NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 2 Notre Dame women’s basketball team rode its third-best shooting performance all-time to topple Western Kentucky, 94-53. The Fighting Irish (10-1) shot 37-of-53 from the field, good for 69.8 percent. In addition, the defense held the Lady Toppers (5-7) to a season low in points.
“I’m really pleased with what the starters are doing right now,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “It was a great first half to be able to hold them to 15 (points). That was really remarkable. I thought we worked the zone well and on offense, we were so efficient.”
For the fourth time in her career, senior Marina Mabrey recorded back-to-back games with 20 or more points, garnering exactly 20 tonight. Mabrey went a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range.
How It Happened
Notre Dame jumped out to an 8-0 advantage and kept Western Kentucky off the scoreboard for the first 3:33 of the game. The Irish later recorded a 7-0 run over a blistering 60 seconds to go up 19-6 before closing the quarter up 23-8. By the end of the period, six different Irish players had scored, the defense forced eight WKU turnovers and Turner netted three blocks.
Notre Dame revved it into the next gear in the second, outscoring the Lady Toppers, 30-7, to build a 53-15 halftime lead. Mabrey possessed the same number of first half points as Western Kentucky, entering the half a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including three treys.
All-in-all, the Irish shot 80.8 percent in the first half, which tied the third-best field goal percentage all-time for a half and the best since Jan. 25, 1990. Furthermore, Notre Dame shot 13-for-14 in the second quarter.
By the end of the third, four Irish had reached double-figures as Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale, Jessica Shepard and Brianna Turner combined for 54 of the team’s points, building a 74-30 lead. In addition, the Irish had already surpassed their season high in blocks (previously seven) by the 6:54 mark in the third, ultimately finishing with 12.
The Irish starting five kicked off the fourth quarter before all subbing out around the 8:04 mark. Shepard exited the game a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, good for 12 points. Dating back to her last shot at Toledo, Shepard has now made 15 consecutive field goals.
For the third time this season, Turner collected four blocks to go along with her 10 points. Ogunbowale notched double digits with 16 points to go with her four assists. Freshman Jordan Nixon doubled her career high with 12 points.
Co-Players of the Game
Mabrey shot 6-for-11 from the field, including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to tally 20 points. The senior also earned a season-best five steals and three assists. In addition, Turner was dominant on the defensive end, collecting four blocks and one steal to go with her 10 points.
Stat of the Game
The Irish shot 80.8 percent in the first half which equated to the third best shooting performance in a half all-time. Notre Dame finished the game with a .698 field goal percentage, which also ranked third all time. It marked the best shooting performance in a game since the Irish shot 70.2 percent (all-time mark) at Mercer on Dec. 30, 2011.
- Notre Dame now leads the overall series, 3-0, against Western Kentucky.
- Coach McGraw earned career win No. 898.
- Ogunbowale is up to 2,022 points in her career, which ranks fifth all-time. The No. 4 spot is held by Ruth Riley with 2,074 points.
- Shepard recorded her 10th consecutive game with double-digit points, marking her best stretch in an Irish uniform.
- With four threes, Mabrey has secured a three in 24 straight games, which ranks second all-time behind Beth (Morgan) Cunningham’s 35.
- The Irish shot 80.8 percent in the first half, which equated to the third-best shooting performance in a half all-time. It also marked the best Irish shooting performance in a half since Jan. 25, 1990.
- Notre Dame finished the game with a .698 field goal percentage, which ranked third all time. It marked the best shooting performance in a game since the Irish shot 70.2 percent (all-time mark) at Mercer on Dec. 30, 2011.
- Dating back to her last shot at Toledo, Shepard has made 15 consecutive field goals. Carey Poor holds the all-time mark of 17 set back in 1994.
- Mabrey has secured back-to-back games with 20 or more points for the fourth time of her career. Her best stretch was three straight, set last season.
- The Irish dished out 25 or more assists for the second straight game.
- The Irish secured a season high 12 blocks.
Up next, the Irish head to Milwaukee to challenge No. 19 Marquette on Saturday, Dec. 22. The top-25 matchup is officially sold out at the Al McGuire Center. Tip off is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. ET on FS1.