Nov. 12, 2014
Three of the nation’s top high school student-athletes in women’s basketball have chosen to continue their academic and athletic careers with the University of Notre Dame, each signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2015, Irish head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw announced today.
Marina Mabrey, a 5-11 guard from Belmar, New Jersey (Manasquan High School), Arike Ogunbowale, a 5-9 guard from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Divine Savior Holy Angels High School) and Ali Patberg, a 5-10 guard from Columbus, Indiana (Columbus North High School), all made their official commitments to the Fighting Irish during the early signing period that begins today and continues through Nov. 19.
All three student-athletes are rated among the top 20 players in the country by multiple recruiting services, while the Notre Dame incoming class has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and Prospects Nation, with all major recruiting outlets having the Fighting Irish class among the top five in the land (No. 4 by Blue Star Basketball, No. 5 by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report). It’s the fourth consecutive top-five class for Notre Dame (final class rankings will come out following the early signing period), all but assuring the Fighting Irish will have a Top 25 recruiting class for the 19th consecutive year, a streak only two other schools in the country (Connecticut and Tennessee) can match.
“I’m so excited about this class,” McGraw said. “This group really addresses our needs. We needed some ball-handling guards, we needed some defensive guards and we got everything we could have asked for with these three.
“It’s important for me that our new players fit in with who we have right now. The team chemistry is really what makes us successful. It’s not the talent as much as how they get along, how they play together, how they fit together. This group really fits in well.
“All of the credit for this year’s class has to go to my amazing staff of (associate head coach) Carol Owens, (associate coach) Beth Cunningham and (assistant coach) Niele Ivey,” McGraw concluded. “Niele is our recruiting coordinator and she’s one of the best in the country, if not the best in the country. She is just outstanding at what she does. She’s an incredibly hard worker, great at networking, she knows talent, she can see it and then she can recruit it because she’s so much fun to be around. People want to come here and hang around with her. She’s a great coach and a great recruiter. Of course, you have Carol, the best post coach in the country. If you want to play the post position, you’re going to want to be coached by Carol Owens. Then there’s Beth, and who could be better to work with our wings? She’s an outstanding shooter and has played the game at a very high level, and she already has proven to be tremendously successful in developing our wing players.”
“They got Arike Ogunbowale late and that pushed them way up,” said Bret McCormick, analyst for All-Star Girls Report. “Arike could definitely start immediately. She is talented and she has a college-ready body. Marina Mabrey is an excellent shooter, and Ali Patberg is a very good true point guard.”
“The trio of perimeter players signed by Coach McGraw and her staff is impressive not only for the individual talent, but also the fact that these three essentially could play together,” added Chris Hansen, managing editor for Prospects Nation. “With Madison Cable, Whitney Holloway, Hannah Huffman, Jewell Loyd and Michaela Mabrey all set to graduate by the time the 2015 signees reach their sophomore seasons, loading up at the guard position was a definite need for Notre Dame to sustain the incredibly high level the program is playing. There is so much existing depth in the Irish frontcourt that these guards will not have to shoulder the load alone. Any time you sign three players in the top 16 spots of a class, there is reason to celebrate. This class fits the program’s needs with a caliber of players that can elevate Notre Dame’s already high level of play.”
“What this class might lack in size, it has more than made up for in character and basketball IQ,” noted Chris Mennig, national evaluator for Blue Star Basketball. “The Class of 2015 for the Fighting Irish is made up of competitors who have a will to win, much in the same spirit as Skylar (Diggins). All strong students as well, they are everything that has epitomized Fighting Irish basketball under Coach McGraw and put Notre Dame in a position to continue to compete as one of the nation’s elite.”
Ranked No. 3 in the preseason Associated Press and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today polls, Notre Dame tips off its 2014-15 season at 6 p.m. (EST) Friday when it welcomes UMass Lowell to Purcell Pavilion (free live webcast on WatchND, live radio on South Bend’s Pulse FM 96.9/92.1).
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Notre Dame women’s basketball campaign are on sale through the Murnane Family Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows at Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) weekdays. Fans also can purchase tickets online through the official Fighting Irish athletics ticketing web page (UND.com/buytickets).
