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Notre Dame Basketball

WBB | Arike Ogunbowale Is on the Brink of Becoming ND’s All-Time Scoring Leader

February 20, 2019

Arike Ogunbowale needs just 12 points to pass Skylar Diggins-Smith and become Notre Dame’s all-time scoring leader.  She will likely get the points she needs in Thursday night’s home matchup with Duke.

Just two years ago, Notre Dame and Duke squared off in the finals of the ACC Tournament.  The Blue Devils were 28-6 and 13-3 in the ACC regular season.  Last season,  they finished 24-9 and 11-5 in the conference and reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. This year is a different story. Duke stands at 11-13 overall and just 3-9 in the ACC. 

The Blue Devils have suffered significant attrition.  In addition to the graduation losses of star players Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell, the Blue Devils lost two guards for the season — Mikayla Boykin went down in early January with a torn ACL her second ACL injury in the past two seasons.  Red-shirt junior Kyra Lambert is also sidelined for the season by injury.  Finally, freshman point guard, Rayah Craig, was suspended for the spring semester.

The Blue Devils average 64.2 points per game and shoot 43.5% from the field, 34.6% from three and 65.2% from the line. They make 5.5 three-pointers per game.  Duke’s scoring is down a bit in ACC play to 62.7 points per game while opponents are averaging 64.9 points.  They are shooting a bit better from three (35.5%) and making 5.9 threes per contest. For the season, the Blue Devils have played six ranked teams and lost each one.

In the ACC, two of their wins are against Wake Forest and Pitt — both with just one win in the conference.  They do have a solid win against arch-rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill earlier this month — but that appears to be one of the few bright spots in a dismal season.

Another is Haley Gorecki, a 6’0” red-shirt Junior, who has stepped up her play in conference.  For the season, Gorecki averages 18 points a game — she’s improved to 19.5 in the ACC and leads the conference in points per game.  She’s also averaging 7.8 rebounds per game in the ACC, up from 7.3 for the whole season.  She’s making 2.2 three-point baskets a game in the ACC. She’s only making 27.6% of her long-range attempts on the season. 

Gorecki leads Duke in playing time (36.2 minutes per game), assists (87) and steals (70).  The Blue Devils average just 12.4 assists per game and 9.2 steals.  By way of comparison, ND averages 20.1 assists and 9.0 steals. Jackie Young has 124 assists and Arike Ogunbowale has 114.  Ogunbowale is the steals leader with 53.

Duke has two other double-figure scorers — 6’2” junior Leaonna Odom and 5’10” freshman guard Miela Goodchild from Australia. Odom is averaging 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. She makes 51.7% of her field goal attempts (down to 48.5% in the ACC), but only converts 58.3% from the line.  Goodchild adds 10.4 points a game.  Her shooting percentages are 46.8% from the field, 45.3% from three (2.3 makes per game) and 82.6% from the line. 

The other starters are Jade Williams, a 6’5” sophomore, and Onone Akinbode-James, a 6’3” freshman.  Williams averages 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. She has fouled out of four games.  Akinbode-James averages 3.8 points per game and 4.9 rebounds.  She leads the team in blocks with 24.

The two primary players off the bench will be Jayda Adams, a 6’ sophomore, and Faith Suggs, a 6’1” senior.  Both average between 17 and 18 minutes per game.  Adams scores 3.0 and Suggs 2.8 points per game.

Irish Notes:  Notre Dame’s 23 point win at #9 North Carolina State improved the Irish conference record to 10-2 and kept the Irish in the hunt for at least a share of the ACC regular-season title with Miami and Louisville — both at 9-2.  While the Irish technically have a half game lead over both the Canes and Cardinals, ND has one less game left to play in the regular season and the others can catch, but not pass, the Irish as long as ND wins its last three games.

It’s unlikely anything will change Thursday night.  While the Irish play Duke at home, Miami will be on the road at Virginia Tech (3-9) and Louisville plays at Virginia (4-8).   In addition, Wake Forest (1-11) plays at NC State and Pitt (1-12) travels to Syracuse.

Notre Dame has one tough road game ahead next Monday night against #18 Syracuse.  The Orange will be the eleventh team in this week’s top 25 polls to play the Irish this season.  If ND can beat Syracuse, the Irish record will improve to 9-2 against the top 25 (wins over Louisville, Oregon State, Iowa, Marquette, NC State, Gonzaga, Syracuse*, Florida State, and Drake and losses to UConn and Miami).  *yet to be played

Notre Dame will close out the season at home with a Senior Day matchup against Virginia on Sunday, March 3rd.

After Thursday night’s games, Miami will have home games against Florida State (9-4) and Georgia Tech (6-6) and a road game at NC State (9-3) remaining.  Louisville has two home games against BC (3-10) and NC State (9-4) before closing out the regular season on the road at Pitt (1-12).

On paper, it appears Miami has the toughest remaining schedule and Louisville the easiest of the top three.  If the Canes win their final four, they’ll earn the top seed in the ACC tournament by virtue of wins over both Notre Dame and Louisville.  This would likely set up an ACC semi-final battle between the Irish and Cardinals.

The Irish moved up a spot to #5 in the AP poll this week, while the coaches poll has ND tied for the #4 spot with Louisville.  Miami sits at #14 in both polls.

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