Nov. 23, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
HOUSTON — The No. 1 Notre Dame women’s basketball team scheduled a neutral site game in Houston, Texas on Tuesday night so that Brianna Turner could play for the Irish on a court in her hometown. Little did anyone know, Turner would get to play on two courts in Houston on Tuesday night.
Shortly after going on a 17-0 run over 7:45 of action, the Irish (5-0) figuratively shot the lights out at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. A power outage struck the arena with the Irish ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-17, with 2:38 left in the second quarter. After about an hour and a half, the teams departed on their busses 21 miles across the sprawling city to Rice University’s Tudor Fieldhouse where, after a total delay of 2:35, Notre Dame continued its roll en route to a 91-51 win over the Ragin’ Cajuns (1-1).
Turner picked up her second double-double in a row with 16 points and 12 rebounds but the offensive star of the night was Marina Mabrey. The Irish sophomore scored a career-high 27 points, connecting on 10-of-15 from the field, and balanced the sum nicely between venues, scoring 14 points in the Campbell Center and 13 at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Freshman Jackie Young scored 13 points, the best showing of her young but promising Irish career while senior stalwart point guard Lindsay Allen chipped in nine assists and six rebounds while making the only shot she attempted.
Fast Starts, Plural
Brianna Turner got things rolling to both halves of the game.
The game began just north of Houston with Turner controlling the opening tip forward to Kathryn Westbeld. Westbeld missed her fast-break layup but Turner was quickly there downcourt to tip it in for the game’s opening bucket just six seconds into the action.
Later that night, downtown Houston at Rice, Turner scored the first bucket of the second segment of the game, 52 seconds after play resumed, making it a 40-17 contest.
Scheduled as a Homecoming game for Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas), the game certainly had a Turner-eqsue flavor beyond just a large contingent of her friends and family in the stands. Her prep alma mater, Manvel High School, sent its band and cheerleaders to add an assortment of familiar sounds and cheers to Fighting Irish and Mavericks fans alike.
Coach McGraw Says
As expected, following the game, Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw took questions alongside Brianna Turner from a solid contingent of Houston media members. The unexpected fact that the interview occurred after midnight eastern time and in front of Rice’s media backdrop just added to the bizarre nature of the event. How did the Irish players and coach hold up, coach McGraw?
“For them, this is primetime. They are wide awake. It was the coaches I was worried about falling asleep on the bench.”
The Irish will face their sixth undefeated team in six games at 1 p.m. on Saturday when TCU comes to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
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.