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Notre Dame Basketball

WBB | Notre Dame Opens NCAA Play against Bethune-Cookman

March 22, 2019

Top seed Notre Dame takes on sixteen seed Bethune-Cookman Saturday to kick off the second day of first round play in the NCAA Women’s Tournament.  Game time is scheduled for 11 am eastern in Purcell Pavilion followed by the eight-nine matchup between Central Michigan and Michigan State.  The winners of both games will advance to a round two contest Monday evening.

Defending the national championship won’t be easy, but Arike Ogunbowale knows that having Brianna Turner back this season is a plus.

“We're just really excited to have Bri back. She's the ACC defensive player of the year. She can block anybody's shot --  small, big, you know, she's there if you get beat, she's there for help side and she's super intimidating in the paint. On offense, she's quicker than most of the posts in the country. So we know she can run the floor and we know she can defend, and she can score.”

For the Irish, it’s a fresh start on a six-game season after 30 regular season and three ACC tournament games.

“The season's a grind, especially when you really rely on your starters so heavily as we do,” noted Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw. “It was great to have time off between the ACC tournament and when the bids were announced. We needed the break mentally and physically. They're definitely fresher and ready to go, but I hope that we haven't lost the chemistry that we had at the ACC tournament.”

McGraw announced today that back-up guard Abby Prohaska turned her ankle in practice on Thursday and might not be ready to play this weekend.  Fellow first year guard, Jordan Nixon, has practiced this week and is expected to be able to play.

McGraw noted the recent play of Turner, who sat out all last season with an injury.  The head coach said that Turner is playing the best basketball of her career and joins three other seniors that are making their mark as a class.

“Statistically, it’s the best class ever in terms of their points and rebounds and all their stats. They are not the winningest class to come through — that belongs to KMac, Ariel and Ace. But this team has definitely left their mark. I mean obviously, the national championship was huge. To come back and to be a number one seed again, they've left a legacy that will be tough to beat.”

Bethune-Cookman, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, finished the season 21-10, and secured the NCAA bid by winning the Mid-Eastern Athletics Conference (MEAC) tournament.  

The Wildcats averaged 62.9 points per game while giving up 60.2 points per game.  Bethune-Cookman made less than 40% of its field goal attempts (38.3%), 30% from three and 65.5% from the line.  They averaged 4.9 made threes per game and just 10.9 assists to 16.5 turnovers per game for an assist to turnover ratio of 0.7.

The Wildcats feature two double-figure scorers led by 5’8” senior guard Angel Golden, who averaged 19.7 points per game.  She shot 35.9% from the field and 31.3% from three.  Her 90 made threes are 60% of the team’s total.  She scored 20 or more points fifteen times.  She’s averaged over 37 minutes of playing time per game.

“She's their best player and we know she shoots a lot of threes,” said Turner. “So, we have to make sure we're defending the three-point line really well tomorrow, and really try to limit her touches.”  

Chasimmie Brown, a 6’ senior forward, averages 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.  Brown shot 47% from the field, but just 59.2% from the line.

The other starters are Amaya Scott, a 6’1” sophomore, Camary Harris, a 5’6” freshman guard, and Amani Ball, a 5’11” sophomore forward.   Scott averaged 8.6 points and 6 rebounds in 32.4 minutes, Harris contributed 5.4 points, and Ball just 2.5 points  per game.

The game will be televised on ESPN2 — but only to Indiana, Chicago and the Daytona Beach area.  The game can be streamed via the ESPN app.

In-game updates will be posted below.

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