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Three Naismith Trophy Candidates From #1 Irish

Nov. 30, 2016

By Leigh Torbin

The Notre Dame women’s basketball team (6-0) has been ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Associated Press for the duration of the young 2016-17 season. On Wednesday, three of its members were named by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and Naismith Trophy as watch list candidates for women’s college player of the year.

Lindsay Allen, Arike Ogunbowale and Brianna Turner each picked up a spot on the Naismith Trophy watch list, vying to become the second Notre Dame player to ever win the award and join Ruth Riley (2001) in that regard.

Arguably the country’s best point guard and three-year team captain, Allen recently became just the fourth playing in Notre Dame’s proud history with 1,000 points and 600 assists in her career, joining Skylar Diggins, Niele Ivey and Mollie Peirick. Allen has never missed a start in her 118 career games at Notre Dame and is a two-time finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard.

Already this season, Allen has earned a spot on the Preseason WNIT all-tournament team in helping to guide the Irish to a title run culminating with a victory over No. 17 Washington. In Notre Dame’s last outing, she set a career high with 12 assists in a win over TCU. Allen ranks second nationally in total assists (46), fifth in assists per game (7.7), and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.83).

Ogunbowale was named to the ACC’s all-freshman team a year ago and has already begun to take steps forward from there through six games in 2016-17. She has named the Preseason WNIT’s tournament MVP, the espnW National Player of the Week (Nov. 21) and the ACC’s Player of the Week (Nov. 14) already this young season. Ogunbowale leads the Irish averaging 17.7 points per game, including a career-high 30 on opening night against preseason MAC favorite Central Michigan.

Turner, one of five members of the Associated Press’ preseason All-America team, has gotten off to a solid start this season. She is the only Notre Dame player to score in double figures in each of the team’s six games to date, including double-doubles against both No. 17 Washington (10 points and 12 rebounds) and Louisiana-Lafayette (16 points and 12 rebounds). Turner presently has scored 999 points in her Irish career and is expected to become the 36th player in school history to hit the century mark on Wednesday night when the Irish face Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tip off is set for 9 p.m. ET on 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.