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Notre Dame Basketball

WBB | Notre Dame Starts Slow, Finishes Strong To Beat Tennessee 77-62

January 24, 2019

Top-ranked Notre Dame weathered a horrid shooting start on the road at Tennessee, kept the game close, and then pulled away behind 24 second half points from Arike Ogunbowale to beat Tennessee 77 to 62. Brianna Turner converted the first shot of the game, but then the Irish missed eleven shots in a row, before closing the quarter 4 for 4 to trail by just three at the first break 17 to 14.  

The young Lady Vols stretched the lead to as many as eight points in the second quarter before the Irish rallied to trail by three at the half — 34 to 31.   Ogunbowale only managed 4 points in the first half (2 - 8 from the field).  Brianna Turner, Jackie Young and Jessica Shepard kept the Irish within striking distance by making 11 of 16 shots.  

Tennessee out-rebounded Notre Dame 23-18 in the first half including 10 offensive rebounds.  The Irish did record 10 assists on 13 first half baskets, but they also committed 7 turnovers and missed a number of shots at the rim. 

"Our offense was way out of rhythm to start the game. We tried to get the ball to the post but settled for jumpers, and once we started to get it inside, I thought the high-low game was really effective,"  head coach Muffet McGraw said. "Thought we moved the ball better and defended better in the second half."

Notre Dame dominated the second half outscoring the Lady Vols 46 to 28 after the break and building a 21 point lead with a little over one minute left in the fourth quarter before Tennessee closed to the final 15 point margin against the Irish bench.  

Ogunbowale scored 16 of Notre Dame’s 24 third quarter points and outscored Tennessee by herself as the Lady Vols could only manage 12 points in the quarter.  Ogunbowale scored three transition layups and also had two three-point baskets in the decisive third period.

Tennessee started the quarter well and built a six-point lead before the Irish went on an 11 - 0 run to lead by five. Tennessee battled back to tie ND midway through the quarter before the Irish ended on an 11 - 2 run to take 9 point advantage into the fourth quarter.  

Jackie Young registered a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.  She only had 2 turnovers against an aggressive Tennessee defense.  She scored half her points at the line by making 8 of her 10 free throw attempts.  The rest of the Irish only made 10 of 18 tries from the line.  ND still outscored Tennessee by 12 points from the line as the Lady Vols only had 8 trips to the line for the game and made 6. 

Tennessee shot 35.5% from the field (27 - 76), but they corralled 18 offensive rebounds in the game, many of which helped them keep the game close midway through the third quarter.  Notre Dame ultimately won the rebounding battle 43 to 41.  In spite of 18 offensive rebounds to ND’s 12, the Lady Vols only scored four more second-chance points (15-11).  

ND had 16 fast break points to 8 for the Lady Vols, and they also won points in the paint — 48 to 38. The Irish had 23 assists on the night to just 9 for Tennessee.  After the slow shooting start (1 for 12), the Irish went 27 for 47 (57.4%) the rest of the game.  Overall, ND shot 47.5% from the field.

Jess Shepard scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. She also had 3 assists, 2 steals and just 1 turnover.  Brianna Turner also scored 13 points.  She tallied 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 steal, 3 assists and just 1 turnover.  Marina Mabrey only managed 4 points on the night with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 assists and 3 turnovers.  In addition to her 28 points, Ogunbowale had six rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Freshman Zaay Green led Tennessee scoring with 19 points, but she only managed 4 points in the second half after leading all scorers with 15 before halftime.  The Lady Vols’ leading scorer, Evina Westbrook, was Tennessee’s only other double-figure scorer with 16.

With the win, the Irish move to 19 - 1 on the season, while Tennessee drops to 12 - 7.  Notre Dame stays on the road this weekend with a Sunday afternoon (2:00pm eastern) game in Chapel Hill against North Carolina. 

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