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ND Women’s Basketball

Dominant third-quarter sparks Irish offense to third straight ranked win

| Friday, November 30, 2018

It was all smiles for No. 1 Notre Dame on Thursday night as they hosted No. 14 Iowa — the team’s third straight ranked opponent — and soundly beat the Hawkeyes (4-2) 105-71. After winning the initial tip off, Marina Mabrey drilled a three pointer seven seconds into the game to set the tone for the Irish, as they never lost the lead throughout the night.

After a strong first quarter that saw the Irish (7-0) jump out to a 28-17 lead, the Hawkeyes stepped up their game in the second quarter. The play was back and forth throughout the 10 minutes, and Iowa went on a five-point scoring run around the midway point, desperately trying to close the gap. But the Irish battled back towards the end of the quarter to give themselves some breathing room, and were led by senior guard Arike Ogunbowale with eight second-quarter points and 15 points in the half to head into the break with Notre Dame up 45-34.

Anna Mason | The Observer

Irish junior guard Jackie Young dribbles near the top of the key during Notre Dame’s 105-71 win over Iowa on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion.

With the Hawkeyes only down 11 after a solid second quarter and looking to spark a second-half comeback, the Irish responded with a strong start to the third quarter to reclaim the momentum. Notre Dame started the quarter on a 20-3 run, including an impressive assist by Ogunbowale to junior guard Jackie Young, which gave fans some energy going into the media timeout. Ogunbowale once again gave the crowd a reason to cheer with a fast break finish at the 5:41 that extended the Notre Dame lead to 26. The Irish exploded for the rest of the third quarter to take a 79-48 lead, shooting over 68 percent from the field. Ogunbowale paced the Irish with 12 points in the quarter.

Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said despite the strong offensive output, the third-quarter stretch came down to Notre Dame’s defense.

“We created a lot of opportunities with our defense,” McGraw said postgame.

Playing on both ends of the court, the Irish maintained their dominance into the final frame. They ultimately closed out with a 105-71 win, shooting just under 50 percent from the field on the game.

“When we play together like that, we are pretty unstoppable, and we put together a solid game between all five starters right from the tip,” Ogunbowale, who finished the game with a team high 30 points on the night, said.

Graduate student forward Brianna Turner also recorded her fourth double-double of the season, contributing 14 points and 11 rebounds, respectively.

With little time to celebrate the win, the Irish will try to continue to build on their strong start to the season as the team shifts focus to hosting rival No. 2 Connecticut this Sunday, who Notre Dame beat last year in a Final Four thriller.

“I’m excited that it is a sellout, and the fans seem pretty excited about it too. It’s one of the best rivalries in college basketball and people will be tuning in,” McGraw said.

Tipoff against the Huskies is scheduled for 4 p.m at Purcell Pavilion.

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