Feb. 2, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
BLACKSBURG, Va. – A career-high 10 rebounds and a career-high six assists joined 16 points to create the first double-double of Arike Ogunbowale’s career as the No. 7/9 Notre Dame women’s basketball team rolled to a 76-59 win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum.
Kathryn Westbeld scored 15 points off of the bench on her bad ankle – two shy of her career high of 17 set at Virginia Tech during the 2015 season. Lindsay Allen scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and added nine assists – one shy of becoming the first player in school history to record double figures in assists for four consecutive games.
Ogunbowale Can Ball Out
Arike Ogunbowale hit her stride just after halftime and helped Notre Dame maintain its advantage. The Irish came out of the break on an 11-2 run over the first 3:06 of the penultimate quarter, quickly extending a 34-29 halftime lead to 14 points at 45-31. Ogunbowale scored seven points in this spurt while grabbing three rebounds and adding an assist.
“Arike got her first career double-double and first of many,” Karen and Kevin Keyes Women’s Basketball Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “Arike kind of took over the game there for a few minutes. She was driving the ball, and she’s really hard to guard when she drives the ball.”
Westbeld Starts Fast After Not Starting
Kathryn Westbeld did not start tonight as she continues to mend a sore ankle, but she did not stay on the bench for long and made an impact once she did get on the court. Westbeld entered the game when it was just 3:06 old.
She scored seven out of 10 points for the Irish during a mid-quarter spurt. Westbeld gave the Irish their first lead at 9-8 with 3:14 left in the quarter. With 2:52 left in the quarter, Westbeld deftly spun in a layup while being fouled. She would convert the free throw. Westbeld went under her defender to scoop and score with 36 seconds left in the first quarter to complete her spurt.
“Kathryn Westbeld was the difference in the game,” McGraw said. “She was nursing a sore ankle, but she was able to gut it out.”
Westbeld finished with a season-high 15 points in her 24 minutes of action whie adding seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot.
Play of the Day
With the Irish inbounding under the Hokie basket with 1.5 seconds left in the first quarter, Muffet McGraw subbed high-flying Brianna Turner in for Erin Boley. Jackie Young inbounded the ball, lofting it up for Turner to grab. Leaping from the ACC logo at the top of the key, Turner snared Young’s inbounds pass and put it back at the basket in one motion. The shot fell with 0.7 left on the clock while Turner also drew a foul on Regan Magarity. Turner completed the three-point play by sinking the free throw and Notre Dame led 19-11 after the opening 10 minutes. The Irish have led after the first quarter in 20 out of 24 games this year, using early leads to build towards victories.
Lindsay Allen collected nine assists on the game, leaving her with 744 in her Notre Dame career, narrowly shy of matching the 745 of Skylar Diggins for second in school history. Additionally, Allen is now just seven assists of tying Kristi Tolliver of Maryland’s 751 for second in ACC history.
Being held to nine assists, Allen shares Mary Gavin’s school record of three consecutive games with double figure assists. Gavin did it four times, most recently in 1988. Allen also collected her 200th career steal in the game. Her two tonight give her 201 for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame will play just once over the next 10 days but it is a critical game as No. 9 Louisville comes to Purcell Pavilion on Monday night. ESPN2 will carry the action live starting at 7 p.m. with Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke on the call. The Irish will remain at home for the following game, a Feb. 12 contest against Georgia Tech that is the team’s annual Pink Zone game.
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.