Jan. 2, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
ATLANTA – No. 7/2 Notre Dame (13-2, 1-1 ACC) used a 23-2 run in the late first and early second quarters to pull away to an eventual 55-38 victory over Georgia Tech (11-3, 0-1) on Monday night at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.
Arike Ogunbowale led all scorers with 18 points while Brianna Turner narrowly missed a double-double with her nine points and 11 assists. Lindsay Allen also put forth a balanced stat line on the night with seven points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Ogunbowale had 14 points in the first half.
In holding Georgia Tech to 38 points on its home floor, Notre Dame’s defense shut down the Yellow Jackets better than any team has done as an Atlanta visitor since Virginia beat Georgia Tech, 61-38, on Jan. 10, 2005, at then-Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Notre Dame has only trailed twice after the first quarter with one of those coming in the team’s last outing. The Irish ensured it would not happen twice in a row and capped it spectacularly. Notre Dame closed the first quarter in a 6-0 run and capped it delightfully with one of the transitional plays of the day.
Jackie Young stole the ball with eight seconds left in the opening stanza under her own basket. Young calmly got the ball to Marina Mabrey who pushed it up court and found Kathryn Westbeld for a drive and left-handed lay-up in the final second.
The Irish rode that momentum into the second quarter, which Notre Dame opened on a 17-2 run to take command of the contest.
The Irish defense in particular stepped up in the opening quarter. The Yellow Jackets shot just 15% in the first 10 minutes connecting on just three of their 20 shots. Notre Dame’s defense forced seven Georgia Tech turnovers in the first quarter, four of which included an Irish steal.
Offensive Rebounding Critical
While Georgia Tech did not shoot particularly well in that first quarter, great offensive rebounding kept the Yellow Jackets in the game. Georgia Tech missed 17 shots in the first 10 minutes of play, but got the offensive rebound on 12 of them and only trailed 17-9. In the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets grabbed just one offensive rebound, and the Irish began to put the game out of reach. Still, Georgia Tech led Notre Dame 11-5 on second-chance points tonight, the largest deficit of the year for the Irish.
Allen Jumps Into Top 30
Lindsay Allen scored just seven points tonight, but they were enough to move her past Danielle Green (1995-00) into 30th place on Notre Dame’s career scoring chart. Green tallied 1,104 points for Notre Dame, while Allen now claims 1,112.
Turner Swats Names Down ACC Chart
Brianna Turner blocked six shots tonight and moved herself into a tie for 14th place on the ACC career chart, surpassing Candace Sutton of North Carolina who had 208 from 2001-04 and matching the 209 by Brooke Wyckoff of Florida State (1998-01). Turner’s four steals tonight marked her career-high. She finished one point shy of her fifth double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. Turner collected 14 blocks in her first 11 games this season and has 18 in her last four.
Another Happy Homecoming
Buford, Georgia native Kristina Nelson played in front of many family and friends tonight in Atlanta, contributing five points and five rebounds to the Irish win.
The Irish have generally enjoyed Homecoming games of late. The last time a Notre Dame player from outside of Indiana did not win a game played in her home state came on Feb. 28, 2011, when the Irish fell to No. 12 DePaul in Chicago, Illinois, home state (and more-specifically hometown area) of Devereaux Peters (Chicago) and Kaila Turner (Joliet).
Four times this season, including tonight, Notre Dame players have won games in their home states. Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas) saw the Irish beat Louisiana-Lafayette in Houston while Diamond Thompson (Wheaton, Ill.) saw Notre Dame down DePaul in Chicago. Kathryn Westbeld (Kettering, Ohio) helped lift the Irish to a victory at Toledo.
Notre Dame will play its first home game since Dec. 7 when Wake Forest comes to Purcell Pavilion at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.
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.