Nov. 21, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
Scoring in double figures in each game of the Preseason WNIT, No. 1 Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale earned the tournament’s MVP accolade on Sunday and now, on Monday, she has been named the National Player of the Week by espnW.
Named the ACC Player of the Week last Monday, Ogunbowale averaged 19.5 points per game for the four Preseason WNIT contests and stands fourth in the ACC in scoring this young season. Her contributions to Notre Dame’s championship game victory over No. 17 Washington on Sunday afternoon included a team-high 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. She was also an instrumental piece of a defensive effort that held Washington to just 60 points (the Huskies entered the game fifth nationally at 93.3 points per game). The Irish backcourt tandem of Ogunbowale and Lindsay Allen were particularly tough on Washington preseason All-America guard Kelsey Plum who was held to 22 points (well below her lofty average) and was forced into committing six turnovers.
Being the first weekly espnW honor of the season, it also takes into account Ogunbowale’s record-setting performance in the Preseason WNIT opening round win over Central Michigan. Ogunbowale scored a career-high 30 points in the victory, connecting on 12-of-13 from the field and all five of her 3-point attempts. Hitting all five 3-pointers marked feat that had not been seen for the Irish in 26 years. Ogunbowale provided just the third game in Irish lore where a player took at least five 3-pointers and did not miss one. Alicia Ratay sank all seven of her 3-point shots at Rutgers on Feb. 19, 2000, while Sheila McMillen went a perfect five-for-five behind the arc against UConn on Dec. 8, 1998.
Her 12-of-13 from the floor against the Chippewas narrowly missed becoming a school record for field goal percentage. Karen Robinson set that mark by going 12-for-12 at St. Louis on Jan. 14, 1989. It also marked the first time a Notre Dame player had hit the 30-point mark in a game since Jewell Loyd tallied 31 at Georgia Tech on Feb. 19, 2015.
The Irish (4-0) return to action at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday night when they face Louisiana-Lafayette at the Campbell Center in Houston, Texas, a neutral-site Homecoming game for junior forward Brianna Turner. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-0 on the year and marks the fifth undefeated team to face the undefeated Irish in as many games this young season.
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.