NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 1 Notre Dame women’s basketball team used a strong defensive effort to garner a 78-48 victory over Wake Forest inside Purcell Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. The Fighting Irish (16-1, 4-0) held the Demon Deacons (9-7, 0-3) to 15 first half points and 28.6 percent shooting in the game, holding their leading scorer, Elisa Penna, to five points.
Marina Mabrey led the Irish in scoring for the fourth time this season with 18 points to go with her season high seven rebounds. Brianna Turner notched her fifth double-double on the year with 14 points and a season high 12 rebounds. Jessica Shepard rounded out the double-digit scoring with 16 points and a season best four steals.
“I was particularly pleased with the defense, especially on (Elissa) Penna. She’s a great player who can score in so many ways. We mixed up who was guarding her – both Turner and Young did a great job,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Offensively, I thought Brianna and Jess were really active today. Marina shot the ball well. A lot of good things on both ends of the floor.”
How It Happened
Shepard scored eight of the team’s first 14 points which ignited an 18-0 start to the game. Wake Forest didn’t connect on a field until the 2:13 mark of the first quarter, as the Irish held them to 0-for-11 shooting and eight turnovers in that span. Notre Dame ended the period up 22-6, in which 16 of the points were scored in the paint.
Notre Dame’s defense left its mark on the second quarter as well, keeping the Demon Deacons off the scoreboard from 7:11 to 2:07, ultimately holding Wake to 4-of-16 shooting for the period. Shepard reached double digits (10) by half and was followed by nine points from Mabrey, who led the Irish in scoring in the quarter with five. All-in-all, the Irish boasted a 37-15 lead at the half.
Shepard and Mabrey combined for 12 of the team’s first 14 points of the third quarter, igniting a 22-5 scoring spree over the first six minutes, extending Notre Dame’s lead to 59-20. Turner led the Irish in scoring with 8 points in the third, already achieving her double-double for the day.
Boasting a 62-28 lead heading into the fourth, the Irish cruised to the 78-48 final, scoring 52 of their points in the paint. In addition, Mikayla Vaughn came off the bench to supply quality minutes once again, earning nine points and a career high tying four blocks.
Player of the Game
Mabrey tied her season high of four made threes for the third time this season, leading the Irish in scoring with 18 points. Mabrey also reeled in a season best seven rebounds.
Stat of the Game
The Irish limited Wake Forest to 15 points in the first half. It marked the third time this season Notre Dame limited its opponent to 15 points or less in the first half. The previous two times came against Western Kentucky (15) and Pittsburgh (14).
- Notre Dame leads the overall series, 7-0, against Wake Forest, including a 4-0 mark at home.
- Irish are 81-3 in ACC play since joining the league at the start of the 2013-14 season.
- Coach McGraw earned career win No. 904 and claimed sole possession of seventh place in all-time career victories, surpassing Jim Foster.
- The Irish won their 53rd consecutive conference game at home. The streak dates back to a BIG EAST win over Providence on Feb. 14, 2012.
- The Irish limited Wake Forest to 15 points in the first half. It marked the third time this season Notre Dame limited its opponent to 15 points or less in the first half. The previous two times came against Western Kentucky (15) and Pittsburgh (14).
- Turner achieved a season high in rebounds with 12 to go with her 14 points. It marked her team leading fifth double-double on the year and 26th of her career.
- Mabrey tied her season high of four made threes, connecting on 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. The senior led the Irish in scoring for the fourth time this season with 18 points. Mabrey also reeled in a season high seven rebounds.
- Shepard dished out five assists to go with her 16 points. The senior has now dished out five or more assists in five of the last seven games.
- Vaughn tied her career high of four blocks to go with her nine points.
- Creeping toward 2,000 points/1,000 rebounds → Shepard brings her career totals to 1,944 points and 1,012 rebounds.
The Irish hit the road to Blacksburg, where they’ll challenge Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. EST, streaming on ACCN Extra.