Dec. 8, 2017
|Game 10: #3/2 Notre Dame (8-1) at Penn (2-3)|
|When:||Saturday, Dec. 9 | 1:00 pm ET|
|Where:||Philadelphia | The Palestra (8,722)|
|Watch:||Ivy League Network|
|Listen:||PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)|
|Notes:||Notre Dame | Penn|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 3/2 Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (8-1) returns to the road this weekend, when the Irish make the trip to Philadelphia to challenge Penn (2-3) on Saturday, Dec. 9, inside the historic venue, The Palestra. Tip-off will get underway at 1 p.m. ET and stream live on the Ivy League Network.
No Irish player is hotter than Arike Ogunbowale over the last five games. In that span, the junior is averaging 23.6 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting, including a 37.0 percent mark from three-point range. Since the USF game on Nov. 25, Arike has risen her scoring average from 17.3 to 20.8.
Ogunbowale exploded with a career-high tying 32 points at Michigan on Nov. 29, and is now just 1-of-5 ACC players this season to notch a 30+ point performance.
Then, after scoring 23 points vs Michigan State on Dec. 6, Ogunbowale became the only ACC player with 6 games of 20+ points.
Ogunbowale is the only Irish player to score in double-figures each game, as the junior’s 20.8 ppg ranks second in the ACC and 26th in the nation.
NOTRE DAME’S RESPONSE
After the 80-71 loss at No. 1 UConn, the Irish responded with a dominant 90-59 performance over Michigan State on Dec. 6, displaying its defensive prowess as well. Notre Dame started the game on a 19-4 run and held the Spartans to their lowest first quarter output with nine points. The Irish defense performed even better in the second quarter, holding MSU to without a field goal for the final 8:21 of the half, as the Spartans only mustered seven points in the period. Furthermore, Notre Dame’s 31-point lead at the half (47-16) marked its biggest advantage at the midway point this season.
More impressive was the fact that Notre Dame kept Michigan State’s starters in check, as the Spartan starting five recorded only two points combined at the half and 12 points by the final whistle.
Notre Dame’s Dec. 9 contest at Penn will mark a homecoming of sorts for Philadelphia area natives Coach McGraw and freshman Mikayla Vaughn.
Coach McGraw, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1977, and is commemorated in the concourse of the Palestra as a 1990 inductee of the Big Five Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Vaughn guided Friends’ Central to back-to-back league championships and was the Southeastern Pennsylvania scoring leader as a sophomore and junior. In addition, Vaughn has a strong connection with Saturday’s opponent as her father, Martin, was quarterback and captain of the football team at Penn back in 1974.
Penn enters the contest with a 2-3 record and is coming off of a 66-59 loss at La Salle on Nov. 29. Notre Dame marks Penn’s second ACC opponent already this season, previously falling 69-55 to Georgia Tech.
The Quakers are led by 6’3″ senior forward Michelle Nwokedi, who was the 2017 Ivy League Player of the Year. This season, Nwokedi is averaging 13.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, both team highs. The Katrina McClain Award watch list honoree currently ranks second all-time in program history with 249 blocks.
Saturday’s contest will mark the fourth ever meeting between the two programs, as the Irish are undefeated at 3-0. The last meeting between the two sides resulted in a 76-54 Irish victory at The Palestra on Nov. 23, 2013.
Josh Bates joined Fighting Irish Media as associate athletics communications director in July of 2017, serving as the women’s basketball and men’s golf contact. Bates earned both his bachelor’s (2011) and master’s (2014) degree in sports management from the University of Illinois. He also worked as a grad assistant at Illinois from 2012-14 and worked full-time at Tulane University from 2014-17.