Nov. 26, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 1 Notre Dame women’s basketball team found itself in a battle with undefeated TCU on Saturday afternoon, leading by just three points, 37-34, at halftime. With junior All-American Brianna Turner released from the early foul trouble that left her on the bench, the Irish (6-0) would close the third quarter on a 17-3 run en route to a 92-59 victory over the Horned Frogs (4-1).
Forced out of the game after four minutes with two quick fouls and just two points, a well-rested Turner scored 16 points in her 11 minutes of second half action as the Irish pulled away with the win. Turner has hit double figures in all six Notre Dame games this season and each of her last 24 overall.
“I thought Bri made a huge difference when she was back in the game,” Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw said. “She gives everyone confidence because we have another way to attack teams. Now they’ve got to worry about the inside which opens up the outside. So, Arike (Ogunbowale) gets free for a couple of threes. Marina (Mabrey) gets free for a couple of threes. The pressure on the defense turns into `we’ve got to stop the inside game’ and it just changes things. It also helps our rebounding so we’re able to get out in transition a lot more.”
Six Notre Dame players finished in double figures and one of them was not even Lindsay Allen who assisted on a career-high 12 baskets. Arike Ogunbowale led the Irish with 19 points while Turner (18), Marina Mabrey (17), Kathryn Westbeld (12), Jackie Young (12) and Erin Boley (10) also scored at least 10.
The Irish were particularly sharp from 3-point range on Saturday, connecting on 55% (11-of-20) including 5-of-6 from Ogunbowale, 3-of-4 from Boley and 3-of-7 from Mabrey.
Allen Celebrates One Milestone, Hits Another
Prior to the game, senior Lindsay Allen was recognized with a commemorative basketball for scoring her 1,000th career point in a game last week against Green Bay. Allen wound her way to another milestone later in the game when she recorded the 600th assist of her storied Notre Dame career.
With 2:10 to go in the second quarter, Allen inbounded the ball from under the basket with a bounce pass to Jackie Young in the paint for a quick jumper and her seventh assist of the night – giving her 600 for her career.
Allen joins the elite company of Skylar Diggins, Niele Ivey and Mollie Peirick as Notre Dame players with both 1,000 career points and 600 career assists.
Irish Fall Behind
The play was innocuous enough when Kianna Ray drove for a layup to put TCU on top, 7-5, at the 8:08 mark of the first quarter. The milestone was significant, the two point deficit marked the largest the Irish have faced through their first six games. The Horned Frog lead lasted for 11 seconds as Marina Mabrey sank a 3-pointer when the Irish returned back up court to go back on top, 8-7.
TCU would tie the game again at 22-22 as the first quarter drew to a close but never again reclaimed the lead.
Prior to today, the biggest deficit the Irish faced was a single point when Louisiana-Lafayette took a 3-2 advantage on Tuesday night in Houston. That lead lasted all of seven seconds before a layup by Mabrey gave the Irish the lead back for good at 4-3.
For the season, Notre Dame has led for 355:18 our of 360 minutes of game action. The Irish have been tied for 4:24 and trailed for just 18 seconds – 11 today and seven against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Offensive Rebounding Spurt
Notre Dame grabbed 20 offensive rebounds in the game. TCU had just 21 total rebounds in the game, including 18 on the defensive glass. The Irish held a 23-3 edge in second-chance points. The category helped the scales start to tip in Notre Dame’s favor early in the third quarter. Thrice in the first two minutes of the half, Notre Dame players scored baskets off of their own offensive rebounds.
Leading by just three at 39-36, Marina Mabrey grabbed an Arike Ogunbowale miss and scored for Notre Dame. Brianna Turner stole the ball on defense and pushed it up court to Lindsay Allen who missed her layup, but Kathryn Westbeld grabbed the rebound and put it back for a 43-36 Notre Dame lead. The next Irish offensive possession saw Turner miss a jumper but follow he shot, get her own rebound and score on a short jumper in the lane.
Of the 29 points scored by Notre Dame in the game-turning third quarter, 12 came off of offensive rebounds.
Notre Dame will play its first true road game of the year on Wednesday night when it travels to Iowa to face the Hawkeyes in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. ET at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
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.