Feb. 22, 2018
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 5 University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team is now just one victory away from earning at least a co-share of the ACC regular season title after defeating Virginia Tech, 89-59, Thursday evening inside Purcell Pavilion.
After possessing a narrow 26-24 lead after the first quarter, the Irish (26-2, 14-1) defense limited the Hokies (17-11, 6-9) to just 35 points for the remainder of the game.
“They gave us a really, really tough game in the first half, especially. I’m really happy with Marina (Mabrey) tonight,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I think she could have had a triple double. She did such a great job on the boards, she shot the ball well and really was very aggressive defensively. I’m really happy for her and also for Kat (Westbeld) to get that 1,000th point behind us and now we can look forward to adding to the total for the rest of the season.”
How It Happened
The Irish broke away from the Hokies in the second quarter behind a strong defensive effort, keeping Virginia Tech off the scoreboard until the 6:11 mark, resulting in a 12-0 Notre Dame run. The Irish then maintained their double-digit lead by limiting the Hokies to eight points in the quarter, heading into the locker room with a 45-32 lead.
Arike Ogunbowale scored a first quarter best 13 points before finishing with 15 points by the half. Jessica Shepard and Marina Mabrey each recorded five points in the second quarter, before reaching nine by the midway point.
Notre Dame continued to push ahead in the third, earning a 15-3 run from 7:56 to 3:28, capped by a Kat Westbeld lay-up, which was her 1,000th career point.
The Irish then used another big offensive spurt to start the fourth, this time riding a 12-4 run before cruising to the 89-59 final over Virginia Tech.
Player of the Game
Marina Mabrey, who boasts one triple-double in her career, netted her first double-double on the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds. The 20-plus point performance was the seventh for Mabrey this season, while the 11 boards was a career high. The junior was two assists shy of the triple-double and her eight assists tied her season high.
Stat of the Game
Kathryn Westbeld became the 39th member to join the program’s 1,000-career point club after reaching the milestone with eight points tonight. With Ogunbowale and Mabrey previously achieving the feat earlier this year, it marked the first time three Irish had done so since Trena Keys, Mary Beth Schueth and Carrie Bates in 1985.
- Notre Dame leads the all-time series vs Virginia Tech, 10-1, with a 6-0 record at home.
- Tonight’s victory moved Notre Dame’s all-time ACC record to 76-3.
- Irish secured their 22nd consecutive win at home.
- Irish have also won its 49th consecutive league game at home.
- The magic number is down to one for the Irish — need one more victory to obtain at least a co-share of their fifth straight ACC regular season title and seventh straight regular title, dating back to final two years in the Big East.
- Kathryn Westbeld became the 39th member to join the program’s 1,000-career point club after reaching the milestone with eight points tonight. With Ogunbowale and Mabrey previously achieving the feat earlier this year, it marked the first time three Irish had done so since Trena Keys, Mary Beth Schueth and Carrie Bates in 1985.
- Ogunbowale scored a season best 13 first quarter points tonight, before settling with 26 points for the game. It marked her ACC leading 18th game of 20 or more points.
- After a 5-for-5 night from Mabrey at the free-throw line, the junior has now connected on a season high 26 consecutive free-throws.
- Jessica Shepard tallied her fifth straight game in double figures and 23rd on the year with 11 points tonight.
- Jackie Young also notched her fifth straight game in double figures and 21st on the year with 12 points. The sophomore collected her fourth double-double after reeling in 10 rebounds.
- Last time two Irish players had double-doubles in the same game was when Shepard, Westbeld and Young all achieved the feat vs Marquette on Dec. 20, 2017.
- Since the Irish surpassed the 88-point mark tonight, Notre Dame fans all went home with a free Big Mac, marking the eighth occasion this season. That is equal to 63,825 Big Macs on the year.
The Irish look to wrap the regular season on a high note when they welcome No. 21 NC State to Purcell Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 25, which will also coincide with Senior Day festivities. Tip is set for 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2.