VANCOUVER – Plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day, as the No. 1 Notre Dame women’s basketball team earned an 81-65 victory over Gonzaga in the opening round of the Vancouver Showcase. The Fighting Irish (4-0) had five players finish in double-digit points, all while outscoring the Bulldogs (4-1), 56-34, in the paint.
Arike Ogunbowale, Brianna Turner, Jessica Shepard, Jackie Young and Katlyn Gilbert scored all but one point for the Irish. Ogunbowale led the way with 21 points, which included 18 in the second half. In addition, Shepard and Turner each collected a double-double.
How It Happened
Notre Dame got off to a slow shooting start as Gonzaga responded by jumping out to a 14-7 lead, its largest of the game. Turner, Gilbert, Young and Shepard all had at least four points by the end of the opening period, ending the quarter down 21-18.
The Irish then utilized a 6-0 run to start the second quarter. Gilbert secured a layup at 9:08 then it was all Young and Shepard the rest of the way, as the duo combined for 17 of the team’s 19 second quarter points.
On the defensive front, the Irish limited the Bulldogs to 5-of-21 shooting for the period and 11 points, taking a 40-29 lead into the half. Young and Shepard had 12 and 13 points, respectively, by the midway point.
Turner took over the opening minutes of the third quarter, scoring six of the team’s first eight points. Next, Ogunbowale, who was limited to three points in the first half, ignited with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the third, keeping the Irish up 60-45 heading into the final period.
By the conclusion of the third, Ogunbowale, Young, Turner and Shepard all were in double-digits, as the latter already had a double-double.
Ogunbowale went on to score the first five points of the fourth quarter and first eight of the team’s 12, as Turner supplied the other four. Turner soon earned her third double-double on the year while Gilbert reached double-digits for the first time of her career with 14 points.
Player of the Game
Gilbert, who entered the contest with four total points on the year, exploded with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with five rebounds, one block and one steal in 33 minutes of play.
Stat of the Game
Both Shepard and Turner collected double-doubles on the afternoon. It marked the second straight game in which two Irish players had done so, with Shepard and Young achieving the feat at DePaul.
- Notre Dame now leads the all-time series, 2-0, against Gonzaga.
- Coach McGraw earned career win No. 892.
- Today marked just the second time the Irish have played on Thanksgiving Day. The previous was an 84-79 victory over No. 23 San Diego State in 2009.
- Ogunbowale has now recorded four straight games with 20-plus points, picking up 21 on Thursday. Last season, she shattered the Notre Dame single-season record for 20-plus scoring games with 25.
- Ogunbowale now has 37 career games with 20-plus points, tying Ruth Riley for fourth all-time at Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame has totaled 212 total points in the paint through four games, averaging 53.0 per game. Irish outscored Gonzaga 56-34 in the paint on Thursday
- Gilbert, who entered the contest with four total points on the year, exploded with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including five rebounds, one block and one steal.
- Shepard picked up her second straight double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. It marked the 42nd of her career.
- Turner earned her third double-double on the year with 16 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the 24th of her career. In addition, the 16 points tied her season high.
- Young nabbed her 42nd career game in double figures.
- Today marked the first time this season the Irish finished with five players in double figures.
- Today also marked the second time this season the Irish finished with at least 50 rebounds.
With the victory, the Irish move on to the Vancouver Showcase semifinals, where they’ll clash with Drake, who defeated Rutgers, 69-59, in Thursday’s second game. The semifinal contest will take place Friday, Nov. 23, at 9 p.m. ET.