NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 1-seeded Notre Dame women’s basketball squad began its 2019 NCAA Championship run on Saturday morning inside Purcell Pavilion, defeating No. 16 Bethune-Cookman, 92-50.
Notre Dame’s posts Jessica Shepard and Brianna Turner combined for 22 rebounds and 41 points on 17-of-25 shooting from the floor. Turner tacked on a season high tying five blocks as well. Meanwhile, Arike Ogunbowale did Ogunbowale things, with her 22nd game with 20-plus points, tallying 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
“I thought we played well. Our posts did a great job. We thought our advantage was inside,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Mikayla Vaughn did a great job off the bench. Jessica with a double-double and Brianna just one rebound away.”
How It Happened
Notre Dame was up just 9-7 at the 5:36 mark in the first quarter before ending the period on a 20-5 run, building a 29-12 lead. Shepard had nearly achieved an opening quarter double-double with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Irish used their momentum to score the first 18 points of the second quarter, thus producing a 25-0 run, its longest of the year. Up 47-14 with 2:49 left, the Irish cruised into halftime with a 51-19 advantage.
Shepard finally had her double-double by the half with 12 points and 10 boards. In addition, both Turner and Ogunbowale joined Shepard in double figures with 11 and 14 points, respectively.
Notre Dame shot 9-of-17 (.529) in the third, outscoring BCU, 23-16, for the period, building a 74-35 lead. The Irish tacked on 18 more points in the fourth, shooting 7-of-14 from the field, thus shooting over 50 percent in all four quarters. In addition, the 92 points were the most points Bethune-Cookman had given up all year.
Mikayla Vaughn grabbed her 10th board and sat with nine points with 3:13 remaining in the game, but couldn’t find that last point for her first career double-double. Vaughn provided 22 quality minutes for the Irish, reeling in a career-best 11 boards, marking her first double-digit rebounding performance.
- The Irish earned program win No. 995.
- The five Irish starters have now amassed 9,826 combined career points, which stands as the most in Division I women’s basketball all-time.
- Notre Dame now boasts 63 NCAA Tournament wins.
- Notre Dame moves to 21-2 all-time inside Purcell Pavilion for NCAA Tournament games.
- The Irish scored the last seven points of the first quarter, then the first 18 points of the second, recording a 25-0 run – their longest of the year. Notre Dame kept Bethune-Cookman off the scoreboard for a 8:59 stretch.
- Shepard has recorded eight double-doubles over the last 11 games.
- Shepard now has 15 double-doubles on the year, which matches her total from the 2017-18 season.
- Vaughn reeled in a career high 11 boards – the first double-digit rebounding performance of her career.
- Today’s win marked the seventh time this year Notre Dame has won by 40-plus points.
The Irish will now face No. 9 Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Monday, March 25, inside Purcell Pavilion. The Spartans knocked off No. 8 Central Michigan in an 88-87 nailbiter in Saturday’s second game. That matchup will tip off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.