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Notre Dame Basketball

WBB | ND Races To A 94-53 Win Over Western Kentucky

December 19, 2018


Notre Dame’s starting five played the best they have together so far this season in outscoring Western Kentucky 53 to 15 in the first half at Purcell Pavilion on their way to a convincing 94 to 53 win.  The Irish only missed one field goal attempt in the second quarter — and were 21 for 26 (80.8%) from the field in the first half.  The starters were unselfish with the ball on offense and relentless on defense with steals, tips and blocks.

After the game, Coach Muffet McGraw had no complaints  about the play of her starting five:

“Really, really pleased with what the starters are doing right now.  A great first half — holding them to fifteen, that was really remarkable.  I thought we really worked the zone well, and offensively, we were so efficient.  Got a lot of layups, got a lot of really good shots, and Marina caught fire from the three-point line.  We were moving the ball and working together.  Really pleased with both the offense and defense of the starters.”

In the second half, the Irish understandably cooled off a bit, but still shot the ball well — 16 for 27 (59.3%) — with subs getting much of the playing time.  

ND shot just under 70% for the game and tied a season-high 8 three-point field goals, but on just 12 attempts (66.7%).  They made 12 of 15 free throw attempts (80%). The Irish had 27 fast break points to just two for the Hilltoppers.  ND outscored WKU 56 to 22 in the paint.  The Irish had 25 assists on 37 made baskets.

All Irish starters had at least 3 assists on the night.  Forward Jess Shepard sees the team getting better:

“As an offense, we’re doing a better job of moving and finding each other where we like the ball.  It’s showing in our percentages and the efficiency of our offense.  The more the starters get to play together the more we find our rhythm together.”

Marina Mabrey led all scorers with 20 points — 7 for 9 from the field, 4 for 4 from three and 2 for 2 at the line — to go with 5 steals, a block, three assists, and no turnovers.  In her first three games after recovering from an injury, she only made 5 of 19 three-pointers (26.3%).  She’s hit 9 of 14 (64.3%) over the last three games, while making 11 of 16 (68.8%) inside the arc.

Arike Ogunbowale went for 16 points, hitting 6 of 11 shots. She had four rebounds and 4 assists.  Jessica Shepard was a perfect 6 for 6 from the field for 12 points.  She collected 6 rebounds and had 5 assists, 2 steals and a block.

Brianna Turner blocked 4 shots on the night to go with 3 assists and steal.  She was a perfect 4 for 4 from the field and made both her free throws for 10 points. 

Jackie Young was the only starter not in double figures — she had 9 points, but she only took five shots on the night (making three).  

None of the starters played more than 26 minutes in a game that saw ample playing opportunities for the reserves.

Dani Patterson returned to action after missing the last two games and scored 8, while Jordan Nixon scored a career-high 12 points.  She was 4 for 6 from the field including 3 for 4 from three.  On the downside, she did have 9 of ND’s 21 turnovers.  Danielle Cosgrove scored 5, had two assists and 3 blocks.  Abby Prohaska had four assists.

The Irish return to action Saturday afternoon at Marquette.  McGraw is expecting a tough game in a sold-out arena:

“Marquette is a really good team.  We won in overtime last year, and they’ve got everybody back.  They’re a team that’s ready to upset a high-ranked team and I know they’re going to be ready for us.”

McGraw also knows that her starters are coming together on defense since Mabrey’s return to action:

“I just thought they were ready.  They were active. We got some really good rotations, which has been a problem for us.  I thought our coverage was really good on the shooters.  A lot of really good communication going on out there.  I think we’re getting better.”

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