Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

No. 2 Irish Look to Head into Holidays on High Note

Dec. 19, 2017

Game 12: #2/2 Notre Dame (10-1) vs (RV/-) Marquette (6-4)
When: Wednesday, Dec. 20 | 3:00 pm ET
Where: Notre Dame, Ind. | Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
Watch: ACCN Extra
Listen: PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)
Live Scoring:
Notes: Notre Dame | Marquette
Social: @NDWBB
Promotions: Faculty/Staff Appreciation

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the first time this season, the No. 2/2 Notre Dame women’s basketball team (10-1) will play a second straight game at home, as the Irish welcome (RV/-) Marquette (6-4) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, for a 3 p.m. ET matinee showdown inside Purcell Pavilion.

Wednesday’s contest will be streamed on ACCN Extra, and as always, be broadcasted over the airwaves on Pulse FM 96.9/92.1.

Forward Jessica Shepard produced a historic outing vs. DePaul on Dec. 17, securing her fourth double-double on the year with 11 rebounds and a career high 39 points, lifting the Irish to a 91-82 victory over the visiting Blue Demons. The junior’s stellar performance broke the Purcell Pavilion women’s scoring record, originally set by Ruth Riley, who garnered 36 points on two separate occasions back in 1999 and 2000.

Overall, Shepard’s 39 points stood as the fourth most in program history, trailing only Jewell Loyd‘s 41 points at DePaul on 12/10/14, Ruth Riley’s 41 at Providence on 1/30/99 and Katryna Gaither’s 40 vs Ohio on 11/29/97.

Shepard, who entered the DePaul game with a season high 19 points and career high 35, shot out of the gates with 12 points in the first quarter, which marked a new season best for the opening period. Shepard had 26 points at the half on an already career high tying 13 made field goals. The Nebraska native ultimately finished an efficient 17-of-22 from the field as her 17 made field goals tied for second most in program history.

Shepard’s 39 points currently stands as the best individual scoring performance during regulation (40 min) among all ACC players. Furthermore, Notre Dame is the only ACC school to boast two individual 30+ point performances when factoring in Arike Ogunbowale‘s 32 points at Michigan on Nov. 29.

Lastly, due to her impressive effort, Shepard received her first ACC Player of the Week honor.

Marina Mabrey has reached double-digit points in back-to-back games, starting with 15 points at Penn on Dec. 9, followed by a 13-point effort vs DePaul. Mabrey posted a complete game vs the Blue Demons, tying or setting new season highs in rebounds (8), free-throws made (8) and attempted (8), assists (6) and blocks (2), marking her first 5-5-5 game of the season.

Furthermore, the junior has been aggressive on the glass, setting a career high eight rebounds at Penn before tying that exact mark against DePaul. Thus, Mabrey is averaging 14.0 points and 8.0 rebounds over the last two games.

Next, Katherine Westbeld is certainly in the ‘heating up’ category, coming off of a season high 10 points vs DePaul on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. It marked the second straight game in which Westbeld tallied four made field goals, going 8-for-11 in that span for 18 total points. When looking over the last three games, Westbeld is 10-for-13 for 24 points, and when looking at the five straight games she has started, the senior has averaged 6.4 points on an impressive 76.5 percent shooting (13-of-17).

Jessica Shepard has acted as the spark that ignites Notre Dame’s offense at the start of games this season. The junior is coming off of a 12-point first quarter performance vs DePaul on Dec. 17, which marked a season best. In fact, Shepard leads all Irish players by averaging 5.7 points in the first quarter this season.

However, if Shepard is the starter, then Arike Ogunbowale is undoubtedly the closer, averaging 6.1 points in the fourth quarter, with two double-digit scoring efforts in the final period.

Ogunbowale scored 9 of her 21 points in the fourth vs DePaul on Dec. 17, helping the Irish to a 91-82 win. Before that, she scored the first nine points in the fourth quarter at Penn on Dec. 9, ultimately recording 13 of her 20 points in the period to seal the 66-54 victory inside The Palestra. Lastly, Arike scored 9 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter to ice the victory against USF on Nov. 25.

Mabrey has quietly been dominant at the free-throw line, making all 21 of her last attempts, which dates back to the second quarter of ETSU on Nov. 24. As a result, she has risen her free-throw percentage to .893, which leads the ACC.

Marquette enters the contest with a 6-4 overall record, received votes in the AP poll and boasts a two-game win streak after dispatching Army, 83-53, and Milwaukee, 83-68. In comparison to a similar opponent as Notre Dame, the Golden Eagles fell, 82-76, at Michigan on Dec. 7. Looking further back, Marquette took Tennessee to its limit before falling, 101-99, in overtime on Nov. 23.

All five Marquette starters are averaging double-digits, led by Allazia Blockton’s 18.2 points per game. Both Blockton and Erika Davenport are averaging over 6.0 rebounds per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field. Blockton is also Marquette’s biggest threat from three-point range, where she connects on 44.4 percent of her shots, and from the free-throw line (.909). Rounding out the starters in double-figures are Natisha Hiedeman (15.3 ppg), Danielle King (11.6), Davenport (11.5 ppg) and Amani Wilborn (10.9 ppg).

Team-wise, the Golden Eagles are averaging 83.3 points per game, converting 46.4 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. Marquette boasts a +1.2 rebound margin and a +6.2 turnover margin.