Jan. 22, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – No. 6/9 Notre Dame saw its top players put up big numbers as double-double from Brianna Turner and 11-assist showing from Lindsay Allen helped power the Irish women’s basketball team (18-3, 6-1 ACC) to a 77-55 win over North Carolina (12-8, 1-6) on Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Auditorium.
The win is also the 750th at Notre Dame for the school’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw. McGraw is the seventh women’s basketball coach to win 750 games at one school and just the fourth woman, joining Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Tara VanDerveer (Stanford) and Jody Conradt (Texas). Geno Auriemma (UConn), Robin Selvig (Montana) and Andy Landers (Georgia) have all hit this rare and hallowed milestone.
Turner poured in 24 points and tied her season highs with 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. Allen, meanwhile, was just one off of her career high with those 11 assists while also chipping in four steals, six rebounds and five points. Freshman Jackie Young hit double figures for the third time in four games with her 10 points while sophomores Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale chipped in 13 and 11, respectively.
Second Quarter Pushes Irish In Front
Notre Dame started to exert itself during the second quarter, closing the stanza on a 21-4 run to take a 47-27 edge into the locker room at halftime. The 47 points made it Notre Dame’s highest-scoring road first half this year in what is already its 11th contest on an opposing home floor.
The Irish spurt included runs of 10-0 and 9-0. The 10-0 run was Notre Dame’s 20th double-figure scoring run of the season while its opponents have just five.
Notre Dame connected on 10-of-18 shots (.556) in the quarter, collecting an assist on seven of the 10 buckets. The Irish defense clamped down as well with five steals while North Carolina shot just .188 (3-for-16) in the frame.
Marina Mabrey and Brianna Turner each scored six points in the stanza. Mabrey’s six points all came in one of the game’s most decisive stretches. Up by just five points at 28-23 at the 7:00 mark, Mabrey sank a three. After grabbing the rebound of a Stephanie Watts miss, Mabrey tossed up an alley-oop to Turner, making it a 10-point lead. The next offensive possession saw Mabrey get a layup “and one,” making it a 36-23 game, capping a 10-0 Irish run.
“I thought the second quarter had a lot of transition, and we are really good in transition,” Turner said. “It was just getting rebounds and running the floor. They are also a really quick team so it was just a fast paced second quarter. We got a lot of shots up, and they went in.”
Mychal Johnson made her third start of both the season and her Irish career today in place of Kathryn Westbeld who is back at Notre Dame with an ankle injury. Her selection for the starting lineup over Erin Boley (who started for Westbeld Thurdsay night at Boston College) was a tactical one for matching up against the four-guard lineup started by the Tar Heels. Johnson had an assist and two steals in her seven minutes of action.
Johnson had previously started on opening night against Central Michigan and also at Michigan State on Dec. 20, both Irish wins.
Lindsay Allen played 38 minutes today in her 133rd career start. Her coaches were happy to see that but they also got surpassed on the all-time Irish minutes played chart. Allen now has logged 3,966 minutes of action for the Irish, ranking fourth all-time, just today climbing over the 3,958 of Beth Morgan (Cunningham) and the 3,954 of Niele Ivey.
With her efforts today, Brianna Turner surpasses Letitia Bowen’s 1,219 career points from 1991-95 to move into 24th place in school history with her 1,228.
Coach McGraw Said
On winning her 750th game at Notre Dame: “All the credit to my staff. They do such a phenomenal job, and my husband. They keep me going and I couldn’t do it without them. I have had so many great players. I have been blessed with so many great people around me, the administration, the president. It is such a great place to be.”
Notre Dame kicks off a long-awaited home stretch. The Irish will play four of their next five contests at Purcell Pavilion, beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday night against No. 15 Duke.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.