BLACKSBURG, Virginia – The No. 1 Notre Dame women’s basketball team began a road swing on Wednesday in which seven of its next 10 games would be played on the road. The Fighting Irish (17-1, 5-0) kicked it off with a strong 80-51 victory over Virginia Tech (13-4, 0-4).
Three Irish finished in double figures, led by Jessica Shepard’s 20-point, 11-rebound double-double. Arike Ogunbowale sat closely behind with 19 points, followed by 15 points from Marina Mabrey. In addition, Brianna Turner collected a season high five blocks.
“I was really pleased with the game defensively and really happy with the zone. Thought we made some good adjustments and played smart defensively,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Offensively, Shepard had a huge game. They couldn’t handle her inside. Our advantage was the mismatch in size inside and I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of it.”
How It Happened
Virginia Tech jumped on Notre Dame early, making five of their first 10 shots to go up 11-2 and prompting an Irish timeout at 5:55. The Irish, who started 1-for-6 from the field in the quarter, rebounded by shooting 7-for-12 for the remainder of the period. Shepard led the way at 5-for-7 from the field, ending the first in double digits already with 10 points. In addition, Mabrey went 2-for-2 from deep to add six points.
Trailing 20-18 to begin the second, Mabrey’s third trey of the game kicked off a Notre Dame 14-0 run in which all five starters contributed points. In fact, the Irish held the Hokies to without a field goal from 8:50 to the 2:30 mark, building a 42-25 advantage on a 24-1 scoring spree.
However, Virginia Tech retaliated with a 9-0 run before two Shepard free throws gave the Irish a 44-34 lead at the half. Shepard boasted 14 points by the midway point, followed by 11 points from Mabrey.
The Irish spread the wealth to kick off the third as all five starters contributed to the first 11 points of the period. Notre Dame went on to record its best quarter, outscoring Virginia Tech 29-10 on 10-of-16 shooting.
Ogunbowale tallied 12 points in the third quarter alone, while Shepard reached her double-double by the end of the period. The Irish took a 73-44 lead heading into the fourth before cruising to the 80-51 final.
Player of the Game
Shepard shot an efficient 8-for-11 from the field to finish with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double. It marked her fifth double-double on the year, tying Turner for most on the team. It also marked her first double-double this season in which she scored at least 20 points as well.
Stat of the Game
From the 8:50 mark to 2:30 in the second quarter, the Irish held Virginia Tech to without a field goal, outscoring the Hokies, 24-1, in that span.
- Notre Dame leads the overall series, 11-1, against Virginia Tech, including a 4-1 mark in Blacksburg.
- Irish are 82-3 in ACC play since joining the league at the start of the 2013-14 season.
- Tonight’s game began a giant road swing for the Irish, in which they’ll play seven of their next 10 on the road.
- Tonight’s game also marked a Mabrey vs Mabrey showdown with sisters Marina (senior at Notre Dame) and Dara (freshman at Virginia Tech).
- Shepard recorded her fifth double-double on the year with 20 points and 11 rebounds. It also marked her first double-double this season in which she scored over 20 points and the first from an Irish player since Young tallied 28 points/12 rebounds at DePaul on Nov. 17.
- Turner recorded a season high five blocks to go with her seven points and six rebounds. It marked the first five or more block Irish performance since Turner notched five against Robert Morris back on March 17, 2017.
- Prohaska tied her career high of four steals in tonight’s win.
- Patterson reeled in a season high seven rebounds.
- Creeping toward 2,000 points/1,000 rebounds → Shepard brings her career totals to 1,964 points and 1,023 rebounds.
The Irish return home for one game when they host Boston College on Sunday, Jan. 20. Tip off is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET inside Purcell Pavilion, streaming live on ACCN Extra. In addition, the Irish will hold a post-game autographs session with the entire team.