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ND Women’s Basketball

ND bounces back with 38-point win over Clemson on the road

| Friday, February 1, 2019

Following a tough road loss to North Carolina, Notre Dame bounced back with a rout of Clemson in Clemson, South Carolina. The team was dominant in all aspects of the game as it scored 100 or more points for the sixth time this season.

The Irish (20-2, 7-1 ACC) asserted themselves early. After Clemson (14-7, 5-3 ACC) scored the first basket of the game, Notre Dame went on an 18-0 run. The Irish controlled the interior, drawing several fouls in the period and grabbing 12 rebounds, six of which were offensive. Irish head coach Muffet McGraw was pleased with the fast start her team had.

“We haven’t been starting strong,” McGraw said of her team’s performances this season. “You never know how you’re gonna respond after a loss, and fortunately we don’t have a lot of practice at it. So, I was really pleased with the way they came out to start the game.”

Clemson would not lay down, however, as a 10-3 run led to a Notre Dame timeout. The Tigers pressured the Irish full court, and Tigers senior guard Danielle Edwards hounded the opposition, drawing two charges in the backcourt. However, Notre Dame responded with an 11-6 run to lead 32-18 at the end of the first period.

Notre Dame senior guards Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale combined for four 3s and 16 points in the first period. Ogunbowale came in off a disappointing performance against UNC, scoring 13 points on 5-21 shooting in 40 minutes of action.

The second quarter was more contested, with Clemson outscoring the Irish by two and at one point cutting the Irish lead to seven. However, Notre Dame took a 49-37 lead into halftime behind the interior play of senior forward Jessica Shepard and graduate student forward Brianna Turner.  The Irish bigs combined for 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, and often had to bring the ball up the court due to the Tigers’ pressure.

Notre Dame finished the half with 19 free-throw attempts compared to none for the Tigers, and held a 27-17 rebounding advantage. Thirteen of those rebounds for the Irish were offensive and led to 14 second-chance points.

Annie Smierciak | The Observer
Irish junior guard Jackie Young brings the ball up court during Notre Dame’s 89-71 loss to Connecticut on Dec. 2 at Purcell Pavilion.

Junior guard Jackie Young, who did not play against North Carolina due to an ankle injury, led all scorers at the half with 14, while Ogunbowale posted 11. McGraw was glad to see Young back in action and playing well tonight.

“It was great to have Jackie Young back,” McGraw said. “She just changes things for us.”

As the second half began, a quick seven-straight points by Notre Dame led to a Clemson timeout. The attempt to stall the Irish failed, however, as the lead swelled to 25 behind Mabrey’s hot shooting. The senior went 4-for-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from 3 as part of a 20-7 run.

The Irish continued to roll after a media timeout, eventually taking an 83-50 lead into the fourth quarter. Ogunbowale found her rhythm, scoring 12 in the third quarter alone, as the Irish went 14-of-17 from the field in the period, 13 of which were assisted on. Notre Dame also scored 14 points on 10 Clemson turnovers in the quarter. McGraw was happy her team dominated the opposition and put the game away by the final period.

“We really needed to do that,” McGraw said. “We need to play like we’re capable of playing.”

The game was never in doubt entering the fourth quarter, and the Irish won the game 101-63. Ogunbowale finished the game with a team-high 23 points and seven assists, while Mabrey posted season-highs of 22 points and six made 3-pointers.

Notre Dame controlled every facet of the game for a complete team win. The Irish finished the game with 17 steals as Clemson had 28 turnovers on the night, leading to 34 points for Notre Dame. The Irish also won the rebounding battle 40-33 and assisted on 25 of their 38 field goals. McGraw was pleased with the unselfishness her team displayed, but was frustrated by its sloppy play, with 13 of 18 turnovers coming in the first half.

“We worked a lot on our passing, which we didn’t look like it.  But, I really thought we were focused and looking for each other,” she said. “I thought we passed the ball well, in terms of getting assists.”

The benefit of the large margin was that it gave the young Irish players, such as sophomore forward Mikayla Vaughn, to get valuable minutes and show the head coach what they could do. Vaughn finished with six points off the bench.

“[We] got some good production from the bench,” McGraw said. “I thought Mikayla Vaughn gave us some good minutes.”

Of the overall performance, McGraw was just pleased with the effort her team put forth.

“They worked hard,” she said.

The Irish return home this Sunday to face Georgia Tech. Tip off is scheduled for noon.

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

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