Dec. 6, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — In the team’s first home game since Nov. 11, the No. 3/2 University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team powered past Michigan State, 90-59, on Wednesday night inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
“It was great to be home in front of our fans. The way we started the game, it looked like we were really happy to be home. That was as good of a start as we’ve had,” Karen and Kevin Keyes Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw said. “Overall, it was a good game.”
How It Happened
Notre Dame opened the game with an 11-0 run which extended into a 19-4 advantage midway through the first. The Irish, which featured five different scorers in the quarter, held Michigan State scoreless for two separate 2:40 spurts in the period. Notre Dame ultimately limited the Spartans to nine points (23-9), which tied Michigan State’s lowest first-quarter output of the season and marked the fewest points allowed in the period by the Irish this season.
Notre Dame’s defense shined in the second quarter, as the Spartans made just two field goals in the period and went without a field goal for 8:21. Furthermore, the Irish kept the Michigan State’s starters at bay, allowing just two points to the starting five in the first half and ultimately a total of 12 in the game.
By the midway point, Notre Dame had built on its lead with a 19-2 run and owned a 47-16 advantage, its largest halftime lead of the season.
Entering the fourth period with a 63-40 lead, the Irish continued their defensive clinic, holding Michigan State to just two field goals in the first eight minutes. Ogunbowale and Thompson combined to score 13 points in the fourth, helping Notre Dame secure a 90-59 victory over the Spartans.
“Lili played really well today,” McGraw said. “We were able to go inside, which was our game plan, to attack them inside with Jess, who had 19 points.”
Player of the Game
Jessica Shepard continued her dominance toward Michigan State, recording a season-high-tying 19 points. Shepard scored eight points in the first quarter en route to her fourth game with double figures against the Spartans in her career.
Shepard has tallied double-digit outputs in seven of the nine games in 2017. In four career games against Michigan State, Shepard averages 23 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Stat of the Game
With tonight’s victory, Notre Dame won its 21st straight over a Big Ten team, with its last loss coming in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2009 to Minnesota.
- Irish lead the all-time series, 10-8, over Michigan State, with a 5-4 mark at home.
- Notre Dame earned its 12th straight win at home.
- Lili Thompson collected her first career double-double with a season-high 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
- Arike Ogunbowale tallied 23 points with eight rebounds, turning in her sixth game of at least 20 points and ninth in double figures.
- Jackie Young‘s 13 points give her double-figure points in eight of nine games this season.
- Eight Irish players scored in the game, including four in double digits, and all 10 recorded minutes.
After a quick stop home, the Irish return to the road, travelling to Penn on Saturday for a 1 p.m. ET tip. The game will be broadcast by Ivy League Network.