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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Crushes Louisville to Win ACC Tournament

March 10, 2019
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Notre Dame used its superior inside game to dominate ACC regular season co-champion, Louisville, 99-79, to win its fifth ACC Tournament title in six years in the conference.  The Irish scored 72 points in the paint with Jessica Shepard scoring a season-high 30 points to lead the way.

"We came in with a goal of bringing the trophy back to South Bend and I thought we played really well in every game of the tournament. Offensively especially, with a lot of different weapons, a lot of different people scoring," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "That was a huge win for us and probably gets us to Chicago, which was another one of our goals."

Jackie Young was aggressive on offense from the opening tip and added 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.  Young was named the tournament’s most valuable player, and Shepard was named to the tournament first team.  Shepard led the Irish with 13 rebounds, including 9 of the 23 offensive rebounds collected by the Irish.  The offensive boards led to 28 second-chance points.  The Irish had 83 shots in the game vs. 66 for Louisville.

Brianna Turner scored 20 points and added 3 blocks to go with 7 rebounds.  Turner was an efficient 9-12 from the field.  

Together, Shepard, Young and Turner scored 71 of the team’s 99 points.  They were a combined 31 of 47 from the field (70%).  

Louisville was short-handed from the start.  Point guard, Arica Carter, was sidelined with a leg injury before the opening tip.  Carter led the ACC regular season in assist to turnover ratio, primarily because she rarely turned the ball over helping her team to an ACC low of 12.2 turnovers per game.  The Cardinals had 16 giveaways today, as the Irish collected 7 steals.  After committing 22 turnovers in the regular season win against Louisville, the Irish only had 12 in the championship game.

Starting forward, Sam Fuehring, suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter.  She tried to return to the game after halftime but was unable to play. Her absence left Louisville even more vulnerable to Notre Dame’s inside strength.

Asia Durr and Arike Ogunbowale, who finished one-two in scoring in the ACC, both had sub-par games today.  Durr only managed 15 points and just four in the second half.  She was 1 for 6 from three and just 6 for 15 overall.  Durr played 77 out of 80 minutes the first two games.

Ogunbowale only made 5 of 19 shots and ended with 12 points.  She did grab 6 rebounds and had four steals.  Ogunbowale was named to the tournament’s second team.  

Marina Mabrey also scored 12, but was only 2 for 7 from three-point range. She did lead the team with 7 assists against just a single turnover.  The two made threes extended her career total to 265 —best ever at Notre Dame.

The Irish started the game with a 27 point first quarter to take a ten point lead after the first ten minutes.  The Irish moved the lead to 12 two and a half minutes into the second quarter before Louisville responded with a 7-0 run to close to within five.  During that run, Louisville abused ND’s man-to-man defense.  In the second quarter, the Cardinals were 9 of 13 from the field, but still trailed by nine at the half.  ND played zone most of the rest of the game, with some box-in-one with Young shadowing Durr.

The Irish started to pull away in the third quarter with 25 points to 17 for the Cardinals.  They led by 17 heading into the fourth quarter.  ND kept scoring and built its largest lead — 27 points — with just under four minutes to go in the game.  ND’s bench went scoreless over the last two minutes of the game, while Louisville reserves scored 7 to close the final margin to 20.

Notre Dame averaged 95 points in the three tournament games.  Since losing at Miami on February 7th, the Irish have scored 90 points or more in 8 of 9 games (and they hit 89 on the other) and have averaged 96 points per game.  This late season run moved the Irish past Oregon as the top scoring team in the NCAA.  Notre Dame has now scored 90 or more points in 19 of 33 games. 

Notre Dame’s overall record now stands at 30-3.  They are a certain number one seed in the NCAA tournament — most likely the second one seed behind Baylor.  Although a case could be made to move the Irish to the top seed overall, they have the #1 RPI with the #1 strength of schedule, and they have dominated the last nine games in the toughest conference in women’s basketball.  

Regardless, the Irish should be headed to the Chicago regional for the second weekend of NCAA tournament play.  The field for the women’s tournament will be unveiled on Monday, March 18.

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score
Irish Sports Daily
Final Notre Dame Stats 

 

 
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