ND Women’s Basketball
Notre Dame makes adjustments to earn two wins over Thanksgiving break
Daniel O'Boyle | Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Notre Dame played two games over Thanksgiving week, and in each game, everything changed in a single moment.
Against Louisiana-Lafayette in Houston, the Irish (6-0) and the Ragin’ Cajuns (2-2) had to move venues after a power outage just before halftime on their way to a 91-51 victory. Against TCU, only one venue was needed, but the Irish took over what looked to be a close contest in the third quarter and turned it into a comfortable victory.
In what was supposed to be a homecoming game for junior forward Brianna Turner in her home city’s Campbell Center, the Irish held a 19-15 lead at the end of the first quarter before a 17-0 run helped them towards a 38-17 lead with 2:38 remaining in the half. But with an uneventful, comfortable win looking likely, the power failed. Both teams were forced to leave and continue the game at Rice University’s Tudor Fieldhouse, 21 miles away.
The Irish were unfazed by the move, continuing the game where they left off and recording a 40-point win. Turner had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Irish, while sophomore guard Marina Mabrey scored 27 points.
Against the Horned Frogs (4-1), the Irish struggled to pull away through the first half, but trailed for only 11 seconds of action as two early fouls in a four-minute span kept Turner sidelined and the Irish lead never grew beyond seven points. Late in the third quarter, though, the game changed. After a jumper with 5:24 remaining in the third quarter made the score 49-47, TCU would not make another field goal until the Horned Frogs trailed 85-54, four Irish starters were on the bench and only 3:39 remained in the game. Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said her team has to expect their opponents to begin games the way the Horned Frogs did.
“They came out fired up,” McGraw said. “That’s what we’re going to get, everybody’s best shot, and we’re going to withstand that and make our own run and that’s what happened in the first half. They’re confident, they’re 4-0, they have nothing to lose, they’re playing very loose and then when we made a run that was when they just weren’t able to sustain the emotion.”
“TCU’s a really good team. They’re just really good. They have a lot of weapons, great shooters, they play hard on defense. They’re going to win a lot of games.”
Turner scored 18 points for the Irish — 16 in the second half — while sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale scored 19, shooting 5-of-6 from 3-point range. McGraw said Turner’s return to the game and the threat she poses in the post allowed her entire team to succeed.
“She gives everyone confidence because we have another way to attack teams,” McGraw said. “Now they’ve got to worry about the inside, which opens up the outside. So Arike gets free, Marina gets free for a couple of threes. The pressure on the defense becomes, ‘We’ve got to stop the inside game.’ It just changes things. It also helps out rebounding, so we’re able to get out in transition a lot more. So the rebounding, the pushing of the ball I thought was a big key in that stretch where we opened up the lead.”
Senior guard Lindsay Allen tallied 12 assists, giving her Notre Dame career in the first half. After scoring her 1,000th point against the Ragin’ Cajuns, Allen became one of only four Irish players in program history to score 1,000 points and make 600 assists.
Notre Dame will next be in action Wednesday, when it faces Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game begins at 9 p.m. at Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.