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
Here’s a capsule look at the newest additions to the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program:
MARINA MABREY, 5-11, Guard (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan High School)
Statistics/Records: Entering her third year at Manasquan High School in Manasquan, New Jersey, where she is coached by Lisa Kukoda, after spending her sophomore season at Point Pleasant Beach High School in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey … has combined career per-game statistical averages (both schools) of 21.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals, along with 2.5 three-point field goals … has appeared in 79 games in her first three prep seasons, with career totals of 1,663 points, 531 rebounds, 297 assists and 273 steals, as well as 201 three-point field goals made … has helped her teams to a combined 84-10 (.894) record, three Shore Conference titles, three New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state championships and one New Jersey Tournament of Champions crown (across all groups/classes) … as a junior in 2013-14, played in final 20 games for Manasquan (due to transfer rules), averaging 20.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3.5 assists per game while helping Warriors to a 27-6 record, the Shore Conference championship, the NJSIAA Group II state title and a berth in the New Jersey Tournament of Champions final … as a sophomore in 2012-13, played at Point Pleasant Beach, pacing the Garnet Gulls to 25-2 record, the Shore Conference championship, the NJSIAA Group I state championship and a semifinal spot in New Jersey Tournament of Champions, all while averaging 26.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.1 steals and 4.9 assists per game … scored career-high 49 points against Gloucester County High School in March 2013 … as a freshman in 2011-12, played alongside older sister Michaela at Manasquan, teaming up to lead their school to a 32-2 record, a No. 17 ranking in the final USA Today Super 25 poll, the Shore Conference championship, the NJSIAA Group III state title and the New Jersey Tournament of Championship crown … averaged 15.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game during her rookie prep season … also played AAU basketball for New York’s Exodus program, competing under the guidance of coaches Thomas Davis and Chris Mooney.
USA Basketball: Earned a gold medal as a member of the 2014 USA Basketball Under-18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado … teammate on that squad of current Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner … helped 2014 USA U18 squad to a 5-0 record at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, winning by an average of 44.8 points per game … averaged 7.8 points and 3.6 assists per game with a 3.6 assist/turnover ratio and a .417 three-point shooting percentage … second on the team (second among all players in the eight-team tournament) in assist/turnover ratio … second on the team (fourth in the tournament) in three-point percentage … third on the team (tied for fourth in the tournament) in assists … scored in double figures three times, including tournament-high 12 points against El Salvador during group stage.
Awards/Honors: 2014 USA Today All-New Jersey First Team selection … two-time Asbury Park Press Player of the Year (2013, 2014) … 2014 Newark Star-Ledger Monmouth County Player of the Year … 2014 Coast Star Player of the Year … 2013 Coast Star Defensive Player of the Year … two-time Newark Star-Ledger All-State First Team (2013, 2014) … two-time MSG Varsity all-state selection (first team in 2014; second team in 2013) … three-time Asbury Park Press All-Shore choice (first team in 2013, 2014; second team in 2012) … 2012 Newark Star-Ledger and MSG Varsity All-Freshman First Team … ranked No. 7 in Class of 2015 by Prospects Nation … ranked No. 8 by Blue Star Basketball … ranked No. 11 by All-Star Girls Report … ranked No. 26 (five-star player) by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
Personal Data: Last name is pronounced MAY-bree … daughter of Patti and Roy Mabrey … third of five children … older sister, Michaela, is a junior guard/tri-captain on 2014-15 Notre Dame women’s basketball team … older brother, Roy, is a senior guard and third-team all-Northeast-10 Conference selection on men’s basketball team at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire … will be the 10th New Jersey native to play for the Fighting Irish, tying the Garden State with Ohio for the fourth-most players produced by one state in Notre Dame women’s basketball history (trailing only Indiana and neighboring states Michigan and Illinois) … next season, Marina and Michaela Mabrey will be the third sister combination to play for Notre Dame women’s basketball team and first to do so side by side since Carol and Maggie Lally during the program’s first two seasons (1977-78 and 1978-79) — Sheila and Sara Liebscher also played for the Fighting Irish, although a decade apart (Sheila from 1979-81, Sara from 1987-91) … loves watching scary movies and bowling … favorite food is ice cream … favorite color is green … likes playing racquetball and getting manicures. … is ambidextrous … hopes to study communications, sports management or a related field at Notre Dame.
