the quarterfinals and No. 14 Louisville in the semifinals. She had done this earlier this year from Jan. 22-29 but, previously, it had not happened since Mary Gavin accomplished the feat in 1988.
Notre Dame has this week off and then heads to the NCAA Championship. The Irish are in contention for one of the four No. 1 seeds and are likely to play host to the event’s first and second rounds at Purcell Pavilion. The bracket will be announced live on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 13.
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.