March 24, 2018
SPOKANE, Wash. — For the ninth time in program history, the No. 1-seeded University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team has reached the Elite Eight. The Irish (32-3) used yet another strong second half performance to surge past No. 4 Texas A&M, 90-84.
Arike Ogunbowale (27 points) and Marina Mabrey (25 points) combined for 52 points on the afternoon. Ogunbowale scored 17 of her 27 points in the second half, while Mabrey connected on a career-high seven three-pointers (7-for-11).
“I’m so proud of this team and what we accomplished, especially Kathryn Westbeld,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I thought the jumper she hit from the free-throw line was the difference in the game. That was the game winner.
“I really thought Marina shot the ball extremely well. Jackie took over the game for a stretch late in the fourth quarter. Just phenomenal play by our guards.”
How It Happened
At 6:37 in the second quarter, the Irish found themselves down 37-24, their largest deficit of the game. At that very moment, the Irish lived up to their fighting moniker and produced a 9-0 run, getting contributions from Mabrey, Patterson, Young and Ogunbowale. Notre Dame would go on to hit nine of its last 10 shots from the field heading into the half, cutting the deficit to 47-45.
Mabrey was a major reason for the Irish comeback, converting five of her three’s in the first half to total 17 points by the midway point.
Next, the duo of Mabrey and Ogunbowale combined for 16 of the team’s 23 points in the third quarter, pushing ahead of the Aggies to take a 68-63 lead heading into the final period.
Ogunbowale, who leads the Irish in fourth quarter scoring on the year, continued the trend today with nine points over the final 10 minutes, including seven points which came in the first four minutes of the fourth.
A Young layup with 5:09 remaining handed Notre Dame its largest lead of the game at 79-70, but Texas A&M wouldn’t go away, hitting three consecutive three-pointers over a 90-second stretch, ultimately cutting the lead to 85-82.
With the game on the line, “the glue” Kat Westbeld answered with a clutch jumper from the free-throw line with 1:15 remaining, starting what was a 5-0 Irish run that punched Notre Dame’s ticket to the Elite Eight with the 90-84 final.
Player of the Game
Marina Mabrey finished 7-of-11 from three to tally 25 points, all of which came in the first three quarters. Mabrey’s seven treys were the most by an Irish player in an NCAA Tournament game and the most overall since Alicia Ratay converted seven back in February of 2003.
Stat of the Game
The Irish have now totaled 287 points through three NCAA Tournament games, the most of any team to reach the Elite Eight. Thus, Notre Dame is averaging 95.7 points per game.
- Saturday marked the fourth-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Texas A&M. The Irish have now leveled the series at 2-2.
- The Irish move to 59-23 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
- Irish are now 9-7 in the Sweet 16 round.
- Today’s victory gives Coach McGraw win No. 797 at Notre Dame and No. 885 overall.
- The Irish have advanced to their ninth-ever Elite Eight.
- Only Notre Dame and UConn have reached the Elite Eight seven times in the last eight years.
- Notre Dame has scored more points than any team to have reached the Elite Eight, totaling 287 points through three games (95.7 ppg).
- Mabrey’s seven three-pointers marked a career high and were the most by an Irish player in an NCAA Tournament game and the most overall since Alicia Ratay hit seven against Providence on Feb. 16, 2003.
- Mabrey became the first Irish player to hit five threes in a half since her sister, Michaela, did so at Boston College on Feb. 8, 2015.
- Ogunbowale, who leads the team in fourth quarter scoring at 6.0 ppg, tallied nine points in the fourth quarter tonight.
- Ogunbowale continued the best stretch of her career tonight with a team-high 27 points, including 17 points in the second half. Ogunbowale has now recorded five straight games with 20-plus points and 24 games overall with 20-plus.
- Shepard secured her fifth straight double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She becomes the first Irish player to earn five straight since Jacqueline Batteast did so from Dec. 12, 2001-Jan. 2, 2002.
- Shepard now boasts 14 double-doubles on the year, which ties Katryna Gaither for the fourth-most in a single season.
- Notre Dame’s 26 assists tied for the third most in an NCAA Tournament game in school history.
- Notre Dame’s 37 made field goals were the third-most in school history in an NCAA game.
- Notre Dame hit a season high 10 made three-pointers, which tied for the second most in an NCAA game.
The Irish will vie for the Spokane Regional crown on Monday, March 26, against the No. 2 seeded-Oregon Ducks, who knocked off No. 11 Central Michigan, 83-69. Monday’s Spokane Regional Final will tip off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.