Coach McGraw on Mabrey…
“We hope Marina can come in and break all the records Michaela has been setting from the three-point line. Marina is another phenomenal talent. We’re so excited about her. She can play so many different positions. Her versatility will remind people a little bit of Kayla McBride in that she can play the point, she can play the four and certainly everything in between. She’s a great passer and she can score in a lot of different ways, but a little differently than Michaela. Marina is a great shooter, but she can also go inside and post up. You’re going to see a little bit of an edge to her. She’s got that physical play that we really love to see.”
Chris Hansen, Prospects Nation managing editor, on Mabrey…
“Marina will look to replace her sister, Michaela, in terms of her role. However, Marina could very well eclipse her older sister’s production as she shoots it from range similarly, but also gets to the free-throw line like a seasoned vet.”
Chris Mennig, Blue Star Basketball national evaluator, on Mabrey…
“This will be a familiar name for the Fighting Irish faithful. Any time you see siblings attend the same university, I think it speaks volumes about the staff/campus/environment that the next generation wants to be a part of it. Marina is a good-sized guard that falls into that shooting guard slot at the next level, showing range beyond the arc as well as pull-up game. She also gained experience on the USA Basketball U18 National Team, elevating her overall game.”
All-Star Girls Report evaluation of Mabrey…
“Pretty athletic … can put on the floor … good basketball IQ … nice shot … shoots deep three … knows the game … can play all three guard positions.”
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report evaluation of Mabrey…
“Fundamental off-guard with smooth stroke in mid-range game to the arc.”
ARIKE OGUNBOWALE, 5-9, Guard (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels High School)
Statistics/Records: Entering her final year at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (combined record of 58-15, .795), where she is currently coached by Jeff Worzella and was previously coached during her first three seasons by Scott Witt … career per-game statistical averages of 20.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.6 steals … as a junior in 2013-14, averaged 22.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game while leading her team to a 20-5 record and Greater Metro Conference title … also shot 51.0 percent from the field, 34.0 percent from the three-point line and 76.0 percent from the free-throw line … as a sophomore in 2012-13, paced Divine Savior Holy Angels to a 21-4 record and a spot in Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division I sectional semifinals as well as a runner-up finish in the Greater Metro Conference … averaged 20.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.1 steals while shooting 53.0 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from the three-point line … as a freshman in 2011-12, helped her school to a 17-6 record and a second-place finish in the Greater Metro Conference while collecting 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals and shooting 46.3 percent from the field as well as 34.3 percent from the three-point line … holds Divine Savior Holy Angels single-season school records for points, rebounds and fewest turnovers (12 in 2012-13) … most recently played AAU basketball for Minnesota North Tartan club and head coach Greg Dietel … previously played for Wisconsin’s Playground Elite, helping club to 2011 AAU national championship.
USA Basketball: Four-time USA Basketball gold medalist … USA Basketball teams have a combined 33-1 (.971) record with Ogunbowale on the roster … most recently helped the United States to 13-0 record and gold medal at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (played using 3×3 format) in Nanjing, China … averaged 6.6 points per game in the tournament (which counts baskets by ones and twos), including seven points and basket that put the Americans ahead for good with three minutes left in 19-10 gold medal victory over Netherlands … also in 2014, played for the USA Basketball Under-17 National Team that went 7-0 en route to the gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Czech Republic … started all seven games for Team USA, averaging 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game with a team-high .435 three-point shooting percentage … also ranked second on team in steals (13) and third in scoring … member of the 2013 USA Basketball Under-16 National Team that went 5-0 and earned the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Cancun, Mexico … averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game … suited up alongside current Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner for the 2013 USA Basketball 3×3 U18 World Championship Team that won the gold medal with an 8-1 record in Jakarta, Indonesia … qualified to represent the United States at the FIBA U18 World Championship by winning the 2013 USA Basketball 3×3 U18 National Championship.
