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ND Women’s Basketball

Jackie Young notches career high, leads team to win over UConn

| Saturday, March 31, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Against Oregon, it was Kathryn Westbeld. The senior forward went 9-for-12 for 20 points on an extremely efficient night, because in her words, something had to give — there was too much talent on the court for all five players to get equal attention from the Ducks.

On Friday, that player was sophomore guard Jackie Young. UConn let up on her early, which proved to be one of its very small yet fatal flaws.
While the Notre Dame core squad may be small, it’s also talented, and Young made her presence known to the Huskies (36-1, 16-0 AAC) when they left her open.
The Young who played Friday crashed the glass, handled the ball effortlessly, weaved to the basket untouched and, at times, carried her team. Because the Irish (34-3, 15-1 ACC) needed every one of her rebounds and career-high points on their way to toppling the giant.

Young really did have the game of her life, coming away with a double-double, including a career-high 32 points.

Zachary Yim | The Observer
Irish sophomore guard Jackie Young shoots a jump shot during Notre Dame’s 91-89 win over UConn during Friday’s Final Four at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Young scored for the first time on a steal off senior forward Gabby Williams just under four minutes into the game to give the Irish an 11-6 lead in the first quarter. And from there, the Princeton, Indiana, native was rolling. She would score nine more points in the first quarter alone, totaling 11, to lead all players.

“From the start, they just left me open,” Young said. “And I think I hit my first shot, and after that, we came back down, and they just kept leaving me open. I was able to get going.”

Young went 5-of-6 from the floor in the first quarter and had an impact on both sides of the floor, coming away with a steal, a block and three defensive rebounds in the period, as well.

But Young’s charge didn’t end there. While she, like much of the Notre Dame offense, was unable to generate much in the second quarter, she racked up seven more points in the third, matching the totals of Irish junior guard Arike Ogunbowale and Huskies senior forward Azura Stevens for the period.

And Young’s dominance continued. From everywhere.

She scored 10 of her points from the free-throw line, only missing one all night.

She looked confident from 3-point range, going 2-for-4 and hitting those shots in clutch moments.

And she had her way in the paint, rounding out a 10-of-15 effort from the floor.

“Jackie Young, I don’t know what to say about her,” Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I knew she had it in her, and to get a career high in the national semifinal against Connecticut, I don’t think you can ask for a better performance than what she gave tonight.”

Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma felt it was Young who really did the damage, as she carried the Irish early while his squad was able to keep players like junior guard Marina Mabrey and Ogunbowale in check.

“We thought, hey, we do a great job on Mabrey and Arike. And we did first period,” Auriemma said. “And Jackie Young’s a good player, everybody found out. So, you don’t get to this point because you’re not good enough to win a national championship. Obviously, Notre Dame’s good enough, and they were better than us tonight.”

The NCAA tournament has been the mark of a new and improved Young, whose coaches told her they wanted to see her be more aggressive and not yield to anyone after Notre Dame’s loss in the ACC tournament final. Her previous career high had also been set in this year’s tournament, a 24-point performance over Villanova in the second round.

And while high scoring totals are nothing new for the sophomore — Friday was her 10th 20-point game of the season — McGraw believes her performance on such a large stage could open new doors for Young.

“She showed what she can do,” McGraw said. “She definitely has the ability, and I’m so excited now. Maybe this will be kind of the first step for her to continue to be aggressive offensively.”

So, while for much of the world it may have been Good Friday, for Jackie Young and the rest of the Irish, March 30, 2018 was great.

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About Elizabeth Greason

Elizabeth is a senior studying civil engineering from New York, NY (yes, the actual city). She is a proud resident assistant in McGlinn Hall and is a die-hard Mets and Giants fan. She is currently serving as assistant managing editor of The Observer and she also has an obsession with golf that is bordering on unhealthy.

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