No. 1 Irish Open Season with 103-58 Win over Harvard

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 1 ranked University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team made its 2018-19 season debut on Friday inside Purcell Pavilion against Harvard. The Fighting Irish (1-0) cruised by the Crimson (0-1), 103-58. Arike Ogunbowale and Jessica Shepard combined for 58 points, while Brianna Turner racked up a double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds.

“I thought our willingness to defend was much better,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I was really happy with our offense. I think we’re starting to get going. I thought it was a good first game.”

How It Happened
The Irish utilized an early 9-0 run to jump out to an 11-3 lead that quickly turned into a 23-9 advantage after a separate 8-0 run. Ogunbowale and Shepard each had eight points by the end of the first quarter.

Notre Dame then outscored Harvard 27-18 in the second quarter to take a 50-29 lead into the half. The Irish shot 10-of-16 from the field, powered by 10 points from Ogunbowale.

Two minutes into the third quarter, Turner flexed her defensive prowess, recording back-to-back plays in which she recorded a block and dished the assist ahead for a breakaway layup.

Turner collected five rebounds for the period where Ogunbowale and Shepard each added 12 points. Ogunbowale and Shepard each exited the game at the end of the third with 30 and 28 points, respectively.

Enter sophomore Mikayla Vaughn, who helped the Irish close it out in the fourth, collecting six points and two blocks. Vaughn finished the game with a career high 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

Player of the Game
Ogunbowale finished just two points shy of her career high of 32. The senior shot 10-of-21 from the field and a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. Ogunbowale also dished out a team high five assists

Stat of the Game
The Irish shot 14-of-21 (.667) in the third quarter, totaling 36 points, which was more than any quarter points total last season.

·      Notre Dame has won 24 straight season openers, dating back to Nov. 30, 1994
·      Irish move to 2-0 all-time against Harvard
·      Ogunbowale finished two points shy of her career high of 32. It marked her fifth career game with at least 30 points
·      Shepard’s 28 points marked her 38th career game with 20-plus points
·      Turner registered her 22nd career double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds
·      Vaughn finished with a career high 12 points
·      Notre Dame has won 26 straight games at home
·      Notre Dame’s 36 points in the third quarter top any quarter points total from last season
·      Coach McGraw earned her 889th career win
·      Nicole Benz reeled in a career high three rebounds

Up Next
The Irish remain at Purcell Pavilion when they host the Penn Quakers, Monday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. ET. Notre Dame will reveal the 2018 championship banner before tip-off.
— ND —