Awards/Honors: Two-time Gatorade Wisconsin High School Player of the Year (2013, 2014) … two-time Associated Press Wisconsin Player of the Year (2013, 2014) … three-time USA Today All-Wisconsin First Team selection (2012, 2013, 2014) … three-time Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division I All-State First Team pick (2012, 2013, 2014) … 2013 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Area Player of the Year … two-time Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel All-Area First Team (2013, 2014) … three-time Greater Metro Conference Most Valuable Player (2012, 2013, 2014) … ranked No. 4 in Class of 2015 by All-Star Girls Report … ranked No. 5 by Prospects Nation … ranked No. 6 by Blue Star Basketball … ranked No. 10 (five-star player) by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
Personal Data: Name is pronounced Are-REE-kay oh-goon-buh-WAH-lay … first name means “something that you see and you cherish” in her father’s native Nigeria … daughter of Yolanda and Gregory Ogunbowale … youngest of three children … older brother, Dare (pronounced DAR-ay), is a redshirt sophomore running back on football team at University of Wisconsin … mother, Yolanda, was a softball pitcher at DePaul University … cousin, Ryan Evans, was a guard/forward on men’s basketball team at University of Wisconsin … aunt, Cynthia Oliver-Stone, played volleyball at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff … cousin, Endia Oliver, played volleyball at Tennessee State University … father, Gregory, played soccer and rugby and later served in Nigerian Army … will be the second player of Nigerian heritage to play for Notre Dame in recent years, following in footsteps of former All-America forward/Canadian National Team member Natalie Achonwa (2010-14) … will be the sixth Wisconsin native to play for Fighting Irish women’s basketball team and the first since Watertown resident Deb Fitzgerald (1988-92)–the most recent Milwaukee product to play for Notre Dame was standout forward Heidi Bunek (1985-89) … also an extremely gifted soccer player in her youth, winning four Wisconsin State Cup championships during her club soccer days with Lake Country United (2010-12) and FC Milwaukee (2009), the latter club also having produced current Notre Dame women’s soccer junior defender (and 2012 Divine Savior Holy Angels High School graduate) Brittany Von Rueden (pronounced von REE-den) … hopes to study business at Notre Dame.
Coach McGraw on Ogunbowale…
“Arike is a tremendous talent. She can play a lot of different positions. The thing I love about her is how she can get to the free-throw line. She is a very strong offensive player. She can get to the rim, she can attack the basket, she can post up, she can handle the ball, she can pass, she can score in a lot of different ways, but she can defend, too, and that’s something I really love.”
Chris Hansen, Prospects Nation managing editor, on Ogunbowale …
“Ogunbowale comes with the most hype and she will be looked at to fill the shoes of Jewell Loyd as the next in a line of standout Notre Dame guards.”
Chris Mennig, Blue Star Basketball national evaluator, on Ogunbowale…
“Arike is a strong guard with a strong handle who can carry the load of her teammates when called upon. She has a smooth jump shot from the three-point line as well as the mid-range, along with a very high basketball IQ. Arike’s experience with USA Basketball showed her ability to separate herself, both among her peers and also against international competition. She is a calm, level-headed competitor who will help impact the team both on and off the court.”
All-Star Girls Report evaluation of Ogunbowale …
“Very athletic … strong body … goes hard to the hole … draws and finishes against contact … good passer … can post up … shoots three … good weak-side rebounder.”
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report evaluation of Ogunbowale …
“Strong, athletic lead-guard manufactures, one-on-one creator … handles in transition, distributor with playground flair … three-point threat … post-up game vs. mismatch.”
ALI PATBERG, 5-10, Guard (Columbus, Ind./Columbus North High School)
Statistics/Records: Entering her final year at Columbus North High School in Columbus, Indiana (combined record of 71-8, .899), where she is coached by Pat McKee … career per-game statistical averages of 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.3 steals … as a junior in 2013-14, helped her team to a 23-3 record and Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Class 4A sectional title, as well as Conference Indiana championship … averaged 18.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game … dished out career-high (and school-record) 12 assists at Southport in January 2014 … as a sophomore in 2012-13, paced Columbus North to 25-1 record, IHSAA Class 4A sectional crown and Conference Indiana title … averaged 18.0 points 6.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game … scored career-high 31 points against Chicago Whitney Young in January 2013 … as a freshman in 2011-12, helped school to 23-4 record, finishing as IHSAA Class 4A state runner-up while winning IHSAA Class 4A semistate, regional and sectional championships, as well as a share of Conference Indiana title … averaged 12.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game … posted career highs of 14 rebounds against Perry Meridian and eight steals against Martinsville during her rookie prep season … holds school records for assists in a season (148 in 2013-14), assists per game in a season (5.9 in 2013-14) and assists in a career (358 to date) … ranks fifth on Columbus North career scoring list (1,275 points–record holder has 1,292 points), as well as seventh in school history for career rebounds (491–record holder has 762) and eighth for career steals (183–record holder has 272) … currently plays AAU basketball for Indiana Elite club program, coached by her father, Ron Patberg … age-group team previously was coached by former Indiana University men’s basketball All-American (and recently-appointed Butler University women’s basketball assistant coach) Damon Bailey, who helped Indiana Elite to three top-five finishes in AAU national championship tournament, including runner-up showing in 2008.
