Jan. 25, 2018
PITTSBURGH — The No. 5 University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s offense was powered by 49 combined points from juniors Jessica Shepard and Marina Mabrey as the Irish cruised past Pittsburgh, 87-53.
The Irish (19-2, 7-1) used a double-double from Jessica Shepard to win their 10th road game of the season tonight at Pitt (9-12, 1-7), as the Nebraska native finished with 28 points and a season high tying 12 rebounds.
“We generally try to work inside out, and I thought Jessica had a size advantage from the tip,” Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Women’s Basketball Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “The high-low was working for us. We were really looking for each other from the high post.”
How It Happened
Notre Dame went on a 13-2 run over the final four minutes of the first quarter to jump out to a 20-11 advantage. Jessica Shepard was credited with 11 of Notre Dame’s 13 points in the run, as the junior eventually scored 15 of the next 17 Irish points which extended into the second period.
The Irish surged on in the second period, recording an 18-2 run over a stretch of 6:21 to open a 38-16 lead. Notre Dame’s defense played a pivotal role, holding Pittsburgh scoreless from the 6:15 mark to the 2:41 mark of the period. Shepard added six points and finished with 19 in the first half, complimented with 11 points from Ogunbowale, giving the Irish a 44-21 lead at the half.
Shepard led the Irish in the third period, when seven of her points sparked a 16-4 Notre Dame run.
The Irish later owned a 67-36 lead at the start of the fourth. Marina Mabrey nailed back-to-back three-pointers to start the final period, while Notre Dame cruised through the fourth quarter to secure the 87-53 victory over the Panthers.
Player of the Game
Jessica Shepard recorded her seventh double-double of the season and first since Dec. 28 against Syracuse. Shepard scored 19 points in the first half and ultimately finished the game with 28 points, the most she has tallied on the road this season. Her 12 rebounds tied her season high.
Shepard, who extended her streak of double-digit scoring performances to a season-high seven straight games, turned in her fourth contest of the season of 20-plus points.
Stat of the Game
Three of the past four Irish opponents were held to single-digit free-throw attempts. Pitt was limited to 5-of-7 from the stripe tonight.
- Notre Dame leads the all-time series vs Pitt, 26-3, and have won nine straight against the Panthers. The Irish also moved to 13-2 at Pittsburgh.
- Notre Dame’s all-time record in ACC play improved to 69-3.
- With a win at Pittsburgh, the Irish achieved their 10th victory away from home this season.
- Shepard totaled 13 points in the first quarter, including an individual run of 11 straight points for the Irish. It marked the fourth time this season Shepard reached double digits by the end of the first period.
- Shepard earned her seventh double-double on the year with 28 points and 12 rebounds. In addition, the junior extended her season high of seven straight games in double figures. Her 28 points also marked her fourth game this season with 20-plus points.
- Mabrey registered her 15th game this season in double figures with 21 points.
- This season in which Mabrey has scored five points or less in the game prior, the junior has averaged 14.4 points in the following game.
- Kristina Nelson achieved a career high six assists.
- Mabrey tied her season high of five steals and has secured at least three steals in each of the last six games.
- Mabrey has dished out five-plus assists in 10 of the past 11 games.
The Irish will stay on the road and travel south to Tallahassee to battle No. 8 Florida State in its fourth top-10 matchup of the year. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. ET inside the Donald L. Tucket Civic Center, airing live on ESPN2.