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ND Women’s Basketball

Young, Ogunbowale lead Irish to Vancouver Showcase Championship

| Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The No. 1 Irish were back to their winning ways over the Thanksgiving break, as they added yet another title and trophy to their accolades, taking home a win at the Vancouver Showcase.

Notre Dame (6-0) started the weekend with an 81-65 win over Gonzaga. The Irish did most of their scoring in the paint, as they had five players finish the night in double figures.

The Irish got off to a slow start, ending the first quarter only up by three, but a six-point run to open the next frame secured Notre Dame’s lead. Junior guard Jackie Young and senior forward Jessica Shepard went on an offensive tear to combine for 17 of Notre Dame’s 19 points in the second quarter. The Irish stifled the Bulldogs (6-1) in the second and walked into the locker room with an 11-point lead.

The Bulldogs had controlled senior guard Arike Ogunbowale throughout the first half, holding her to just three points, but she found her groove in the third quarter, managing to finish the game with 21 points.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish senior guard Arike Ogunbowale prepares to move toward the basket during Notre Dame’s 84-74 Elite Eight win over Oregon on March 26 in Spokane, Washington.

“I was really pleased with how she held her composure,” Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said of Ogunbowale. “She was really frustrated in the first half, but came out in the second half, 7-for-12, got her normal shot. I think she played hard, got some rebounds. She’s going to have halves like that, so she’s really good at letting it go.”

Graduate student forward Brianna Turner also found success against the Bulldogs, recording her third double-double of the season, finishing the game with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The real sparkplug for the Irish, however, was freshman guard Katlyn Gilbert, McGraw said. She recorded 14 points, going 5-for-8 shooting from the field, with five rebounds, a block and a steal coming off the bench.

“As a freshman, you really don’t know what to expect,” McGraw said. “Obviously we’re down so many guards today, you know we ended up putting a manager [sophomore guard Nicole Benz] in at the end.”

Gilbert, Young, Turner, Shepard and Ogunbowale scored all but one point for Notre Dame in the win, with all five players in double digits.

Next up for Notre Dame was a matchup against Drake. Initially, Drake (6-1) kept pace with Notre Dame well, finishing the first quarter tied at 17 points apiece — in fact, Ogunbowale hit a buzzer-beater to tie the game going into the second quarter. The Bulldogs and the Irish continued to go back and forth, but at the 29-28 mark, Notre Dame went on a 15-3 run, including two 3-pointers by Ogunbowale. The Irish headed into halftime with a 44-31 lead, but came out and continued to stretch the margin, putting 27 more points on the board in the third quarter.

Ogunbowale and Young led the way for the Irish offensively, with Ogunbowale racking up 30 points and Young tallying 25. Sophomore forward Danielle Patterson also made her first career start in place of Shepard, who was out with an injury, and scored eight points and bagged six rebounds.

“Really pleased with the win,” McGraw said. “We had three starters out, so to come in with a lot of different lineups, I thought we played pretty well.”

Notre Dame went on to the Vancouver Showcase championship game, in which they faced off against Oregon State. The Irish took down the Beavers (5-1) last season with a score of 72-67, and this was the teams’ first meeting since.

The main storyline for Notre Dame was the return of senior guard Marina Mabrey, who had been out with a reported leg injury. While Mabrey’s playing time was limited, she scored nine points and picked up a rebound and two assists in her 19 minutes.

Oregon State shot over 70 percent in the first quarter, getting out to a 29-17 lead. The Irish were able to trim the Beavers’ lead thanks to a run by Young, but Oregon State still led by nine going into halftime.

“They shot it so well. We couldn’t guard them in the beginning,” McGraw said of the Beavers. “It was like knock-out punch after knock-out punch. We really struggled to defend. It’s been our Achilles’ Heel … but they’re a really good team.”

After halftime, however, the Irish went on a series of short runs to continue putting pressure on the Beavers, but it was in the fourth quarter that they really turned the tide.

The Irish went on a 4-0 run to start the final frame, giving them a two-point lead. They found themselves tied with the Beavers at 77, but it was Mabrey who came through in her first game back, sinking a 3-pointer with just over three minutes left in the game. Between Turner and Shepard, the Irish extended the lead to 10, guiding them to the 91-81 win.

“It was a great win coming from behind, but we did a lot of things wrong. Missed a lot of free throws,” McGraw said. “It was great to have Marina Mabrey back. … She took advantage of every minute she was out there, I thought she changed the game.”

Young finished the game with 23 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

“She’s critical to us, because she does everything,” McGraw said of the junior. “ … She has to handle the ball, she has to score, she’s got to get a rebound, she’s got to get assists, she’s got to defend their best player. She’s got to do everything.”

Ogunbowale knocked down another 21 points and was named Tournament MVP, totaling 72 points over the course of the Showcase, while Turner also scored 21 and Shepard picked up her third double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“I think this game helps us because we’ve got to come out ready,” McGraw said. “That was the problem at the beginning of the game — we didn’t come out ready. So hopefully that game helps us learn from that.”

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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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