USA Basketball: Participated in the 2014 USA Basketball Under-18 National Team Trials alongside two of her future Notre Dame teammates — current freshman forward Brianna Turner and fellow Class of 2015 guard Marina Mabrey.
Awards/Honors: 2014 MaxPreps All-America Sixth Team selection … 2014 Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year finalist … 2014 Indiana Junior All-Star Team member (core team) … two-time USA Today All-Indiana honoree (second team in 2014, honorable mention in 2013) … three-time Associated Press all-state choice (second team in 2014, third team in 2013, high honorable mention in 2012) … two-time Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association All-State First Team selection (2013, 2014) … three-time Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Underclass all-state pick (first team in 2013, 2014; honorable mention in 2012) … three-time IBCA Top 100 Showcase invitee (2012, 2013, 2014) … two-time Hoosier Basketball Magazine All-State First Team selection (2013, 2014) … two-time Columbus Republic Area Player of the Year (2013, 2014) … three-time Columbus Republic All-Area First Team honoree (2012, 2013, 2014) … three-time All-Conference Indiana First Team choice (2012, 2013, 2014) … ranked No. 14 (five-star player) in Class of 2015 by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report … ranked No. 16 by Prospects Nation … ranked No. 19 by All-Star Girls Report … ranked No. 20 by Blue Star Basketball.
Personal Data: Daughter of Julie Davis and Ron Patberg … one of four children … will be the 21st Indiana resident to suit up for Notre Dame women’s basketball program, and the second on the Fighting Irish roster, joining current sophomore forward and Fishers, Indiana, product Taya Reimer … she not only will continue Hoosier State connection that has produced more Fighting Irish players than any other state, but she also will extend the program’s remarkable talent pipeline along U.S. Route 31 (will be 18th Notre Dame women’s basketball player to come from a hometown located within 40 miles of one of the state’s primary north-south arteries, a legacy that includes such notables as Skylar Diggins, Ruth Riley, Sheila McMillen and Beth Morgan) … will be the first player to come to Notre Dame from the southern half of Indiana since the tandem of Rosanne Bohman (Greensburg) and current Fighting Irish associate coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham (Bloomington) played from 1993-97, helping Notre Dame to its first NCAA Women’s Final Four berth in 1997 … as part of her senior project in October 2014, held a basketball skills camp called A Lasting Impact (initials representing her first name) for 100 children in grades 1-8, with the net proceeds of $2,647 going to the Karen McCaa Foundation (McCaa was a former basketball player and 1989 Indiana All-Star selection from Columbus North High School who has been battling Lyme disease and Addison’s disease since 2010)–has plans to continue holding the camp after graduating from high school … has not yet decided on a potential field of study at Notre Dame.
Coach McGraw on Patberg…
“It’s always great to have an Indiana player, especially an Indiana point guard. Ali is a smart player, very cerebral. She really understands the game, is someone who can pass extremely well. I think she’ll be trying to shatter some of the assist records we have right now. She can really do a lot of things on the court. She’s strong, she’s very capable of running the team. Her leadership is going to be exceptional and she’s somebody we’ve been looking forward to for a couple of years now.”
Chris Hansen, Prospects Nation managing editor, on Patberg…
“With Patberg, the Irish get a versatile guard who can play all three perimeter positions at a high level. She also has the strength that should allow her to be productive early in her career.”
Chris Mennig, Blue Star Basketball national evaluator, on Patberg…
“Ali is a combo guard that can run the point or slide to a scoring guard slot. She’s a floor leader with a high IQ, someone who always finds her way around the basketball. She has nice touch beyond the arc and her ability to create for others is strong with her vision and understanding of the game.”
All-Star Girls Report evaluation of Patberg…
“Pretty quick and strong … good pull-up jumper … good basketball IQ … shoots three … fundamental … nice shot … can play all three guard positions … good passer … sees floor well … draws contact and uses body well … great passer.”
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report evaluation of Patberg…
“Fundamental combo-guard slashes, handles in transition … mid-range pull-up game.”
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director